For me eating is a way of experiencing culture. There is no language barrier. A passport is not required. You can forgo jet lag in place of the after dinner nap, and a currency exchange is simply what happens at the end of the meal. At Papa Curry, you get to peer into Japanese culture in what may seem like a sensory overload.
Just before arriving you will probably think “did we take a wrong turn?” This means you’re on the right path. Papa Curry is surrounded by a little neighborhood, in what seems like someone’s driveway. An unassuming metal sided room is where you’ll be eating. The Neon Asahi sign should act like your North Star.
The dining room is closer to the snug end of the spectrum than the cozy end. There are no tables, but rather a “U” style bench seating with your host in the middle. Two large TV’s are positioned in the corners, probably playing some recent, but not too recent blockbuster – it was “Dunkirk” last I ate there. You sit on chairs who’s back is a lumbar hating three inches, but there is a cushion. Nearly every square foot of available real estate is used for the exoneration of differing anime characters. A mixed bag of vague English pop songs and even more vague (to my ear that is) Japanese ones play through the meal.
The level of service and attention to detail is top notch here. You are greeted by the sound of “Irasshaimase” and are quickly informed where you’ll be sitting. A glass of fruit water and wicker basket with the only utensil you’ll be needing, a spoon, is presented before you have time to decipher the overhead menu. The pitcher for said fruit water is kept nearby in case you want to refill your drink, but the staff will always beat you to it.
This same level of care is put towards what you’ll be eating and not just where you’ll be eating. As the name suggest this is a curry restaurant. While they offer a good selection of different fillings and toppings, there is only one type of curry. It is a deep brown goop of deliciousness. The meat is tender and prepared perfectly. The fired veggies that accompany your meal stay crunchy even after commingling with the sauce, and are a welcome textural contrast. They even take the time to fry your egg in a ring to make for an esthetically pleasing perfect circle. Vegetarian options available as well.
The owners were very nice and I enjoyed the conversation I had with them. They seem like the type of people that put in a good deal of hard work and are proud of what they make. The Polaroids of themselves and their customers happily eating only reinforced this further. I’m happy they’re doing what they’re doing.
A barebones curry rice will run you 90 baht, and the most expensive version will set you back 220.
Open: 11:30-14:00, 17:30-21:00 Tuesday-Friday
The Good Stuff Chiang Mai