March 12, 2019
“What have you brought for lunch today?”
This is a question often asked by my colleagues as lunch time approaches. If your Nepalese colleague has not brought lunch from home, you can be sure that he or she will be having momos!
And what happens when momos are on the menu? Simply, you and your workmates will be having momos for lunch!
That’s the beauty of momos – you can’t eat them without sharing! Not only do they bring their mouth-watering taste, but also compassion, unity and harmony. Indeed, they bring people together from all over the world and from all walks of life.
A few months back, I wanted to take my intern out for lunch to thank him on his last day. Naturally, I took him to a Nepalese restaurant. I didn’t expect him to be so familiar with Nepalese cuisine. After we sat down, he looked up from the menu and said, “Why don’t we go for momos?”
Reading my surprised reaction, he smiled back and asked, “Aren’t momos your most popular food?”
That’s the recognition that momos have gained around the world. Momos have travelled beyond their origins and earned themselves the label of ‘popular Nepalese cuisine’.
I have encountered many situations where I am reminded of the love for momos by friends from other countries. Last year, I met one of my Colombian friends who was my classmate during my university days in Melbourne at ‘Momo Festival’. It rained heavily and I ran quite a bit to seek shelter for my camera. I happened to pop into a corner of a food stall. I was delighted to see my former classmate devouring a bunch of momos and special sauce. A chance meeting after such a long time ended with a long conversation about his love for momos.
All of my friends, whether Aussie, Indian, European or from anywhere in the world, know momos and associate them with their Himalayan origins.
Nepalese lovingly accept momos as our own. It’s something we strive for in our family and social gatherings. Momos win everyone’s hearts.
Celebrating this passion, love and desire for momos, it has now become an annual festival in Melbourne. Conceptualised by Solangture Director, Raju Shakya and his team, the first Momo Festival in 2017 became a huge success in Melbourne. The popularity of the festival even earned Raju the nickname, ‘MoMo Dai’ (‘dai’ means brother in Nepali). The festival returned a year later in 2018 with a three-day celebration. Despite the foul weather, the festival drew huge numbers.
This year, the Momo Festival is back! Momos are set to tantalise the taste buds on Sunday, 17th March at Coburg Velodrome.
This annual festival has seen strong growth year after year and has also been listed in the list of best things to do in March in Melbourne by the popular digital lifestyle influencer Time Out Melbourne. Momo Fest is also mentioned by many popular food and event influencers on Instagram. The weekly printed magazine Moreland Leader also features Momo Fest on a full spread.
Deepa Rai from the MoMo Fest organising team informs us that the MoMo Fest 2019 will be FREE ENTRY. The Festival also believes in giving back to the community. It is one of the first of many events that has embraced the green concept enforcing their vendors to use eco-friendly serving plates and take away boxes. Like previous years, one can give voluntary donations at the entry gate which will go towards MIT Group Foundation’s charity projects in Nepal to uplift the life of the disadvantaged communities in Nepal, especially in the education and health sectors.
I personally am looking forward to this year’s MoMo Festival, where I look forward to many more chance meetings with friends where I am sure we will share many cute, tasty, comforting, darling momos.