After CNN named it the world’s best food in 2011, Massaman curry shot to international fame. However, those who are familiar with Thai food will know that it has long held a special place in the gourmand’s heart. Here’s where to find the best, most satisfying Massaman curry in Bangkok.
Even though it is considered a mild curry, Massaman is a rich dish. Combining elements from various countries and cuisines, it is a dish that holds a rich cultural history. It stands out for its use of cardamom, cinnamon, and potato, blending beautifully with ingredients very common in Thai cuisine, such as chili, peanuts, lemongrass, shallots, or shrimp paste.
Here in Bangkok, several restaurants pride themselves in serving up a fine Massaman curry. Made with chicken, beef, or lamb, here’s where to head when your next Massaman craving hits.
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Where to find the best Massaman curry in Bangkok
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Krua Aroy Aroy
Located on 3/1 Pan Road just opposite the Hindu temple, visiting Krua Aroy Aroy is an experience in itself. Beyond the sounds and scents on the bustling Silom corner, Krua Aroy Aroy is decorated with newspaper clippings and plenty of claims to fame on the walls. It is justified. The shophouse serves a well-known and well-loved Massaman curry with pork or chicken, and plenty of peanuts. While you’re here, definitely also try the other highlights: Khao Soi, Green Curry, and Kanom Jeen with a variety of curries.
Market Café by Khao
Khao is a Thai fine dining establishment that has rightfully earned its place as a refined spot for Thai cuisine. At Market Café by Khao, things are slightly more casual, with a menu that is nonetheless inspired. Try Chef Man’s Thai Massaman curry with lamb shank here, or go down the even more adventurous route and get the Massaman Lamb Chop Curry with Moringa for extra flair.
Granted, Haawm doesn’t have a permanent menu like the other spots on our list, but we couldn’t miss this 6-seat chef’s table restaurant in our round-up. When Haawm makes a Massaman curry, it is always a really, really good Massaman curry. Variations include tender braised smoked Wagyu beef, deep fried whole shallots, and roasted young coconut meat. There was also once a not-quite-Massaman-but-similar Thai-Javanese curry made with braised beef shank, golden raisins, som saa, and julienned Betel leaves. A real trippy experience for the taste buds every time.
Issaya Siamese Club
Another very popular Thai restaurant helmed by celebrity Chef Ian Kittichai, everybody needs to dine at Issaya Siamese Club at least once in their life. The Massaman curry here is made with Australian lamb shank that has been slow-cooked for ten hours. Tender, aromatic, and flavourful, it is spiced with a house-made curry paste for absolute indulgence.
Thai fine dining restaurant Royal Osha prides itself in its OSHA Massaman Lamb, which is worth ordering even just for the grand presentation alone. It is made with a generous portion of New Zealand lamb shank, which is cooked sous vide at a low temperature for 48 hours. Served on the bone with potatoes and crushed almonds, the Southern-style curry is definitely a must-try while you’re here.
The Michelin-starred Saneh Jaan is a must-visit for those seeking out traditional Thai cuisine with a modern touch in a fine dining setting. The Massaman curry here is made using fresh homemade Massaman curry paste and quality beef from Sun-kum-pang district. Don’t eat beef? At Saneh Jaan, there is also the option of chicken for the Massaman curry dish.
Blue Elephant Restaurant and Cooking School is a classic and timeless venue to visit. Chef Nooror’s signature Lamb Massaman Curry is actually inspired by a poem by King Rama II, and is made using Australian lamb, coconut milk, tamarind juice, palm sugar, sweet potatoes, roasted nuts, and a homemade Massaman paste. Massaman the way it was meant to be enjoyed, served in an old French colonial-style house setting.