This evening I went for a run, something which I used to do regularly but have not done for a long time. It’s been winter, of course; I was sick, yes; Kathmandu’s ongoing road expansion is not conducive to running at the moment, also true; but it’s been more than that, too. And I needed to get out there again.
Running after such a long time was exhausting, embarrassing, satisfying. I was surprised at what I could still do.
I’d been wanting to go for mo:mo, and so, partly as motivation I ran north towards the hills before doubling back, past my house, to find the mo:mo I had in mind.
Mo:mo of course, being the wonderful dumplings that can be found everywhere here. Originally thought to have come from Tibet or China, they have over the years been adopted, adapted and improved; they are now Kathmandu’s quintessential fast food: delicious, widely varied, and inexpensive.
The place I went to tonight is around the corner from my old flat, not too far from where I live now. Originally an alcohol wholesaler, they had, after a while, put out a plastic table and chairs for the customers that preferred to drink their purchases on the spot. Eventually, the enterprising family produced a snack to sell to go with the drinks. That snack was, of course, mo:mo.
Unlike restaurants, many local eateries provide only one variety of mo:mo, as this place does–unusually, here it’s pork. Buff or chicken or vegetable are much more common.
The pork in these dumplings is mixed with chopped onions, garlic, and ginger, and as the onion to meat ratio is unusually high, the resulting mo:mo is exceptionally light. The dough is also very thin, and the achar, or sauce, is uncooked, which also adds to the simplicity of it and makes it much less heavy than some other mo:mo. The achar is simply tomatoes, green chili and fresh danya–also known as coriander or cilantro–smashed up, raw, in a flat mortar and pestle. It’s spicy, fresh and delicious.
After many years and multiple attempts, I still suck at making mo:mo, but I want to come back sometime when the power is on to watch the woman who makes them at work, and, maybe, learn something.
So as not to seem greedy, I had a plate there with my beer, and ordered a plate to go. A dog came and sat quietly, at a polite distance, but even in the darkening twilight I could see his puppy-dog eyes, absolutely living up to cliché, so of course I had to share a few mo:mo with him, though I did it carefully so the wonderful mo:mo maker wouldn’t think I didn’t love her food. Of course that meant I broke into the second serving, but I made sure to save some for my own dog, Lazarus. She loves these.
Walking back, there was a lovely moon shining, with the effect known as ‘earthshine’ (yes, I did have to look that up to learn the correct name) where the thin crescent moon is bright, but the rest of the moon is still dimly and fully visible. Unfortunately, my camera didn’t do it justice, but never mind that, seeing it made me happy.
When I got home, Lazarus and I sat outside in the dark, sharing the remaining mo:mo, waiting for the lights to come on.