A BJP legislator seeks to ban our beloved momos!
So a BJP legislator in Jammu and Kashmir has called for a new ban. But this time, MLC Ramesh Arora has picked a bone with millions of Indians, not just one state or one religion. Arora has targeted, guess what, our beloved momos. Those delicious bite-sized dumplings of pure bliss. How could any Indian be unaware of the love-hate relationship we have with momos!
To dispel all myths, momos originated in Tibet, not in northeast India (your Arunachali friend's ancestors didn't invent momos, nope). Tibet's proximity to Nepal, Bhutan and India meant it travelled across borders. It is believed the Monpa and Sherdukpa tribes played an important role in spreading the cuisine. Some believe Tibetans brought the momo with them when they fled to India in the 1960s.
We Indians are great at jugaad. So when the momo reached different states, we 'Indian'ized it. Enthusiasts can today pick from fried momos, sizzler momos, tandoori momos, aloo/paneer momos, and even chocolate momos. Wow! Momo offers the MoBurg (momos stuffed between burger buns) and Baked Momo Au'gratin (momos topped with cream, noodles and cheese). Last year, GoBuzzinga hosted an exclusive momo festival in Delhi!
Then in 2015, many Indians broke up with their beloved momos, when the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition announced Delhi's famous street food has "high faecal contamination". The study claimed excessive presence of E. coli bacteria in momos, which can cause severe illnesses like typhoid and cholera. The pathogen was suspected to have affected momos through contaminated water used in preparation (umm…).
Just two years later, we are back in love with momos. Today, vendors even prepare them in bulk and ship to sellers, whose job it is simply to steam them. Uncountable momo-only food carts have launched all over, which provide employment opportunities to thousands. In fact, Wow! Momo, India's biggest momo franchise, said it is considering exporting packaged frozen momos with specially-made sauces!
J&K's Arora calls momos "the root cause of several life-threatening diseases, including cancer". Why? Because one of its common ingredients is ajinomoto, or MSG. Arora believes it is "more harmful than even alcohol and psychotropic drugs". However, the legislator should know it is possible to make momos without ajinomoto. Maybe he should call for a ban on MSG instead, and not momos?
@ghoshworld won't take an affront to our love lightly, "The Confederacy of Dunces attacks a beloved snack." @ChennaiTwEater reiterated his commitment: "Just for this i'm having #momos from kailash kitchen tomorrow." @Shehzad_Ind decried the (moral?) policing, "RSS says Gosht chod do! BJP says Momos chod do!!Sangh Parivar has become the "food police" & v have to get r menu card approved from Nagpur."
So how did the well-loved momos take a turn for the worse and become a racist weapon? Even today, northeasterners, mostly in the capital, are referred to as "momos". On the other hand, there's the community of momo sellers, a significant section of which are Gorkhas. The same gorkhas, who put up a brave war in Kargil in 1997, are today nicknamed "momo steamers".