Tag Archives: Big Mac Index

The Mo Mo Index

A gourmet writes…

One of the great questions that has been boggling human kind for ages is of course “Where shall we have dinner tonight?”. Many institutions have attempted to make the answer to this question easier, MacDonald’s probably being the most famous. This institution has provided us global access to standardized food items such as its signature dish: the Big Mac. Many theories have been based on this food item, including the Big Mac Index.

The Big Mac Index is published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries. It “seeks to make exchange-rate theory a bit more digestible”. Wikipedia and The Economist can offer you a lot more info here and here.

As Nepal has not (yet?) been honoured by a visit of our favourite yellow clown, the Big Mac Index does not apply to this country. But fear not my friends, as I have come up with a solution! Inspired by the Big Mac Index, I proudly present to you: the MOMO INDEX!

The MoMo Index has a slightly different purpose than the Big Mac Index. It aims to give an indication of the cost of living / staying in a certain area by comparing prices of a plate of momo’s in different areas in Nepal. As a momo is a pretty standardized product (although we agree that quality differs…), it serves as an adequate replacement for the Big Mac in this index. We prefer to measure the prices of vegetable momo’s. If these are not available, buff momo’s will suffice as well.

How does it work? Easy. For example: a plate of vegetable momo’s at Gaia Restaurant in Thamel, Kathmandu costs NPR 120, whereas a plate of buff momo’s in Cosy Corner Restaurant in Chipledunga, Pokhara costs NPR 40. This would indicate that Thamel is about 3 times as expensive to eat than Chipledunga, which sounds realistic.

Of course, this index has its limits and flaws. But who cares? It’s not aimed at being scientifically correct. It is a fun experiment though, and imagine having momo price data from all over Nepal! What a great restaurant guide would that be able to evolve into?!

So why tell you all this? Because I need your help collecting the data! So, when you eat momo’s, be sure to write down the following:

  • Type of momo (veg / buff)
  • Price of one full plate in NPR
  • Name of restaurant
  • Area where restaurant is in
  • City / town where restaurant is in


  • Veg momo
  • NPR 120
  • Gaia Restaurant
  • Thamel
  • Kathmandu

Send this information (preferably in this simple format) to me whenever you wish at karel.nierop@gmail.com. I will process the data and present the results to you all in due time, ‘cause that’s what accompanying partners do.

Thank you very much in advance and keep on eating those momo’s!!

Karel Nierop