Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Nur ein Hop, ein Hopserlauf und ein Sprung nach Nepal

For a while every cuisine I sampled featured cevapcici. The kebabs resurfaced recently in Macedonia, but now we are on a different theme - in Mongolia they are buuz and in Nepal, momos (expect them to resurface also as momos in Tibet). According to Wikipedia, momos (or whatever you prefer to call your steamed dumplings) were introduced from Han China (although I'm always skeptical about claims of "inventing" something as basic as a flour and water dough wrapped around ground/minced meat and steamed) and you can also find them in Bhutan, as well as, the Himalayan bits of India. Momos can be fried or steamed and the filling varies a bit - mildly spiced ground lamb or beef is common, but there are also vegetable, potato, and cheese fillings depending on where you are. It's hard to say whether Cafe Tsetseg or Nepal Haus has better buuz/momos. Both restaurants are making them from scratch, so it's hard to go to wrong. Cafe Tsetseg's beef buuz are bigger and juicer (and cheaper), but Nepal Haus offers three different fillings - lamb, spinach, or vegetable (mostly potato) and the lamb, while also quite plain, was a seasoned a bit more precisely. Nepal Haus' momos come with a peanuts sauce (which I didn't care for, but my friend found to be a good compliment to the spinach momos) and a delicious tomato chutney that beat Tsetseg's bottle of sriracha hands down. Of course, if you love starch, Tsetseg serves potato salad with their buuz. In a perfect world, we would have Cafe Tsetseg's big doughy buuz with Nepal Haus' lamb filling and tomato chutney, but either place can easily handle your dumpling craving. Nepal is a more diverse country than Mongolia, in terms of ethnic groups represented, as well as, climate and terrain and this is reflected in the cuisine and on the menu at Nepal Haus (although some of the dishes go too far - I don't think there is a lot of shrimp curry to be found in Nepal). In addition to an order of momos, we also sampled a bean soup with Nepalese herbs and an okra curry. The soup wasn't great - the broth tasted like canned fried onions and there weren't many herbs - mostly green onions and maybe cilantro ... the beans were straight out of a can. I'm not sure what about it was Nepalese at all. The daal, was much better - not life-changing, but a good homemade bowl of soup. The okra curry, while not quite remarkable, was enjoyable, especially in a city where okra is hard to find. All-in-all, Nepal Haus is a decent, but not an earth-shatteringly special restaurant. I can't recommend you trek across town for dinner there, but if you're in the area or have a hankering for dumplings, the lamb momos are worth an order (the spinach are pretty tasty too). Nepal Haus Gneisenaustra├če 4

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