Dallas loves its dumplings and here comes what is sure to be a new crush: Momo Shack Himalayan Dumplings, a new dumpling stand at the Dallas Farmers Market that adds a new rendition to the local dumpling scene.
"Momos" are the Nepalese version of dumplings. They boast a unique flavor profile that incorporates influences from both India and Asia, including garlic, ginger, cilantro, and green onions. They are also accompanied by a spicy chutney-style sauce — a departure from the rice vinegar-soy sauce you get with Chinese dumplings.
Momo Shack was founded by Leezen Amatya, 24, a native of Nepal who runs the stand with his mother and executive chef, Minu Amatya, and his friend, Daniel Flores.
"I really wanted to share this part of my culture," Amatya says. "Momos look like soup dumplings, but the filling is what makes it Himalayan."
Their menu is tightly focused, with momos in three flavors: chicken, pork, or veggie, filled with cabbage, carrots, and onion. They have two sauces: a spicy tomato-based sauce and a milder cilantro chutney.
For now, the dumplings are steamed, but they'll soon offer them in a fried version, as well.
Their hours are also limited. Since they all have full-time jobs, and since the process of making the dumplings is time-consuming, they are open every other Saturday for now, with their next date being February 17; find schedule updates on their Instagram.
They'll also participate in Lunar New Year Specialty Market, a special popup event on February 18 being organized by Sandwich Hag restaurant at 1902 S. Lamar St., with food vendors and guests specializing in Asian cuisine.
"Ever since I was a kid, I've been in love with momos," Amatya says. "I was born and raised in Nepal, where these are from, but we moved to Texas when I was 10 years old. There was no Nepalese presence when I was in school — I was the only Nepalese person — and I learned to quickly assimilate to the culture here. But I strayed away from my foundation and roots."
In 2017, he took his first solo trip to Nepal after 12 years. "It was a spiritual trip where I re-connected with that part of myself," he says. "After my trip, I said, let's do it. What better way is there to share your culture than food?"