Nomad Momo
Food & Drink

Nomad Momo Offers A Taste of Tibet

Dumplings from the Himalayas—with a side of serious heat

After finding his way to Santa Cruz from Tibet, Rabgee started Nomad Momo earlier this year. PHOTO: LAUREN HEPLER

Lots of food trucks throw around the word “authentic,” but when Nomad Momo rolls up with Tibetan prayer flags in the window, the one-man operation serving golf ball-sized dumplings filled with beef, chicken or veggies packed with fresh herbs is the real deal.

He goes by one name only, Rabgee, and moved to Santa Cruz in 2011 after stints in New York and India (since there isn’t a Tibetan grocery store nearby, he still uses Indian spices in his addictive, face-sweat-inducing hot sauce). Rabgee has brought his momos all over Santa Cruz County since he started up three months ago, to locations like Land of Medicine Buddha, Elkhorn Slough Brewing, Steel Bonnet Brewing, and Beer Mule.

What is a momo?

RABGEE: A momo is basically a dumpling. In Asia, every country has a different style or flavor of dumpling. Here no one served Tibetan dumplings.

How did you learn to cook?

Oh my god, I was a little kid. In Tibet we lived in the little village, you know, and your favorite food was a dumpling. Always your parents have you make the dumplings, so all little kids know how to cook.

Did you work in food before you started the truck?

Yeah, I worked at Whole Foods. I still work at Whole Foods now. It’s crazy busy.

How fast can you make a momo?

If you see it, it’s really, really fast. We make our own dough, everything by hand. We just buy flour, add water, make dough. I thought I would buy a machine, but I’m faster than the machine. Seriously, it took forever to roll. You gotta get the shape right, so that takes a little bit of time.

You serve at a lot of breweries. What beer pairs best with momos?

Any kind of beer. My food is kind of light. I thought I was gonna pan fry or deep fry, but everybody likes steamed. Especially if you eat veggie. In Santa Cruz, it’s a lot of veggie and chicken. In Watsonville, a lot of beef.

Instagram @nomad_momo

Managing Editor at |

Lauren Hepler is the managing editor of Good Times and a reporter covering cities, jobs and housing—plus the occasional sports or agriculture story required of all Ohio natives. She has contributed to the New York Times, the Guardian, the BBC and Slate. Lauren was previously on staff at the Silicon Valley Business Journal and is a graduate of UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Ronnell

    August 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    That’s because momos have a very short shelf life and need to be eaten very quickly. he was probably just trying to maintain quality standards. Be stoked, you didn’t get cold momos!

  2. Curious George

    August 6, 2019 at 10:28 am

    Are the dumplings Wheat or Rice or ….?

  3. Still Hungry

    May 31, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Needs Customer Service help: Came across Nomad Momo today on the West Side, Looked great, I ordered the Chicken version and paid, and he told me no worries 4 minute wait, about 10 minutes in, it still was not ready. I said Im just going to duck into New Leaf, he said no worries, a bit longer. When I returned 5 minutes later he had given my food away to another customer, and told me to wait again, I had to be somewhere to be, I left unhappy without food, let him keep the money.

  4. Risa

    May 24, 2019 at 7:48 am

    Where and when can we find the truck in the Santa Cruz/Aptos area?

    • Lauren Hepler

      May 24, 2019 at 10:16 am

      They usually post this info on social media: Instagram account is @nomad_momo or search NomadMomo on Facebook

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