Chorney-Booth: Calgary Momo House shares the flavors of Nepal

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Traditional Nepalese cuisine is not exactly a common sight in Calgary restaurants. We have great options of The Himalayan in the Killarney and Taste of Himalayas area in Midnapore, as well as a handful of places that weave Nepalese specialties into menus that also feature Indian and other cuisines from around the world. Southeast Asia, but you don’t exactly go there. to find a Nepali restaurant on every corner here in Calgary.

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Nepalese-Calgarians Prakash Magar, Pooja Ale Magar and Gyanendra Banjara Sharma yearned for food from the country they grew up in, so they took the plunge and opened their own restaurant. Their new business, Calgary Momo House, opened (the first take-out to comply with COVID-19 restrictions) in April, bringing the trio’s most beloved Nepalese dishes to foodies across town.

The three founders (the Magars are married and Sharma is a good friend) have extensive experience working in gourmet hotels and restaurants across the world, but when pandemic restrictions first hit they found themselves without job every day. To fill the void, they started working on restaurant-grade Nepalese food recipes, providing their lucky friends and colleagues with deliveries of plump momo dumplings and other specialties. The response was so positive that they sought space for a full service restaurant.

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John Momo Steamed Chicken Dumplings.  Brendan Miller / Postmedia
John Momo Steamed Chicken Dumplings. Brendan Miller / Postmedia Brendan Miller / Postmedia

Magar still has a full time job as a chef at the Fairmount Palliser, leaving Ale Magar to take care of the restaurant reception and Sharma to take care of the chef duties. The restaurant is located in the far northeast of the city in the Cityscape community, just east of the airport. Not the kind of place you might stumble upon unless you live near the relatively new development, but the team made the most of their location, filling the tiny restaurant with furnishings. simple but modern. Ale Magar brings his experience of hospitality to the table, explaining less familiar dishes to patrons while telling a few stories about his childhood in Nepal.

While the venue isn’t particularly fancy, Calgary Momo House excels with its food. Sharma makes a great take on the restaurant’s eponymous dumplings, with options for fried, steamed, or jhol (in sauce) momos filled with goat, chicken, or veg and served with tomato and chilli chutneys (ranging from $ 9.50 to $ 13.90 for 10 meatballs, depending on style and filling). The momos are certainly impressive and worthy of envy, but it would be a shame not to explore the menu further, which includes hard-to-find Nepalese specialties like sukuti sandheko, a combination of dry-aged goat meat, crumbled rice. and marinated grilled soy ($ 9.50), macha tareko, which are small fried fish served with a side of aachar ($ 9.50) and plates of Nepalese chow mein, garnished with chili sauce and chicken or tofu ($ 13.50 – $ 14.50). Sharma also flexes her refined muscles with a less traditional seared salmon in a turmeric coconut curry sauce with buttered rice ($ 24.50) and Himalayan butter chicken ($ 17.90) , because who doesn’t love a good butter chicken?

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Machha Tareko Fried Fish at Calgary Momo House.  Brendan Miller / Postmedia
Machha Tareko Fried Fish at Calgary Momo House. Brendan Miller / Postmedia Brendan Miller / Postmedia

Magar is happy with the response to the restaurant – not only does he bring a taste of home to Calgary’s relatively small Nepalese community (he says they also have Nepali customers who come from Edmonton, Medicine Hat and even out of the province), but he’s also introducing other Calgarians to dishes and spice combinations they may not have tried before.

“I have traveled a lot as a chef and we wanted to share real Nepalese cuisine with the people here,” says Magar. “We bring Himalayan mountain food to the Rocky Mountains. “

Calgary Momo House is located at # 2150, 4310 104th Ave. NE and can be reached at 403-660-7043. To reserve a table or to order takeout, visit calgarymomohouse.com.

Calgary Momo House tandoori momos.  Brendan Miller / Postmedia
Calgary Momo House tandoori momos. Brendan Miller / Postmedia Brendan Miller / Postmedia

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Anyone planning a quiet Banff getaway might want to put something on the calendar for the otherwise quiet November, which is high season for foodies in Mountain Town. From November 1 to 28, visitors can attend the Taste for Adventure Festival, which showcases a significant slice of Banff’s best restaurants. Banff has seen tremendous growth in the quality and quantity of its restaurants over the past two years and this event gives diners the opportunity to explore some of the hot spots as well as old favorites.

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Much like the food festivals we see throughout the year in Calgary, Taste of Adventure asks participating restaurants to prepare special, fixed-price menus at relatively affordable prices. This year’s attendees include Buffalo Mountain Lodge’s new Prow Restaurant, the new Hello Sunshine, The Radiant (with a package that includes a live show), or for something truly luxurious, discounted tasting menus at Eden in the Rimrock Hotel. To participate, simply reserve a meal at one of the participating restaurants – for a full list of restaurants and menus, visit banfflakelouise.com/tasteforadventure.

Elizabeth Chorney-Booth can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @elizabooth or Instagram at @elizabooth.

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