Pinto on Food

Check out these handmade Nepali dumplings from London's Momos at the Market

Afternoon Drive's Jonathan Pinto learns the story behind Yam Gurung's hand-made momos.

Afternoon Drive's Jonathan Pinto learns the story behind Yam Gurung's hand-made momos

Yam Gurung owns Momos at the Market. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

Gyoza. Perogy. Ravioli. Mandu. Knish.

Whatever you call them, I'm a huge fan of dumplings. If it involves meat, veggies or even fruit in a wrapper, I'm in.

So when I heard about a place in London that specializes in Nepali-style dumplings — known as momos — I knew I had to find out more.

While they may look similar to the dumplings found in China, Korea and Japan, momos taste totally different.

Take a look at how they're made.

Yam Gurung, owner of London's Momos at the Market, shows how to make his signature dish. 1:59

"Momos have a more [unique] flavour, a mixture of ... Indian spice and Nepali spice," explained Yam Gurung, the owner of Momos at the Market.

He's been selling his dumplings made with Arva flour and filled with chicken, pork, vegetable and water buffalo since 2010, initially at the Western Fair District Market on Saturdays, but now also seven days a week at the London Food Incubator in Old East Village.

With the filling containing ingredients such as turmeric, coriander, ginger and garlic and topped with his signature tomato, coriander and garlic sauce, a plate of steamed momos combined my love for Chinese dumplings with the flavours of the Indian food I grew up with.

My brain couldn't quite figure out what was going on — but whatever it was, it wanted more.

A variety of fresh spices and herbs are mixed with ground chicken to produce the filling for chicken momos. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

In Nepal, Gurung worked as a mountain guide, and in the off season, as a cook. It was there where he met his wife Samantha Schuster, a Canadian. He moved to Canada in 2001.

After a 14-month stint in Nunavut, where Schuster worked as a midwife, the couple moved to London. Gurung started working as a cook, but with the arrival of their second child, he ended up staying at home for five years to look after their kids.

In 2010, after the children started school, Gurung approached the Western Fair District market about selling his hand-made momos. After a year of selling from a table, a commercial kitchen spaced opened up at the King Street building, and he's been there ever since.

Tap on the audio to hear the entire story.

Jonathan Pinto told us about Momos at the Market, a business selling Nepali dumplings in London. 8:19

CBC Windsor reporter Jonathan Pinto travels across southwestern Ontario as Afternoon Drive's "food dude." Know of a place you think he should check out? Email him at jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca or on Twitter @jonathan_pinto.

An ornate goblet Gurung uses as a measuring cup. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Gurung makes producing momos look easy, but it took a lot of practise to get there. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
In addition to momos, Gurung also prepares other Nepali dishes. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
A plate of freshly-steamed momos served with Gurung's tomato, coriander and garlic sauce. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Gurung has also started producing a Nepali-style granola that uses rice flakes instead of oats. It can be found in 20 stores across southwestern Ontario. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

Momos at the Market is open Saturdays at the Western Fair District Market and seven days a week at the London Food Incubator.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.