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Curry and rice – two words that can turn a bad day into a good one. Basic, packed with flavour, and heart-warming of course, there’s little one wouldn’t do to get a bowl of good taste. And the weather is just perfect for it too. Moving away from the Indian flavours, Asian curries are truly loved in this city. And each Asian curry is a mystery in its own way. Most involve secret recipes, with an unknown blend of spices that is often hard to decode. It’s almost as if each curry comes with it’s own story. Well, here are a few of my favourite restaurants where you can find them:
The Fatty Bao does a slightly modern rendition of the lamb massaman, but it tastes just as good. What is new is the Nyonya seafood curry. This curry, which is sort of a conglomeration of Asian flavours, is spicy, tangy, and fragrant. Check it out. And did I mention the braised beef jungle curry. It doesn’t have coconut milk (in case you’re not a fan) and tastes just as good with sticky rice. Plus the kaffir lime, galanghal, and lemon grass lends such a wonderful fragrance.
On the Edge (at Barton Centre, MG Road) is not a bad choice for Masamman Curry. You can either pick the one with pumpkin, potato and haricot beans, or go for the chicken. This coconut-milk based curry is quite different from the usual Thai curries, because it needs spices such as cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, etc that Thai curries normally don’t have. In fact, the flavours are quite close to Indian curries. The dish is rich, but not too hot, and is a perfect meal for rainy evenings.
At Hanoi, the Vietnamese Lamb Gravy is good for those who like a bite in their curries, but for something milder the Vietnamese lemon grass curry is a good choice too. And for seafood lovers, try the tamarind crab gravy. Now the last one might make things a bit messy, but I wouldn’t care if the flavours were in place.
While we’re on Vietnam, check out the chicken curry here; it’s got potatoes, yam, bell peppers, and guess what – the dish is spiced with Madras curry powder.
Rim Naam’s Thai curries are comforting – and familiar. I wouldn’t say that the recipes are completely modified to suit an Indian palate, but rather that it can be tweaked to suit your preferences. Their Thai Green Curry, or the prawns in Red Curry, served with steamed rice are two of my all-time favourites here.
I wonder why people don’t talk about Republic of Noodles as much as they used to. Agreed that the flavours have often not been consistent, but they do make a good Javanese duck curry, and the Laotian chicken curry (which even has long beans and shitake mushrooms).
At Nasi and Mee, it’s Malaysian all the way. Of course it serves a few known Asian curries too. Try their beef Rendang for sure. However, if you prefer Thai food over Malay, the red curry here is decent. What this restaurant has also done is given the laksa a twist. The traditional soup can be now eaten as a curry – with steaming hot rice.
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Priyadarshini is an independent journalist from Bengaluru whose life pretty much revolves around food, good music, literature, and cinema. She’s worked with different publications over the past 10 years, and has written about travel, theatre, films, books, music, food and lots of food! She’s travelled wherever her feet and budget would allow, discovering cultures through local palates and social behaviour, and in an ideal world would probably resort to using food and music to resolve any dispute.