05/20/13 9:50am

Phayul Awarded the Golden Momo Trophy

Phayul’s momo took home the prize after a three-way tiebreaker.

Phayul’s momo took home the prize after a three-way tiebreaker.

Forget the James Beard Awards. When it comes to recognition in the culinary arts I’m all about the Golden Momo. Yesterday was the Second Annual Momo Crawl in Jackson (aka Himalayan) Heights. The object of the event organized by Jeff Orlick was to find the best momo of the 20 places in the hood.  I am still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that there are 20 places offering the beef dumpling beloved by Tibetans and Nepalese, I thought there were a dozen at most. I was unable to attend the crawl as I was giving a food tour of Elmhurst, but judging from the activity on the Twitter machine, the rain did not keep folks away.

One of Phayul’s momo maestros with the coveted trophy.

One of Phayul’s momo maestros with the coveted trophy.

Late yesterday evening I learned that Phayul took first prize after a three-way tie-breaker with Ganjong Kitchen and Lhasa Fast Food. I was pleased to hear this as Phayul is one of my favorite Tibetan spots, so much so that I took Andrew Zimmern there. So I jumped on the 7 train to get a glimpse of the coveted Golden Momo and help my friends at Phayul celebrate.

The Dalai Lama flanked by a basketball trophy and the Golden Momo.

The Dalai Lama flanked by a basketball trophy and the Golden Momo.

When I got to Phayul it was crowded—not with the 80 momo crawlers that had roamed the streets earlier in the afternoon—but with the usual mix of Tibetan families and young people all eating momo. I shared a table with a couple who each had an order of momo ($5). They were amazed both by the Golden Momo, and the fact that I was thoroughly enjoying their national dish. As I slurped a complimentary bowl of  beef stock, the Nepalese gent next to me asked if the restaurant was given the award last year. “No, earlier this afternoon,” I replied. “It’s one of my favorite place for Tibetan food.” Oh and if Phayul isn’t your favorite momo place, don’t worry there are 19 other joints to choose from.

Phayul,  37-65 74th St, Jackson Heights, 718-424-1869

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2 Comment

  • Thanks so much for the write-up. I can’t believe that the Momo Trophy is sitting next to a picture of the Dalai Lama!
    The only thing is, I wish I could have gone on the crawl, it was such a fun experience. It would have been so nice to go to these places for the first time, meeting all the lovely people who are selling momos in this neighborhood – I’m jealous of all the people who came on the crawl. Running events, you never get to experience it for yourself. Most of the vendors welcomed everyone with welcome arms, as if bringing them into their home. I am very lucky to be here in this neighborhood.

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