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At Bini's Kitchen, Momos Take a Star Turn

Ground turkey breast like you've never had before.

 

Within the hierarchy of American dumplingdom, the momo remains something of an underappreciated yeoman, unknown to large swaths of the gyoza-and xiao long bao–eating public. Here in the Bay Area, if anyone is primed to promote the dough-wrapped delicacy up the ranks, it’s Bini’s Kitchen chef Binita Pradhan. Her three-year-old Nepalese empire cranks out 30,000 momos a week from a financial district takeout window and, during basketball season, at Warriors home games in Oracle Arena. This month, Pradhan will open her first sit-down restaurant, a SoMa fast-casual spot where she will introduce San Franciscans to hard-to-find Newari dishes from her native Kathmandu. Still, the momos will likely remain the restaurant’s must-order dish. Back in Nepal, Pradhan says, the most traditional filling for Newari-style momos is water buffalo, which is hard to come by in the United States, although she does offer bison momos, which she says are almost, if not quite, the same. But the signature item at Bini’s is a turkey momo filled with exactly the right proportions of ground breast meat, water, and house-ground spices. Sheathed in a just-toothsome-enough wrapper and topped with a bright, spicy tomato-cilantro sauce, it might be the juiciest, most savory ground turkey I’ve ever tasted. 1001 Howard St. (near Mission St.); 1 Post Plz. (near Montgomery St.)

 

Originally published in the December issue of San Francisco 

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