I wasn’t too sure what I was getting myself into when I accepted Tiffany’s invitation to dinner, but I definitely was excited.
“Wait. What are we going here for?” Terra asked me on our way to Tiffany’s. I’m not always that thorough at explaining to my wife what I’m doing.
“Tiffany was interested in meeting Working Class Vegan Man,” I replied with a smile.
“She and her sisters want to make sure their vegan dumplings are good, I think.”
“Are we eating dinner?”
“I think.” I wasn’t really sure. I was just excited to try something new.
Tiffany welcomed us into her house where I caught an immediate whiff of something delicious. Her sisters-in-law were hard at work cooking a Nepali feast for us.
A fantastic color of activity enveloped us as we entered. Children giggled and played games, while the sisters prepared the meal. Images of the Nepali and Bhutanese culture decorated the house. There was a positive vibrancy here. Lots of happiness. Tiffany introduced us to her husband, Amber, who smiled a big welcoming smile.
“This is awesome, thanks,” I said. I felt strangely comfortable, as if I had known Tiffany and Amber for years.
We watched Tiffany and her sisters Indra and Tara work over several pots steaming with a wonderful aroma. Their fingers magically folded the momos (dumplings) with remarkable ease and perfection. I couldn’t stop watching as one right after the other were folded and tossed into the bowl, ready for steaming.
They stuffed the momos with Chima, a delightful mix of cabbage and spices. This was the vegan version Tiffany was interested in me tasting. Momos can be made with meat, but Tiffany, Indra and Tara made these special for us — the vegans.
Terra and I were getting a close-up glimpse of Three Sisters Momo, a “woman-owned small mobile food business.” They prepare traditional Nepali foods, such as achar, a spicy tomato-based sauce for the momo.
As a teacher of world history and international politics, I was interested in their personal stories. Amber, Tara and Indra left Bhutan when the Bhutanese government, like so many governments tend to do, began a program to crack down on the ethnic Nepali population in their country. At a young age, Tiffany’s husband and sisters walked from their home in Bhutan to refugee camps in Nepal.
Many people from the refugee camps have left Nepal to find a new home and beginning elsewhere in the world, and a good number have relocated to Akron’s North Hill, and Three Sisters Momo is hoping to represent that vibrant community with their wonderful dishes.
Terra and I sat for dinner, piling loads of chow mein noodles on our plates. We slurped that up, probably a little too fast, but it was too delicious to care about our mantra to chew our food. We then loaded up on our vegan momos and dribbled some achar on them, and WOW! Awesome stuff, and handmade fresh too!
I ate quite a bit, but I felt satisfied, not full and sluggish.
Terra leaned in to me and said, “If they offer you the leftovers, take ‘em.”
And soon after that, Tiffany made our night by offering us the remaining momos, which I took to school the next day, and gobbled them up — probably a little too fast.
Three Sisters Momo is ultimately interested in running a food cart, but at the moment, they are offering their wonderful momos at various Akron events. You can find them on Facebook or join them at the upcoming Better Block event on May 15-17 in North Hill.
And don’t worry, they have momos stuffed with meat too.