Tucked neatly between China and India, Nepal combines the very best of neighboring cuisines with little twists and turns that make it uniquely scrumptious. Whereas higher identified for its towering Mt. Everest, the nation can be the house of the momo, an immediately recognizable tackle Chinese language potstickers.
“Most individuals may not know what Nepali meals is,” mentioned Sama Acharya, proprietor of City Momo in San Jose. “I name it Indo-Chinese language, a fusion between Indian and Chinese language. Our meals is the unique mix of these two cuisines with our personal form of spices, that are barely totally different and provides our personal flavors to the meals. We use the rice, the noodles and the dough, however we do it in our form of method.”
Momos are an ideal instance.
Like potstickers, they’re dumplings that may be steamed or fried. However this Nepalese model has a wider vary of seasoning and is served with two sorts of achaar, a wealthy sauce made with tomato, sesame seeds, Szechuan peppercorns, turmeric and coriander—giving it the depth of an Indian curry that you simply don’t get with the standard soy-based potsticker sauce.
“In Nepal, you may make momos out of something,” Acharya instructed San José Highlight. “We now have three totally different variations: vegan momos with greens and soy chunks, paneer, which is actually cheese, and rooster. We even have a chili model for individuals who prefer it extra spicy. They’re our greatest sellers.”
Acharya, 40, was born in Butwal, Nepal, close to the birthplace of Buddha. Her mom was a wonderful and prodigious prepare dinner.
“Again dwelling, your mother and father and your grandparents feed you numerous,” she mentioned. “My mom would say, ‘Do this, attempt that, you haven’t eaten something for the reason that morning!’ There was all the time meals round, on a regular basis meals and meals for celebrations. It was enjoyable as a child. Nevertheless it was all the time enjoyable for everyone.”
Acharya got here to the USA in 2015 after spending a while in England, the place she expanded her palate.
“I’ve all the time favored the thought of assembly up with individuals and having fun with meals with them,” she mentioned. “I’m form of a foodie, and I like to attempt totally different sorts of meals. However deep down, I used to be lacking the form of meals we used to eat on daily basis, the essential easy meals my mother used to make. And that’s how it began.”
She and her husband Bharat opened City Curry, situated on Broadway in San Francisco, a giant change from her earlier occupation as a enterprise analyst for Wells Fargo.
“It was a job, nevertheless it wasn’t my enterprise,” Acharya mentioned. “It was all the time my imaginative and prescient to have one thing of my very own. City Curry was an enormous sit-down restaurant. However my husband and I each had day jobs, and it didn’t work out too nicely. The constructing was outdated, there was plenty of upkeep and it price an excessive amount of to maintain up.”
Opening a brand new chapter
Promoting the enterprise in 2017, they instantly opened City Momo in San Jose on the San Pedro Sq. Market, a meals court-style assortment of eating places.
“I prefer it right here,” she mentioned. “It’s a good place, and we solely introduced our greatest sellers from the opposite restaurant.”
The restaurant’s downsized menu and causal order-at-the-counter type doesn’t imply City Momo takes their meals much less critically. Every part is ready contemporary and to order. Native produce is used at any time when potential. The momos are hand-wrapped on daily basis, and the dishes couldn’t be extra genuine.
One fashionable Nepalese dish is the Gobi Manchurian, thinly battered fried cauliflower topped with a candy chili sauce. The coating crunches properly, and the sauce provides a pleasant counterpoint of warmth that compliments the evenly cooked cauliflower. Assume vegetarian boneless rooster wings, and you might be near the thought of this addictive and engaging appetizer.
“The Manchurian is a little bit of a Tibetan twist,” Acharya mentioned. “We make the sauce right here, with Szechuan peppercorns and a few particular spices. It’s a little tangy with a little bit of sweetness and slightly sizzling on the similar time, perhaps a 5 out of 10 for spiciness.”
Cauliflower additionally figures within the Aloo Gobi, a curry made with cauliflower and potatoes cooked with onions, tomatoes, turmeric and ginger.
“They’ve this in Indian eating places, too,” she mentioned, “however the way in which we make it’s homestyle. This and the rooster curry are very genuine Nepali. They promote very nicely, and the style is superior.”
Indian restaurant staples like Hen Tikka Masala and Biryani seem on the menu, as does Chinese language fare like Szechwan fried rice. However dishes like Gorkhali Chili, greens served with a conventional spicy chili sauce, or Bhutte Ko Bhaat, Nepali fried rice, supply extra journey because the distinctive mixture of seasonings turns your expectation for the dishes on its head.
“We get individuals coming in and seeing our meals,” Acharya mentioned. “It’s one thing new to them, and they’ll wish to attempt it. Nepali meals is improbable, and as soon as they struggle it and style the totally different spices, they’re going to find it irresistible.”
Contact Robert Eliason at [email protected]
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City Momo: A singular mixture of seasonings turns dishes into an journey
Situated in San Pedro Sq. Market at 100 N. Almaden Ave. #176, San Jose, CA 95110
Telephone: (408) 971-1848
Web site: https://www.urbanmomos.com/
Social Media: Instagram and Fb
Open Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.