BANGKOK: Thailand’s phanaeng curry has been ranked the best curry in the world, according to online guide TasteAtlas.
TasteAtlas, which focuses on food and features reviews as well as recommendations from culinary professionals and critics around the world, updated on Mar 14 a list of 39 curry varieties which it ranked from “the worst to the best”.
Phanaeng curry, which received a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating, is characterised by its thick texture and salty-sweet peanut flavour. The ratings are decided by the site’s users.
According to TasteAtlas, the dish comprises meat that is stewed with dried chillis, kaffir lime leaves, coconut milk, cilantro, cumin, garlic, lemongrass, shallots, and peanuts. It is typically cooked with beef, chicken, or duck, and traditionally does not include any vegetables.
The name of the dish is derived from the word “panang”, meaning cross. It refers to the ancient way of preparing chicken with its legs crossed and set in an upright position.
Coming in second and third place on the list with a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars are kare, or Japanese-style curry, and khao soi originating from Thailand.
Kare, compared to Indian curries, is less spicy, sweeter, darker, and usually thicker due to the addition of flour or roux. The most popular variety of kare is kare raisu (curry over rice) which has also been ranked sixth on TasteAtlas’ list.
Kare raisu is usually served with fukujinzuke pickles or Japanese scallions on the side.
Other main versions of kare in Japan include kare udon (curry over noodles) and kare-pan (a pastry filled with curry).
Meanwhile, khao soi, a signature dish of Northern Thailand, is described as a curried noodle with a slightly spicy broth, combining coconut milk and red curry paste as the base of the dish. It is served with flat egg noodles and a choice of meat - usually chicken, beef or pork - and is topped with a handful of crisp fried noodles and chopped cilantro.
Khao soi is commonly served alongside a variety of condiments such as fresh lime, pickled cabbage, shallots, and chillis.
Other dishes rounding out the top five curries in TasteAtlas’ list include India’s shahi paneer and butter chicken in the fourth and fifth spot respectively.
Originating from India's Moghul cuisine, shahi paneer is a cheese curry that is prepared with paneer cheese, onions, almond paste, as well as a rich, spicy tomato-cream sauce.
According to TasteAtlas, the dish is typically accompanied by Indian breads such as naan, roti, or puri.
On the other hand, the famous Indian butter chicken is a combination of roasted meat, plenty of spices, and a rich gravy made with cream, tomatoes and butter. It is usually eaten with naan bread and garnished with even more butter, coriander, or green chillis.
Meanwhile, the Singapore fish head curry dish took the 38th spot on TasteAtlas’ list with a ranking of 3.6 out of 5 stars. It is a Singaporean specialty dish comprising fish heads, coconut cream, tomatoes, and an array of seasonings such as curry leaves, garlic, chilli, coriander, cumin, turmeric, pepper, and tamarind.
Today, it is served with bread or rice on the side, and one pot of fish head curry can easily feed a few people.
Other curries that joined the list include Japanese katsu kare (curry over breaded pork or chicken) (14th), India’s saag paneer (cheese and mixed vegetable curry) (18th) and Burmese chicken curry (39th).