Pittsburgh is home to small, but growing, Nepali Bhutanese communities in neighborhoods like Carrick, Brentwood, and Whitehall in the South Hills. Thousands of refugees from Bhutan have resettled in Pittsburgh after the Bhutanese government persecuted the Nepali minority within the South Asian country that straddles between India and China.
The Nepali Bhutanese started arriving in Pittsburgh in 2008, and their community has thrived here. So much so, that it has experienced a second migration of other Nepali Bhutanese who have moved to Pittsburgh from other parts of the U.S.
And now Pittsburgh is starting to reap the rewards in the form of Nepalese restaurants. Namaste Momo Corner is just one of a few spots that have sprouted up along Route 51 in Brentwood’s strip malls.
Namaste Momo Corner is fast-causal, unassuming, and very accessible to those who aren’t familiar with Nepalese food. Momo, or dumplings, are the eponymous item, and some are very similar to Chinese pot-stickers. Except, Namaste Momo Corner has several varieties, with different fillings and different styles.
On a recent trip, I ordered the C-momo dumplings with pork fillings, the chicken chow mein, and the samosa chaat.
The Nepalese cuisine at Namaste was a pleasant combination of Indian and Chinese comfort foods, each containing noticeable similarities to the Asian staples, but distinct enough to recognize the dishes as uniquely Nepalese.
The C-momo dumplings (the C stands for chili) were spicy, a bit sweet, and filled with a moist and flavorful pork filling. They look and taste similar to Chinese pot-sticker dumplings, but with a different blend of spices in the meat, and are covered in a spicy and subtle sweet chili sauce with just a hint of turmeric. No need for dipping, just dive right in.
Lastly, the samosa chaat was basically an open-faced fried dumpling, covered in chickpea curry. It’s comforting in the same way that biscuits and gravy is comforting, except it's loaded with Asian flavors. The samosa was fried to crispy perfection, and stuffed with savory-spiced potato fillings. All around, it was a chaat masala curry sauce with chickpeas, tamarind chutney, and a thick yogurt. This was Namaste’s dish that most resembled Indian flavors, but it was sweeter and less spicy than dishes from the South Asian country.
And this is where Namaste Momo Corner really excels. The dishes are both surprising, yet familiar, and they are a balance between both Indian and Chinese cuisine. Which honestly makes sense since both Nepal and Bhutan straddle the two countries in the Himalyan Mountains.
I think this balance is a perfect fit for Pittsburgh. Where Indian-American food is typically heavy on the spice and heat, Namaste offers slightly sweeter varieties of its popular dishes. Where Chinese-American can be a bit sweet, Namaste provides a bit more spice to balance out offerings like dumplings and chow mein.
Head to the down Route 51 in Pittsburgh’s South Hills, and take a culinary trip to the Himalayas. Or get Namaste Momo Corner food directly to your door — they deliver. It’s more comforting than you might assume.
Namaste Momo Corner. 4114 Saw Mill Run Blvd., Brentwood. namastemomocorner.site