The Strip-Mall Restaurant Serving Some of the Best Nepali Food in the Region

Mount Masala’s sizzling momo, beef masala and creamy korma will drive anyone to Voorhees.

mount masala vorhees

From left: Gigi Giri, owner of Mount Masala; a house-special masala beef dry being prepared over a fire in a wok. / Photography by Michael Persico

I love a place that’s unassuming. One you never see coming. There’s something to be said for anticipation, sure — for making plans and seeing them through. But the restaurants that just creep up and surprise you? That’s like finding gold on the street.

I didn’t plan on going to Voorhees. It was just one of those things that happened, but I’m happy my other plans fell through. Because if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t have found myself in the dining room at Mount Masala, sipping mango lassi and asking my server where this place has been all my life.

Voorhees, New Jersey. That’s where it’s been. On White Horse Pike, just down the street from the marijuana dispensary, around the corner from Boscov’s and the dying mall. Since 2017, it’s been right here, just across the bridge — a family-run Himalayan restaurant serving a huge menu of Chinese-influenced Indian, Tibetan and Nepali food to neighbors, regulars, and the occasional accidental wanderer like me.

Mount Masala

Sizzling momo at Mount Masala

Years ago, I worked in a hotel restaurant where the chef was obsessed with sizzle platters — those metal serving trays that schlocky Tex-Mex restaurants used for fajitas. He served everything on sizzle platters — steaks, salmon,­ this weird caramel apple dessert he invented just so he could have a dessert served sizzling. Dude would have served soup on a sizzle platter if he could have figured out how, but I haven’t seen one in the wild for years. Today’s version would be the tiny cast iron pan where the server warns you, “Hey, this is hot,” but then you touch it anyway, because you’re dumb.



Mount Masala
300 White Horse Road, Voorhees

CUISINE: Himalayan


Order This: Sizzling momo for sure, that excellent korma, and after that, just go nuts.

But at Mount Masala, the kitchen has brought back the old-fashioned sizzle platter for serving its sizzling momo — a house specialty and a big draw. Served six to an order, bathed in a brick-red chili sauce of varying intensity, they look like Chinese takeout dumplings: lovely crescent moons, hand-crimped along their top edges. But that sizzle platter — hot from the salamander, still smoking when it hits the table — caramelizes the bottoms of the momo and reduces the sauce so fast, it thickens almost to a gel that clings to the dumpling skins when you lift them out of the pan.

“Careful,” my server said. “Very hot.”

And then, as soon as he walked away, I touched it anyway. Because I’m dumb.

The shrimp snow balls were forgettable — heavy on the breading, fried too dark — but they came with a sharp vinegar dipping sauce that would have made old Reeboks taste good. A house-style beef masala comes dressed in a thick paste of cardamom and coriander, clove and cumin, red chili powder and chopped parsley and onion. There’s a cup of red gravy on the side, but it’s better dry. Good enough to eat with your fingers, like jerky (which I did). The chicken curry is not creamy, not thick, but sweet-hot and nearly the color and texture of a cornstarch-thickened New Mexican green chili sauce. You pour it over the basmati rice thinking there’s nothing to it, add the fat chunks of spice-rubbed chicken, and then it hits you like a sucker punch. There’s heat in it that builds over time. You have to watch yourself, or you can put away half a plate before you realize what you’ve done.

Mount Masala

Himalayan curry dry served over white rice with sauce on the side

There are 21 kinds of fried rice (with chicken, beef, shrimp, goat, different architectures of spice, different levels of heat) and 30 different noodle dishes that lean heavy on the Chinese influence, so there are crunchy noodles, skinny noodles, and more than a dozen different varieties of chow mein. The vegetarian options are vast. The laminated menu is the size of a placemat, double-sided. It goes on and on, but near the bottom, on the flip side, there’s a korma that’s one of the best I’ve had since coming East. Sweet and creamy and smooth, it doesn’t need to lean on nuts or raisins — just braised meat, yogurt, a hundred spices, thick slabs of onion and green pepper. The menu calls it “fusion,” but it’s nothing as clunky as that. Between the smoothness and the softness, the sweetness of it, it’s like a korma that took a different path in life and somehow became the nicest­ kid on the block.

Mount Masala

Enjoy your meal next to the greenery in Mount Masala’s dining room.

Mount Masala is the place you don’t see coming. You go once, sit in the spare, wide dining room, and it feels like you’ve discovered a secret. Go back, and it’ll begin to haunt you. You’ll smell green curry everywhere and hear momo sizzling in your dreams.

So in a town full of Indian restaurants and Chinese restaurants, am I telling you it’s worth a trip to Voorhees just to eat Nepali chow mein and fusion korma at a six-year-old Himalayan restaurant where the entrées top out at 18 bucks?

Yes. That’s exactly what I’m telling you.

And if you leave now, you might even beat the traffic.

3 Stars — Come from anywhere in Philly

Rating Key
0 stars: stay away
★: come if you have no other options
★★: come if you’re in the neighborhood
★★★: come from anywhere in Philly
★★★★: come from anywhere in America

Published as “A Suburban Secret” in the October 2023 issue of Philadelphia magazine.