In 1995, Thubten Amchok, a former practicing Tibetan Buddhist monk, made his home in the United States. It was the tail-end of a long journey involving stops throughout the Himalayan regions of Nepal and India. He put down roots in Jackson Heights, already home to a majority of New York’s estimated 5,000 to 6,000 Tibetan asylum-seekers.
It wasn’t until 2012 that Amchok got into the momo business, initially with nothing more than a modest pushcart to sell his dumplings. Word spread quickly, thanks to his impeccably pleated bundles of beef. Today, Amdo Kitchen—his truck named for the region of Tibet in which he was born—serves some of the finest momos in a neighborhood filled with stiff competition. For five consecutive years, the truck scored the highly prized Momo Trophy, an honor bestowed by popular opinion on the annual Jackson Heights Momo Crawl.
It’s not hard to see why Amchok’s momos inspire such fervent loyalty. To this day, cooks roll and pleat each top-knotted dumpling by hand. Thinner-skinned than their commercial counterparts and bursting with lightly seasoned beef juices, these dumplings need no adornment—although a healthy squirt of sepen chile sauce perfectly cuts through the richness of the filling.
Know Before You Go
Beef momos are the move here, although the chicken and vegetable options are also strong. Order a bag of 50 or 100 frozen momos and your future self will thank you.