Most people are familiar with the traditional yomari filled with molasses or concentrated milk. The Newa delicacy is usually eaten on a special full moon day in winter, and the elongated dumplings made of rice flour with high calorie fillings are supposed to ward off the cold.
Now this Kathmandu favourite is getting an upgrade with even more flavours: chicken, potatoes, vegetables and chocolate at Yomari Corner, Lazimpat. Essentially what the innovative founders of the eatery have done is turned yomari into a kind of large momo.
Yomari Corner was established by three childhood friends who are proficient in their own occupations: furniture businessman Suman KC, hospitality professional Bijay Karki, and Vastu professional Manish Nasnani. Their aim is to promote Nepal’s own food items and create a long-lasting legacy.
The six flavours of yomari each have a unique taste. The chicken, potato, and vegetable flavours are savoury and can be consumed as light snacks or meals. The potato yomari, they say, is a healthier alternative to the greasy deep fried samosa. The chicken and the vegetable options taste similar to momos, though they are larger and shaped differently. That brings up the question: why not just stick to momos?
“We are very careful about the dough we use, and only use traditional rice flour. That is much healthier than the processed white flour that goes into momos in the fast food market,” says Bijay Karki. “Besides, yomari is a typical Nepali food that originated in Panauti, while momo’s origins are debatable. So it is also an effort to promote food with Nepali roots.”
After chicken or potato yomari, customers can choose sweet cream, molasses, or chocolate yomari for dessert. Traditional yomari fillings are runny, but Yomari Corner has improvised and made them pasty so that they do not drip when biting into them. Khuwa and chaku are still the most popular flavours, but chocolate was introduced to entice children. It seems to be working.
Yomari Corner also takes pride in how the yomaris are made: all the pieces are homemade and handmade using organic ingredients. It sources the sweet cream from Dhunkharka village in the outskirts of Kathmandu, and employs women who are in need of jobs.
“Our aim is not just to sell food and earn a profit, but also establish a social enterprise that gives back to the community,” says founder Suman KC.