503 Medford St., (617) 764-0222
Chef-owner Sophia Thakali says it’s easy to explain her shop’s namesake food to a first-timer: “In English, it’s called a dumpling. That would pretty much give an idea of what exactly momo is,” she says. But oh, the infinite varieties that go inside those little purses of dough!
In Thakali’s native Nepal, chicken and buff—as in buffalo—are very popular. But since “it’s hard to find buff meat” in Massachusetts, she goes for her personal favorite: pork. Try it in the chilli momo, with its house-made sauce of spices and habanero peppers—tangy, spicy, and sweet. But the hands-down favorite of her customers is the chicken momo, she says, which brings its own flavor to the spicy sauce.
There’s also momo soup, a response to Thakali’s realization that New Englanders like soup when it’s cold. In Nepal, soup is served as a side to the momos. Thakali instead makes a clear, thin vegetable broth and simmers momos (with your choice of fillings) in it.
Asked what she would eat if she woke up hungry at 3 a.m. with a fridge full of momos, Thakali didn’t hesitate: “Chicken, obviously,” she said. “Any time. Any day. Any time of day.”