The Momo Spot
Tell us a little about yourselves?
The Momo Spot are a group of friends that met at University. Some of us grew up here and others came here more recently for school. We are passionate about sharing our culture and food and in 2015, we took the opportunity to help Nepal after the devastating earthquake and held a fund raiser. It was a Bazaar style event where we sold momos and we all had such a great experience that we wanted to do more of it - thus The Momo Spot was born!
Tell us a bit about the fundraiser.
Yes when the news hit, it was a hard time for all of us. All of us have family in Nepal and we heard and read about the dire conditions in the aftermath. The group of us decided that we needed to help in any way we could and organized a Vigil at the Hill. All the big aid organizations were doing their own fundraising but we knew not every dollar was making it to the aid efforts. We wanted to do something ourselves - so we organized a Fundraiser to raise funds for a couple of grass-roots organizations that could benefit directly without international organizations taking their cut. One of the members of the team handed the funds we raised personally on a trip back to Nepal and they went towards rebuilding sustainable earthquake-resistant houses in remote areas that were most affected.
So we can find you at the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market every Sunday. Is there anywhere else people can get your delicious Momos?
Yes we are now at the Lansdowne Market for the summer season till the end of October. We started this food adventure earlier this year doing pop-ups at restaurants. We want to continue doing that as it allows us to introduce new surprises for our customers that we can't have at the market for logistical reasons. We have a couple in the works for this summer so you can find out more by following us on social media and signing up for our mailing list on our website: www.iwantmomos.com
After the fundraiser, what inspired you to continue to share this delicious street food of Nepal?
If you know a Nepali, you inevitably would have been invited to a Momo Party. Everyone who attends gets a first hand experience in making Momos which we then steam and all consume together. There is an awesome sense of sharing, fun and learning and everyone always wants to do it again soon because the momos blow their minds! So we thought, why not bring the Momo Party to Ottawa!
Another personal reason for me is that I grew up Nepalese but in a foreign land, Singapore. Everything I knew as being Nepalese was a sliver of what Nepal actually had to offer. Doing this as a passion project is helping me connect with my roots. Its also a great way to just 'hang' with friends on a Sunday!
Every Momo is made by hand. Is that a time consuming process?
Very much so! When making momos at home, every family member is roped into the process and its an EVENT! With momos, once you eat one, you can't stop so its always made in a large batch! To feed everyone, everyone needs to help! Hence The Momo Spot is not a team but a Squad! We also do 3 different patterns - one for each type: Chicken, Pork, Vegan and some styles are easier to wrap than others.
When you aren’t making Momos what do you do for fun?
We're an active bunch! Most of us work full-time and work on this on the side as a side hustle. Whenever we get the chance we try to explore Ottawa and its surrounding regions and go on hikes, camping etc. We also like travelling to other cities to try all the momos they have to offer!
What was the process for getting a location in the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market?
Anyone interested in getting a booth at the Market needs to go through a Jury process. We applied and got accepted. Next step was the actual jury process where we have to present all the food we're going to serve at the market to a jury of 5 members of the Market. We did not have the best presentation on the day of but I think the flavours sold themselves to the judges and are so grateful we made it through! There is a sense of camaraderie with applicants and we all wished each other well -when we found out if we got in, it was a flurry of facebook messages to congratulate each other and its still amazing to catch up with each other at the market any chance we can, trading each others' food items!
How many Momo’s have you seen a single person eat in one sitting?
When we do our Momo Parties, our friends can't stop once they have had their first momo. In one sitting, I think we've seen people eat 30-40 momos. The sauce is addictive and helps it go down easy and you get to a point where you hate yourself but keep eating but thats just how good they are! Why wouldn't we want to share that madness?!
What is the best beverage to pair with Momos?
In Nepal, they're popular Street food so pop tends to be the drink of choice. They are also a popular snack for hikers at rest-points called Tea Houses so tea is another alternative.
How has Ottawa played a part in the launch of Momo Spot?
Ottawa's food scene is amazing - we have culinary representation from the world over. It is inspiring and it makes you want to do your part to present your culture and food. Even the Lansdowne Farmers Market itself has Syrian, Argentinian, Venezuelan, Korean and Indian representation which for a foodie, is exciting. Its travelling through food and experiencing new cultures and flavours. Ottawa is so welcoming to such tastes and its palate is always embracing new flavours. We're lucky to be launching here!
Are there any local businesses that have supported you on this journey?
Yes! First shout out to Good Eats! We are so thankful to Karen for letting us pop up there and having faith in us. It has opened so many doors for us. The Cauldron Kitchen is a hot bed for up and coming food ventures - some of which are our neighbours at the Lansdowne Farmers Market. David and Dave are always attentive to their clientele and try to make the space a dream space for anyone who wants to start something in the food arena. Plenty of businesses like our's run out of there and its a great resource in Ottawa! On a personal level, Tarek Hassan of GongFu Bao deserves a huge shout out too! When we did our first pop-up, we only had ideas but no real experience with a dinner service - Tarek was amazing enough to provide some tips and has been a great supporter from Day 1. We're all excitingly waiting with bated breath for his restaurant to open on Bank Street real soon!