By Haleema Akber
At the corner of Central park in Panampilly Nagar, there’s a nondescript shop and a bunch of young girls and boys are sitting in front of it expectantly. It is 2.30 pm and the shop has just opened for the day. In a few minutes, the shop called ‘ Shifu Momo’s ’ is all ready with steaming hot momos.
Strangely, this is the first momo shop in Kerala and inspired from the huge response received so far, there are plans to branch out to three prime areas in Kochi – Palarivattom, Aluva and Kakkanad. Kashyap Saigal, the man behind this venture is all excited about his new prospect and says “the quality will not be compromised at any cost.”
He happened to taste momos (a type of steamed dumpling with varied fillings and believed to be of Tibetan origin) from a shop in Delhi while he was pursuing his PhD in ‘Life Sciences’ from the Institute of Molecular Medicine, Delhi. And its taste lingered so much so that it eventually led him to start a momo shop in his native place, Kochi.
He started his momo counter in Panampilly Nagar in March 2012 and he says a lot of research has gone into it before opening the shop. “I researched about various kinds of momos and finally when I was ready, I opened a small counter in the verandah of a shop.
Today Kashyap owns a shop in Panampilly Nagar. The major attraction is the quantity and quality of momos served at an affordable price.
He has an interesting story to say on how he fixed the name for the shop.
“The name of the shop was inspired from a character called ‘Master Shifu’ from the English Movie ‘Kungfu Panda’ and there’s a scene where Master Shifu trains Kungu Panda enticing him with a plate of momos if he completes every tasks given to him. That was the real inspiration to start a momos shop and introduce this new dish to Keralites,” he says with a smile on his face.
He started off by cooking 50 plates of momos, a day and in no time, it became 200- 250 plates. The full plate comprises of 10 momos and half plate comprises of 5 momos. Kashyap believes that his business thrived because of the location of the shop where the residents in the neighbourhood have a ‘platter of cultures’ to taste from.
Shifu momo’s has introduced a lot of varieties of momos which includes the Fried momos, Manchurian momos, Schezwan momos, Chowmein momos etc. These varieties have attracted the people irrespective of their age and each of them has their own favourites. “When the youngsters loves fried momos, the middle aged ususally goes for steamed ones,” he says.
“It has been six years since the Shifu momo’s has been introduced and the people who visits the shop are regular customers,” Kashyap observes. The ‘Shifu momo’s’ also serves iced tea which is cheaper when compared to other shops.
The uniqueness of Shifu momo’s lies in the fact they use their own combination mixtures for the fillings. Kashyap believes through food many hearts can be won.
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