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A Taste of Ithaca: Let’s Talk Momos!

yeshiAt the Immigrant Services Program we have the privilege to interact with a lot the people in Ithaca that bring new flavors and experiences to this beautiful city. One of our favorite things is The Food! Many of our clients work in the Food Service Industry. Some own their own businesses, others work as cooks or servers. Many of the “ethnic” food choices in Ithaca are run and/or operated by immigrants. There are so many delicious foods here from all over the world. This summer while we were thinking of what kinds of stories to do for our blog we decided to do a series of posts featuring food options for Ithacans that will help them experience a bit more of the diverse place we live  in.

For our first post on we will go to Tibet! Our client Yeshi is the owner of the Tibetan MoMo Bar in Downtown Ithaca‘s Center Ithaca. Yeshi offers both Tibetan and Japanese food at his restaurant, but my favorites are the Momos!

The Momo is a type of dumpling native to Nepal, and in some communities in Tibet, Bhutan, and Northeast India. It is similar to Chinese baize and jiaozi, Mongolian buuz, Japanese gyoza, Afghan mantu, and Korean mandu. Momos can have meat  or vegetable filling and they are usually served steamed. Momo is usually served with a dipping sauce (locally called chutney/achhar), normally made with tomato as the base ingredient. In Nepal, soup momo is a dish with steamed momo immersed in a meat broth. Pan-fried momo is also known as kothey momo. Steamed momo served in hot sauce is called C-momo. There are also a variety of Tibetan momos, including tingmo and thaipo.

momo pic 1

I am a frequent client at the Tibetan Momo bar, so last week when I stopped for some lunch I asked Yeshi a few questions about the delicious and unique foods he offers at his Momo bar.

Here is what he had to say:

ISP: So how did you learn to make Momos?

Yeshi: My mother taught me how to make them, back home in Tibet. My family has a recipe for momos that has been passed on from generation to generation for many years and I asked her to teach me how to make them. They are made with simple ingredients, just water, flour and yeast, but you need a good recipe on how to make dough.

ISP: Were you always interested in learning how to cook?

Yeshi: I liked helping my family prepare dinners, specially when they were big meals. I liked really liked that.

ISP: What made you want to open a Momo bar?

Yeshi: I thought people would like to eat Momos here.

ISP: Are Momos usually a fast food in Tibet or are there restaurants that only serve Momos?

Yeshi: There are Momo restaurants, places where you can sit down and order a meal. 

The Tibetan Momo Bar in Center Ithaca is one of my favorite places to get a quick and delicious lunch in Ithaca. If you’ve never tried them you should definitely stop by soon! For more information on the price and meal options check out there menu here. 

This summer I will be exploring Ithaca and sharing my delicious finds here on the blog!