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Give us mo' momo 

Katmandu Momo serves up crave-worthy Nepalese dumplings.

click to enlarge MOMOS AND MORE: Katmandu Momo's meat and vegetable dumplings with achar sauce are matched with crunchy spring rolls, jasmine fried rice.
  • MOMOS AND MORE: Katmandu Momo's meat and vegetable dumplings with achar sauce are matched with crunchy spring rolls, jasmine fried rice.

Since Saroja Shrestha and her husband, Kyler Nordeck, started the Katmandu Momo food truck in 2014, we've been following it around Little Rock and on social media in pursuit of our momo fix. What's a momo, you ask? It's a type of steamed South Asian dumpling, popular in Nepal, Tibet, Bhutan and parts of India, and Katmandu Momo's version is addictive.

Shrestha grew up in Katmandu, Nepal, and first came to the U.S. to attend Henderson State University in Arkadelphia. She stuck around Arkansas after college and met and married Nordeck. Shrestha enjoyed cooking, got acclaim from friends when she made momos and had a business administration degree, so she and Nordeck decided to open a food truck. After three years of success as a mobile eatery, they opened up shop in a corner stall of the River Market's Ottenheimer Hall earlier this year. The food truck remains in operation around town, but, man, oh man, are we glad to have a fixed location to get our fix of Nepalese deliciousness.

For those new to Katmandu Momo's cuisine, you're in luck: The options are few and all tasty. The steamed momos come filled with beef, chicken or veggies. They're roundish, creased together with a swirl on top (Shrestha assembles each momo). All the fillings are marinated in spices that may be somewhat familiar — cumin, coriander, turmeric — along with fresh garlic and ginger, but together, taste unlike anything we've tried before. They come with achar sauce, which is thin and tomato-based with hints of sesame oil and a slow heat. Dump the momos thoroughly in the achar sauce and lean all the way over your to-go container — the momos are juicy and, if you're not careful, you'll get splattered. We've had all varieties many times. They're all excellent, but we prefer the crunch of the veggie, which have a stewed-like quality, and apparently we're not alone. Nordeck says it's hard for Shrestha to make enough veggie to satisfy the demand.

click to enlarge CHICKEN CHOW MEIN: Katmandu Momo style.
  • CHICKEN CHOW MEIN: Katmandu Momo style.

The veggie momos are also vegan, as are all three of the sides. The long-grain jasmine fried rice was buttery and golden (we suspect there's a healthy seasoning of turmeric, saffron or both), with a wonderfully uneven toasted quality. It was like paella rice, but without the crunch. If the aloo dum, or spicy potato salad, was on a chain restaurant menu, it'd have a little hot pepper symbol next to it to warn the capsaicin-averse. It's spiced liberally with fennel, cumin, green onion and cilantro, and enough heat to make the crunchy, mild spring roll a nice go-between.

You can get large portions of each of the sides for $4, or get them as part of a combo. It's $8.99 for 10 momos, eight momos and a side or six momos and two sides.

Katmandu Momo
Ottenheimer Hall
400 President Clinton Ave.
351-4169
facebook.com/katmandumomo

Quick bite

Katmandu Momo's regular special is chicken chow mein, a smoky tangle of spaghetti mixed with blackened pieces of chicken and green pepper and covered with garam masala and other spices. It's a massive portion and, like everything else, delicious. You can get a veggie variety, too.

Hours

10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Other info

Credit cards accepted, no alcohol.


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