Hordes descended on the narrow lane of the central market in Lajpat Nagar, where in 1992, Dolma Tseringa started the ball rolling for what would, in 25 years, become one of the most popular, and more recently, the most contested street food in Delhi.
A momo-eating competition organised by Delhi Food Walks Saturday — an organisation committed to the promotion of street food in the capital — has come at a time when the Tibetan dish is in need of support.
A campaign spearheaded by Jammu and Kashmir BJP legislator Ramesh Arora seeks to ban the dish due to the use of ajinomoto in the filling. The flavour enhancer, Arora insists, is carcinogenic. “I have been using ajinomoto in my momos for years now. No one has ever complained against the food. I have customers who are coming to me for years,” said Tseringa.
Many participants of the competition were regular customers. “Why do they care so much about what we eat? Momos are very popular and it would be very disheartening if this is banned,” said Kunal Kohli, a participant.
Two hours into the competition, the winner, Ayush Thaosen, who finished his plate of eight momos, walked away with the title “Momos King”.