Taste: In Search Of … Curries

Curry may have its roots in the Indian subcontinent, but it’s come to describe a wide variety of saucy dishes

Foodie-adored South Philly hole-in-the-wall Hardena kicks out some serious (and seriously cheap, at $5 per platter) Indonesian cuisine, including the traditional curry, beef rendang — succulent morsels of beef shoulder long-simmered in coconut milk with fragrant spices and a snappy hot sauce.

Don’t let the inclusion of crushed pineapple fool you. A Little Thai Kitchen’s “Special Curry,” mixed seafood in coconut milk with green beans, panang curry paste, lots of coriander, lemongrass and chilies, is much hotter than it is sweet, the pineapple merely providing a temporary and deceptive foil.

When we think of Japanese food, we think of sushi or teriyaki, but Fuji chef Matt Ito says that curry is one of the most popular lunch dishes in Japan. Here, the curry gravy is made from moderately spicy ground curry root, a roux base, beef stock and tamarind, and it’s served on white rice, with panko-crusted shrimp.