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Massaman curry named world’s #1 food by CNN Travel

Neill Fronde




Massaman curry has once again topped CNN Travel’s list of the World’s 50 Best Foods, with 2 more Thai dishes gracing the list. CNN Travel first published its list of the best meals and snacks from around the world in 2011 and just updated it this month. Massaman curry – which the list described as spicy, coconutty, sweet, and savoury – once again ranked number 1, a distinction that the Tourism Authority of Thailand was quick to pounce on and tout to the world.

“TAT would like to remind all of you to stay safe until the COVID-19 situation improves, and prepare for the time when travel and tourism returns, and we can all embark on a culinary journey and explore Thainess through Thai dishes in unique destinations across Thailand.”

Thailand’s reputation as a foodie destination is only growing with this list being evidence that Thai cuisine competes not just as delicious street food, but up to and including 5-star dining experiences.

Thailand’s culinary pride is justified though, as massaman curry is joined by tom yum kung ranked 8th on the list and som tam squeezes in at number 46 on the top 50 list. Tom Yum Kung, was lauded for the variety of flavours, encompassing spicy, sour, sweet and salty, and for how a dish filled with shrimp, tomatoes, mushrooms, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass could be found inexpensively.

Som tam, Thailand’s famous papaya salad was praised while CNN listed off ingredients of grated green papaya, garlic, chillies, tamarind juice, lime juice, sugar cane paste, dried shrimp, tomatoes, peanuts, string beans and fish sauce.

Massaman curry beat out pizza for number 1 and managed to finish ahead of such global staples as hamburgers (#6), doughnuts (#14), lasagna (#23), Vietnamese pho (#28), fish ‘n’ chips (#33), and taco (somehow ranked at a lowly 43rd?!) for the top spot. CNN Travel called it the “king of curries” and said even home packets of massaman powder can turn anyone into a gourmet chef.

The top 10 was rounded out by (from number 2 to number 10) pizza, chocolate, sushi, Peking duck, hamburger, Penang assam laksa, tom yum kung, ice cream, and the African nation of Gabon’s chicken Muamba. Other notable entries include corn on the cob at #13, lobster at #17, shish kebab at #18, croissants at #21, Indian butter garlic crab at #23, Filipino Lechon pig at #27, Canadian maple syrup at #34, hummus at #36, and poutine at #44.

Snacks popcorn and potato crisps a bit surprisingly made the list (or chips as CNN called them) at number 50 and 48 respectively. But perhaps in a move to remind readers to take the list with a pinch of salt, no pun intended, ketchup sauce was somehow listed as the 39th most popular food in the world.

Full list can be found here. What do The Thaiger readers think?



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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    John Landy

    Friday, April 23, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    Mussulman curry for the win! It’s also my favourite Thai dish, being closer (orginating from) to the more rounded peanuty (kacang!) flavours of Malay Indian cooking I much prefer over the spiky pointy herbal-lemony tastes found in most Thai dishes…

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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