As we celebrate the dishes everyone should fly to try, we’re also highlighting homegrown versions that you can order in a city near you. First up is curry. Curries can be found all over the world, most notably in Asian countries. Whether it’s a wintery day and we want warmth in a bowl or a scorcher of a day and we want to fight fire with fire, we’re all about curry any time of year. If you can’t travel to sample the lauded coconut and turmeric curry of blue swimmer crab with calamansi lime at Nahm in Bangkok, try one of these closer-to-home top curry dishes. And be sure to enter our #WillFlyForFood contest for a chance to win a trip for two to Mexico City.
The Gage, Chicago, Illinois
How does a carnivore create a vegetarian masterpiece? Executive chef Chris Gawronski says, “As someone who identifies as a carnivore, I often have a hard time enjoying vegetarian dishes because they can lack depth. While at dinner with my father at a Thai restaurant years ago, I had Thai Coconut Curry for the first time and loved it for its complex flavor. I thought it was a perfect vegetarian dish to include on The Gage menu.” His version is crafted from basmati rice, basil, and roasted seasonal vegetables – and it’s full of flavor. Make a reservation at The Gage.
Zentan, Washington, D.C.
You can’t have a listicle of curries without having a Japanese curry on it – especially this iteration from executive chef Yo Matsuzaki. Chef Yo highlights panko-crusted pork jowl in his Ton Toro Katsu Curry, which features a sauce of housemade Japanese curry with a soft boiled egg. Make a reservation at Zentan.
Chiya Chai Café, Chicago, Illinois
Veggie lovers rejoice! The Shrestha brothers have created a vegetable jalfrezi with sautéed peppers, spiced cauliflower and green beans, and spices. It’s finished with a bit of lime, a dash of onion, and a spoon full of brown basmati rice. You don’t want to miss this staple dish on Chiya Chai’s Nepalese and Indian-inspired menu. Make a reservation at Chiya Chai Café.
Departure Restaurant + Lounge, Denver, Colorado
Hit up Vietnam by way of Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood at Departures. Chef Gregory Gourdet, a Top Chef finalist, has created a Vietnamese duck curry. His riff is built with brined duck breast, fresh ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, and red chili. You’ll be grateful for the accompanying baguette to help soak up all the yum. Make a reservation at Departure Restaurant + Lounge.
Aviary, Portland, Oregon
At Aviary, executive chef Sarah Pliner serves charred octopus with molten ricotta pudding, broccoli raab – and a red curry jus. The preparation echoes Plinr’s approach to everything on her menu — clean and minimal with an incredible complexity of flavors. While not traditional, this dish is bold and unique – just what we’ve come to expect from a meal at this PDX fave. Make a reservation at Aviary.
Arun’s Thai Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois
The Massaman beef green curry at the Thai fine-dining restaurant that is Arun’s is made to please your palate – and your Instagram following. Part of the chef’s menu from chef Arun Sampanthavivat, the curry arrives flourished with hand-carved vegetable flames and leaves. The curry is bright and beautiful. Make a reservation at Arun’s Thai Restaurant.
Summer House Santa Monica, North Bethesda, Maryland
Chef Jeff Mahin adds a hearty, fresh and spicy vegan, gluten-free option to his California-inspired menu with the quinoa & forbidden black rice bowl that’s crafted with spicy green curry, roasted veggies, Thai herbs, and lime. Make a reservation at Summer House Santa Monica.
Coco Asian Bistro, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Seared tuna is the star of Coco’s signature green curry sauce from chef Mike Ponluang. Other flourishes include sesame seends, edamame, fried banana, and seaweed diced mango. Make a reservation at Coco Asian Bistro.
Momotaro, Chicago, Illinois
Oh my udon. The curry udon at Momotaro is a bowl of goodness built around heritage pork curry and featuring futo udon. This is steamy feel-good food at its finest – guaranteed to perk you up even if you’re feeling less than fine. Make a reservation at Momotaro.