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National Curry Week: Holiday Inspiration

by Travelbag on 09 October 2019, 14:10PM

Curry spices

This week is the 21st annual National Curry Week. To mark this celebration of Britain’s favourite dish, we’ve rounded up the holiday destinations where you’ll find some of the very best curries in the world. Read on for some travel – and dinner – inspiration.

 

India

India is undoubtedly the country we most associate with curry. Whether you’re a fan of rogan josh, aloo gobi, chicken korma, jalfrazi, lamb bhuna, butter chicken (the list goes on!), Indian is the go-to cuisine for complex and richly-spiced food. But, fun fact: the word curry actually doesn’t exist in any of India’s many official languages. It’s a British word coined in the 1700s to describe stews flavoured with Indian spices. There’s ongoing debate about where the name curry comes from, but a popular theory is that it’s derived from the word ‘kari’, which means ‘sauce’ in the South Indian language of Tamil.

But, regardless of the name, the food is one of the best reasons to visit India. The country’s cuisine is a smorgasbord of delectable delights, which vary greatly from region to region. In colourful Rajasthan – home to the pink city of Jaipur, the blue city of Jodhpur and, of course, the majestic Taj Mahal – the food is influenced by the harsh climate. Fruit and vegetables are scarce so many dishes use legumes and pulses instead. Meanwhile, the Chettinad cuisine in Tamil Nadu is largely vegetarian, and some of the spiciest anywhere in the country. Over in coastal Kerala – famed for its glistening backwaters and tea-covered hills – most dishes are coconut-based. Nearly everything here comes with rice, and seafood is a specialty. And if you visit the golden beaches of Goa, you’ll discover food with a strong Portuguese influence. Pork and beef stews are both common, although fish is the dominant ingredient in most Goan curries.

Want to try making your own butter chicken? Here’s Gordon Ramsey’s recipe.

India

 

Thailand

This Southeast Asian tourist hotspot is an absolute foodie heaven. Relying heavily on local ingredients like chilli, lime, lemongrass and coconut, Thai curries are fresh and fragrant. And they often have quite the kick! The bustling streets of Bangkok and Chiang Mai are lined with food vendors hawking all kinds of treats, from noodles and curries to soups and salads. And if you want to try seafood in Thailand, you’ll find some of the best options in the seaside resort of Hua Hin or the fishing port of Krabi.

With so many gleaming temples, dense jungles and blissful beaches, Thailand offers plenty of ways to pass the time. But if you can find a spare moment between snorkelling and sight-seeing, why not try something different and take a cooking class? Spend some time with a local chef and learn how to make favourites such as Thai green curry, Thai red curry and tom yum. Or you just can attempt to recreate Jodie Whittaker’s massaman curry at home.

Thailand

 

Sri Lanka

It’s no wonder this island nation is currently one of the world’s hottest holiday destinations. Sitting in the Indian Ocean, just off the southern tip of India, it’s a land of seemingly endless tea plantations, ancient ruins, and unspoilt beaches. And it also serves up some truly fantastic food. Spicy yet light, Sri Lankan cooking is the result of hundreds of years of colonisation. International traders would bring their native foods and cooking styles, and today this has resulted in a cuisine that’s unique and diverse – and more inclusive of non-native ingredients than many others in the region. Curry in Sri Lanka is incredibly aromatic, and comes in an array in vivid colours. Unsurprisingly for an island, seafood features heavily in the country’s cooking, and fish curry is one of the most popular dishes.

When you’re not busy satisfying your appetite, make sure to check out Kandy’s sacred Buddhist sites; the fortified old city of Galle; and the National Museum in Colombo. Of course the highlight, though, is the sun-kissed stretches of golden sand that line the coast. 

Struggling to decide what to make for a mid-week supper? Give this Sri Lankan veggie curry a go.

 Sri Lanka

 

Malaysia

Malaysia’s a melting pot of Indian, Chinese, Malay and Western cultures. And this multiculturalism is very much reflected in the food. Popular dishes include nasi lemak, rending (made with beef, chicken or lamb), and curry mee – also known as curry laksa. But in addition to its many street stalls and restaurants, Malaysia has no shortage of attractions.

In its buzzing capital Kuala Lumpur steel-clad skyscrapers and air-conditioned megamalls sit side by side with colonial-era architecture and traditional markets selling locally-made handicrafts. In Penang you’ll find the charming UNESCO heritage city of George Town, famed for its striking 3D street murals, while the Cameron Highlands offers excellent hiking and tea-tasting opportunities. And if it’s beaches you’re after, Malaysia’s got more than a few of those too. Some of the very best are in Kota Kinabalu, Langkawi and on the resort island of Pangkor. 

Fancy cooking up a feast at home? This Malaysian chicken curry is bursting with flavour.

Malaysia

 

Japan

With the Rugby World Cup happening right now and the Olympics set to take place next summer, Japan is proving more popular than ever. And rightly so. It’s a truly unique destination, where ancient customs blend seamlessly with cutting-edge technology, and the landscape ranges from sprawling metropolises and rugged mountains to elegant gardens and tropical beaches. With so much going on, it’s a country that really packs a punch – and its food is no different.

The Japanese like to cook using fresh local ingredients, so their cuisine tends to be very seasonal. And it can vary tremendously, being either light and delicate or more hearty and robust. Sushi, ramen and tempura are some of the most widely-eaten foods, but curry is common too. Katsu – made with either chicken or pork – is the most popular curry dish, and while we typically think of eating curry with rice, the Japanese also enjoy curry udon (a type of thick noodle). 

Fancy chicken katsu curry for dinner? Check out this recipe.

Japan 

Have we whet your appetite and inspired you to go a foodie getaway? Take a look at our great holiday deals.

Or if you’re planning a big trip, find out how to spend 40 days in Southeast Asia.


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