Slideshow: Eating All The Momos in Jackson Heights

Woodside Cafe
Woodside Cafe
Established: 6 months ago, previously Spicy Mina's

Our first momo ($5.95, beef) was also one of the best. Using homemade, unleavened dough sprinkled with cilantro and stuffed with garam masala-spiked beef, Woodside's dough was particularly fresh and chewy.

64-23 Broadway, Woodside, NY 11377 (map); 347-642-3445; woodsidecafe.com

Tawa's Nepali Hut
Tawa's Nepali Hut
Established: 1.5 years ago

In spite of the pre-made wrappers, Tawa produces some of the neighborhood's finest momos. Orlick opted for chicken on our tour; we'd recommend you go for the much tastier vegetable. Both are buffered by curry spices, with the vegetable packing enough flavor to make those squirt bottle sauces obsolete. (Note of interest: Tawa also happens to be one of the only momo parlors where you can get your dumplings stuffed with paneer cheese.)

37-38 72nd St, Jackson Heights, Queens 11372 (map); 718-457-7766

[Photograph:Jason Crowley]

Himalayan Yak
Himalayan Yak
Established: 2006 By all accounts, the original Jackson Heights momo. The steamers were cause for hope, but their pork momo ($6.50) paled in comparison to Woodside Cafe's. The skin was too thin, and the filling was less flavorful and too dry. Not anything to write home about, the sauces were also too one note.

72-20 Roosevelt Avenue, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-779-1119; himalayanyakrestaurant.com/

Patola Cart
Patola Cart
Established: 1.5 years It's hard not to share in the joy this cart's owner radiates, somehow brighter then the LED tube that lights up his patch of sidewalk at night. Asked by a fellow traveler about momo style, he offered that his (particularly bao zi-like) are characteristic of the state of Amdo in eastern Tibet. The hand-pulled wrapper is particularly dense, with perhaps the most complex pleating of any we tried, and, according to Anne Noyes Saini of City Spoonful, contains barley flour. The juicy filling, too, is excellent: giving the most justification to the "almost soup dumpling like" descriptions of quality momos.

37th Ave and Broadway, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map)

Namaste
Namaste
Established: As many as 2 years ago

To get your momos ($6, chicken) here, you'll first have to pass through Merit Farms into the back. There waits Namaste, a restaurant within the restaurant. The orange sauce was likely the best we tasted: fresh and tangy, brimming with genuine sweetness from the tomatoes. The momos, too, were quite good.

37-67 74th St, Jackson Heights, Queens 11372 (map); 718-396-5827

Dipping Sauces
Dipping Sauces
Examples of common dipping sauces (from front to back): sweet (tomato with cilantro), spicy (roasted chilies with Sichuan peppercorn), and sesame (claimed by a Himalayan Hut waitress to be more characteristic of Bhutanese food).
Tibetan Mobile
Tibetan Mobile
Established: 2006

Now this place is awesome. Tucked into the back reaches of a AT&T store, behind shelves of imported DVDs and VHS's is a tiny kitchen serving a counter top and a small table. Talk about practical. Here you can get your phone fixed and feed your family, too. The food is no joke either.

We ordered beef ($5), but the other customers—a family of three—offered me one of theirs: wild chives accented by beef. The flavor of the greens spoke through the protein, powering one of their juicier dumplings I've had stateside. But don't diss the plain beef, cooked just with oil and salt, which was a formidable bite itself.

37-50 74th Street, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-205-2339; tibetmobile.com

Lali Guras
Lali Guras
Established: Possibly 3 years ago

A favorite spot of Orlick's, these momos ($5, beef) were checked off as "best in the 'hood" by the Woodside Cafe staff. Ridiculously juicy (soup dumpling caution applies), they sport a delicate spice that puts more bland alternatives to shame. And don't miss that sesame dipping sauce on the side. They're also the only explicitly Bhutanese joint around, though other neighborhood restaurants serve the mountain kingdom's fare as well.

37-63 76th St, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-424-0017

Mustang Thakali
Mustang Thakali
Established: 2 to 3 years ago

Mustang has gotten some critical acclaim from writers in the past. Their chicken momos ($7.95) aren't excellent, due in part to a skin that's a little thin, but the turmeric and other spices in the filling do help.

74 37th Ave, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-898-5088

Norling Tibetan Kitchen
Norling Tibetan Kitchen
Established: Various incarnations over the last 4 years Real crowd pleasers, these beef momos ($6) were some of the best we ate. The greens and onion made all the difference, with the meat harboring a funky flavor a la dry aged beef. And, oh yeah, they're massive.

74-15 Roosevelt Ave, Queens, NY 11372 (map); 718-424-8900

Peace Cafe
Peace Cafe
Established: Roughly 1 year ago, previously Deccan Kebab

The skin of these momos ($6, chicken) lacked the tug of hand-pulled dough, and the filling could've used more flavor. Perhaps we would've been more impressed had we gone off the beaten path and placed an order for the more exciting sounding beef chili momos. Still, Peace Cafe is an awesome place, with a charming and particularly welcoming atmosphere. Momos just aren't their strong suit.

74-06 37th Rd., Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-205-2233

Bhim's
Bhim's
Established: Himalayan for 4-5 years, previously Bhim's

These weren't our favorites. The thin wrappers were carelessly constructed and fell apart easily. The chicken filling ($6) was sufficiently spicy but otherwise not particularly interesting. The steam table, which features buffalo, is more promising.

74-10 37th Road, Jackson Heights, NY 11372 (map); 718-458-0917

The Game Trail
The Game Trail
Each participant was armed with this map, which lacked directions but provided addresses and a gameplan. Making sure each group had a local to help them along, Orlick let each group find its own way.