Full of flavor, vibrant, lively, and bursting with antioxidants — it’s easy to see why curry has taken hold across the globe. With nearly every continent, and dozens of countries spanning each, boasting their own iconic curry dishes, we thought it apropos to highlight curry around the world and round up eight of our favorites. You can even find these colorful concoctions right here in the States.
The Country: India (specifically, Western India)
The Curry: Vindaloo. Hailing from the region of Konkan Goa, vindaloo is derived from a Portuguese pork dish marinated in wine and garlic. In India, the wine is swapped for palm vinegar, the pork for chicken or lamb, and red chile peppers, potatoes, and warming spices like cinnamon, clove, and cardamom are added to make an addictively spicy curry.
Find It Here: Chef Nilesh Singhvi serves up an unabashedly authentic rendition of lamb vindaloo at the legendary Bombay Club in Washington, D.C. — it’s marinated in aged vinegar with all the right spices.
Make a reservation at Bombay Club.
The Country: Malaysia
The Curry: Rendang. With a heavy Indian influence, Malaysian curries are typically made with curry powders chock full of turmeric, coconut milk, shallots, ginger, shrimp paste, chili peppers, garlic, and tamarind. The dried meat version, known as Rendang, is rich in coconut milk and often served during celebratory events, like weddings.
Find It Here: In true Malaysian form, chef-owner Salil Mehtaat of Laut in Manhattan (one of the first Malaysian restaurants to receive a Michelin Star) simmers your choice of beef, shrimp, or chicken until completely dry with grated coconut, exotic lemongrass, and lime leaves, adorning his rendang with decadent coconut milk.
Make a reservation at Laut.
The Country: India (specifically, North India)
The Curry: Punjabi Curry. Like Thailand, India is home to many varieties of curry, differing in flavor and spice level tremendously from home to home. Americans are likely most familiar with butter chicken, one of many Punjabi curries known for their use of masala (a blend of ginger, garlic, onions, and tomatoes) with ghee and mustard oil.
Find It Here: At Marigold Maison in Phoenix, you can find a Punjabi curry made with tender goat and sautéed with vibrant spices, such as cumin, cardamom, coriander, and garam masala.
Make a reservation at Marigold Maison.
The Country: Japan
The Curry: Katsu Curry. Though Japan eschewed outside culinary influence for many years, curry found its way into the country’s cuisine — here it’s made with onions, carrots, potatoes, and a curry-powder-based roux and often served over rice or noodles or topped with a fried pork cutlet (called tonkatsu), like in the case of Katsu Curry.
Find It Here: For a true taste of Japanese Kastu Curry, head to Zentan in Washington, D.C., where chef Yo Matsuzaki crusts tender pork jowl in panko before deep frying it and serving with housemade curry sauce and a soft-boiled egg.
Make a reservation at Zentan.
The Country: Jamaica
The Curry: Curry Goat. Indian indentured servants brought their beloved curry with them when they came to the West Indies. But unlike typical East Indian masala blends, Jamaican curries rely on pimento and pass on Indian spices like cardamom, star anise, and mace.
Find It Here: One of the country’s top Jamaican restaurants, Miss Lily’s in New York serves up a bona fide Jamaican curry goat stew, made with slow-cooked goat, a turmeric-pimento-laced curry sauce, peas, and potatoes, dished over jasmine rice and served alongside grilled roti bread.
Make a reservation at Miss Lily’s.