When talking about continents with the highest density of delicious food per capita, Asia is often the first one that comes to mind. On almost every street corner, in just about every country throughout Asia, you’ll find mouthwatering delicacies that will tickle your taste buds and ignite your senses. But when it comes to intense flavors, there is one type of dish that will always stand out above the rest — curry.
What makes Asian curries so fascinating is how each region has used its own local ingredients to come up with flavors that are as unique as they are delicious. Even within similar ethnic groups, you’ll find countless variations that have been influenced by cultural, religious, agricultural or economic factors.
In this blog post, we pick our favorite curries that you should try when traveling through Asia.
Dal Bhat – Nepal
Whether you’re in a remote village in the mountains or in downtown Kathmandu, you’ll find Dal Bhat on just about every menu in Nepal. The Nepali eat it two or three times a day, nearly every day. It is also known as Dal Bhat Tarkari or just Tarkari. Nepalese Dal Bhat consists of white rice (bhat) and lentils (dal) and is typically accompanied by a vegetable curry (tarkari), vegetables (pickles) and greens (sak). It is normally eaten with chapatti or papadums.
If you want to know learn how to cook authentic Dal Baht then check out this cooking class at Rekha’s home in Pokhara.
Where to eat the best Dal Baht in Kathmandu: One of our favorite places to eat Dal Bhat in Kathmandu is The Village Cafe. It’s not only delicious but a great local experience!
Address – The Village Cafe, Jhamsikhel Marga, Lalitpur
Butter Chicken – India
If you eat meat, then butter chicken will probably be one of the Indian curries that you’ll come to know and love. When I first did my internship in India, my Indian bosses’ favorite dish was the butter chicken, which now makes me nostalgic for a time when butter chicken for lunch was the norm!
Butter chicken comes in an aromatic and creamy gravy that is packed with flavor. It is best accompanied by a side of rice or chapatti.
Where to eat the best Butter Chicken in Mumbai: A local institution in Mumbai that is renowned for its tasty butter chicken is Zaffran.
Address – Zaffran, B, Sitaram Building, DN Road, Crawford Market, Mumbai CST Area, Mumbai
Palak Paneer – India
The best palak paneer I have ever eaten was in a small hotel on one of Delhi’s most famous streets. Palak Paneer is a popular North Indian curry made of spinach and soft paneer. This delectable curry is cooked with shallow fried paneer cubes in a healthy spinach gravy.
If you’re looking for a great way to experience Delhi the local way, while also trying delicious local dishes like palak paneer along the way, join Anubhav as he takes you to his favorite local Indian eateries in Delhi.
Where to eat the best Palak Paneer in Delhi: Kadimis in Delhi is known for their incredible local dishes and delicious Palak Paneer.
Address – Kadimis, 4 Pocket, New Delhi.
Dal Makhani – India
Dal Makhani, which originated from the Punjab region of India and Pakistan is one of the region’s most popular lentil dishes. Richly spiced lentils are simmered for hours in a spicy tomato sauce and topped off with a splash of cream.
Where to eat the best Dal Makhani in Delhi: The Phonebooth Cafe serves mouthwatering Dal Makhani. Their Dal Makhani is creamy, with a velvety texture and is simply delicious! Also, the Great Kabab Factory offers delicious Dal Makhani.
Address – The Phonebooth Cafe, Hudson Lane G14b, New Delhi
Great Kebab Factory, Lobby Level Radisson Blu Plaza National Highway 8 Mahipalpur Village, New Delhi.
Parripu (Dhal Curry) – Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan cuisine shares a lot of similarities with the cuisine of South Indian, with rice and curry being the main staples.
But the local Sri Lankan parripu is a delicious variant. Parripu is a dhal that is often made with red lentils and cooked in a tantalizing blend of local spices, with a few added spoonfuls of coconut milk to create this rich and creamy delicacy.
Where to eat the best Parripu in Colombo: Brindley is a curious foodie who loves to take travelers to his favorite local places in Colombo. If you would like to taste the best Parripu in Colombo, then join him on an evening food walk.
Thai Green Curry – Thailand
When it comes to Asian curries, the Thai Green Curry is a timeless classic. While we’ve become so accustomed to seeing it on menus around the world, it is still one of the most delicious curries that Thailand has to offer. This curry contains an epic combination of herbs, spices, and flavors that never fail to disappoint whether you order it in Chiang Mai or Amsterdam! The base flavors, in addition to the coconut milk and chilis, includes fresh cilantro, basil, fresh green curry paste, and fish sauce.
Where to eat the best Green Curry in Chiang Mai: Woo Cafe & Art Gallery is our favorite all-around green curry in Chiang Mai. But if you’re vegan, make sure to check out the Vegan Green Curry at Anchan.
Address – Woo Cafe & Art Gallery, 80 Charoenrat Road, Muang Chiang Mai
Anchan, Nimmanahaeminda Rd, Muang Chiang Mai
Panang Curry – Thailand
Panang Curry is a salty and sweet curry, that has a nice nutty peanut flavor to it. This legendary curry uses a rich blend of galangal, lemongrass, chili peppers, coriander seeds, coconut milk, fish sauce, and peanuts to create its trademark taste.
Where to eat the best Panang Curry in Bangkok: The best Panang curry in Bangkok, as rated by local Thai foodies, is Jae Kop Khao Kaeng Pak Tai Restaurant (เจ้กบ อาหารปักษ์ใต้).
Address – Jae Kop Khao Kaeng Pak Tai Restaurant, Bang Mot, Chom Thong, Bangkok
Rendang Curry – Indonesia
Rendang is an Indonesian spicy red meat dish that is very popular with locals all throughout the country. The sauce in this curry is simmered down to a minimum, making it a “dry” curry.
Rendang is rich in spices and is made of a combination of meat, coconut milk, and a paste of mixed ground spices which includes ginger, galangal, turmeric leaves, lemongrass garlic, and other aromatic spices.
If you would like to learn how to make Rendang Curry for yourself, Wayan is the guy to teach you!
Where to eat the best Rendang Curry: One of the best Rendang Curries I’ve ever eaten in my life was at Waroeng Bernadette in Ubud.
Address – Waroeng Bernadette ,Jl. Gautama, Banjar Padang Tegal, Ubud, Indonesia
Amok – Cambodia
You can’t leave Cambodia without trying one it’s most famous local dishes, the fish amok. It is a creamy coconut fish curry – which is traditionally steamed and served in a banana leaf.
This fish curry combines silky coconut cream, galangal, lemongrass and a diverse variety of leaves and staple ingredients. Amok is also popular in Thailand and Laos.
Where to eat the best Amok in Phnom Penh: Our friends from The Culture Trip have listed their favorite Amok restaurants in Phnom Penh.