Momo vendors giving stiff competition to pakora, parantha sellers in Chandigarh
A delectable and mouth-watering dish, dumplings have gained a universal status and these little heavenly packets, found in every nook and cranny, have provided employment to thousands of people. Filled with meat or vegetables coupled with different flavoured aromatics, these succulent wraps are everyone's favourite.
In Sectors 15, 19, 22, 37, 47, 49, Manimajra, Panjab University, etc, small vendors offering dumpling or momos - as we love to call it - can be found at almost every roadside or market area.
A few years back, not many knew about momos but with people from states like Himachal Pradesh, eastern states, Leh, etc, coming here to earn a living - the dish has originated from Tibet - the dish has become ubiquitous now.
Momos have now become synonymous with street food and with time, the dish has been made more or less indigenous, especially to cater to needs of Punjabis, who are fond of spicy food.
In Sector 15, Chandigarh, abode to students who come to study from different states at Panjab University and other colleges of the city, Rajesh Choudhary, 20, a Nepal native, has been selling momos for the past several years.
He said, "Every evening, several people come here - some along with their families- to enjoy this lovely dish. On an average, I make around Rs 9,000 to Rs 10,000 a month."
In Manimajra's Modern Complex market, you can visit Michael's, 27, 'little hut' - as he likes to call it - and enjoy momos for just Rs 20 a plate.
Deepak, 25, who sells momos outside Sai Confectioners, said, "I come here at 5pm every day and sell momos till 10pm. I earn a fixed amount of Rs 350 a day, provided by the shop owner, who has given me the place to set up my stall."
He added said he was happy doing business for just five hours a day as the material was provided by the owner and all he does is garnishing the snack with a dollop of slightly sweet mayonnaise.
At the Student Centre of Panjab University, too, one can find variants of this amazing dish, which is served with chutney-salsa - a tomato-based sauce with fresh coriander and chilli flakes. Make a combo with a glass of fresh juice and that's enough to fill your appetite.
Educated till Class 5, Rajkumar Tamang, 18, a momo-seller who hails from Nepal and works at Sector 7, Chandigarh, earns around 10,000 to 12,000 a month. He said, "It's been six years in this business and I have witnessed an increasing demand for vegetarian dimsum for the past two years."