Momos are dumplings, and dumplings are usually round or circular, in a closed parcel shape that keeps their fillings in. Not so with open momo. They are, well, open at the top, so you can see the fillings inside. The spicy, soupy chutneys that are usually served with momo as a dipping sauce can actually be poured into the top of the momo before eating. We asked a Nepali chef the reason for open momos’ openness. The answer? They look good. (Yep: They’re highly Instagrammable.) So, it’s an aesthetic thing, rather than a deeply cultural or gastronomic thing, and yet another way the Nepalis have riffed on the Tibetan momo. The whole experience of eating open momos is quite different from eating regular momos, though: Once you’ve spooned some liquid chutney inside, you can twist the top shut yourself and place it in your mouth whole for a literal burst of flavor.
Where: The open momo at The Ghangri Café (inside Hardic Fitness Center, 44700, map) are famous. The other items on the menu are pretty average and fairly standard Kathmandu bar-cum-restaurant food, but people flock here from all over town just for this dish.
When: Daily, 11:30am-10pm
Order: Ghangri’s suimai open mo:mo (veg) with a shredded cabbage and carrot filling are served with a slightly spicy sesame-spiked sauce akin to satay for pouring in the top, and cost Rs 220. Chicken momo cost Rs 250, and buffalo Rs 230. They go well with a cold beer in the outdoor garden area.
Alternatively: If you want to experience open momo anywhere other than Ghangri Café in Kathmandu, you’ll have to find a kind home chef to make them for you. Ghangri didn’t invent them, but it is the only establishment we know of that serves them, which may be one reason for their popularity here. (It is otherwise a popular dish to serve at home gatherings.) Also, they’re delicious, and good fun to eat.