Thai Curry Domination: Exploring the Five Acclaimed Thai Curries

When it comes to cuisine, Thailand consistently emerges as a top contender

The online food guide TasteAtlas has published another interesting list titled “Best Curry in the World”. Announced earlier this year, they compiled a list of 39 curry varieties, ranging from the least favoured to the most beloved, with Phanaeng curry claiming the top spot as the ultimate favourite. Not only did a Thai curry take the top spot, but five Thai curries have made it in the top ten. To celebrate, Koktail would like to take a moment to appreciate the flavours of the culinary curry heritage of Thailand.

Phanaeng Curry

Panaeng Curry is a dish that stands out for its rich and creamy flavour. The heart lies in the Panaeng curry paste, a blend of red chilli peppers, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and aromatic spices. It is a variation of the traditional Thai red curry but has a thicker consistency and a more intense taste. The paste is simmered with coconut milk until it thickens, creating a velvety sauce. Usually made with chicken or beef, Panaeng Curry is served hot with jasmine rice and often garnished with kaffir lime leaves or Thai basil. Deservedly the dish ranked the number one curry in the world according to TasteAtlas this year.

Khao Soi

Ranked number two on TasteAtlas, Khao Soi is a delicious Northern Thai noodle soup that has gained popularity within Thailand and internationally. The flavourful dish features creamy and spicy elements, making it a favourite among Thai food enthusiasts. The curry is made from a base of coconut milk and a blend of curry spices, which often includes turmeric, coriander, cardamom, and is served in a bowl with flat, crispy egg noodles. Traditionally, Khao Soi is prepared with tender pieces of chicken or beef, though it can also be enjoyed with other proteins or as a vegetarian option. Known for its bold and aromatic taste, the creaminess of coconut milk complements the spices and lime. The beloved dish can be found in both street food stalls or also in more formal restaurant settings.

Green Curry

Coming in number seven on the TasteAtlas list, Green Curry is another popular dish with rich flavours. As one of the spicier curries in Thai cuisine, it is known for its green colour and the base is made from a paste consisting of fresh green chilli peppers, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, and various aromatic herbs and spices. This paste is pounded into a smooth consistency and the coconut milk again adds a creaminess texture to the curry. Vegetables like Thai eggplant, bamboo shoots, and sweet basil, are commonly added along with chicken, beef, or seafood, vegetarian or vegan options with tofu are also popular. The curry is loved my many because of its unique combination of spicy, creamy, and herbal notes which embodies the ethos of Thai cooking.

Massaman Curry

Following the footsteps of Green Curry, Massaman ranked number eight. This mouthwatering Thai curry stands out not only for its complex flavours, but also its unique combination of influences from various cultures. Often considered one of the milder options among Thai curries, this makes a great choice for those who prefer a less spicy yet tasteful dish. The heart of Massaman Curry lies in its fragrant and aromatic paste, which is a fusion of Thai and Indian culinary traditions. The curry is blended with red chilli peppers, shallots, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, coriander seeds, cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon, among other spices. This distinctive mix gives Massaman Curry its warm, slightly sweet, and nutty flavour. Simmered with coconut milk, the dish features meat such as beef or chicken as well as chunks of potatoes adding a home-cooked element. Sometimes, other vegetables like onions, carrots, or peanuts are added. Alltogether Massaman Curry offers a delightful combination of sweet, savoury and nutty notes, creating a comforting meal.

Thai Red Curry

While Thai Red Curry landed number ten on TasteAtlas, the dish has a special place in the hearts of locals as it illustrates the essence of Thai cuisine. Renowned for its vibrant red colour and spicy flavour, it is made with red curry paste, a blend of red chilli peppers, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, galangal, coriander roots, and other aromatic spices. This paste is the foundation of the curry's intense flavour. Cooked with creamy coconut milk, Thai Red Curry is often prepared with chicken, beef, shrimp, or a mix of vegetables for vegetarian or vegan options. To make it  look even more appealing, colourful vegetables such as bell peppers and Thai basil leaves are also added to the iconic dish. 

So, what’s your favourite Thai curry?