Sweet Potato Massaman Curry at Wat Tham Suea, Krabi

Sweet Potato Massaman Curry

at the Tiger Cave Temple, Krabi

On a recent trip to Krabi, a beautiful province in the south of Thailand (one of my favorite provinces in the entire country, as a matter of fact), I was in the mood for some delicious southern Thai food. One of my all-time favorite southern Thai dishes is massaman curry, a relatively mild curry made with chicken and potatoes. While visiting the famous Wat Tham Suea Temple in Krabi, I took a break at a small curry restaurant at the temple's market, and was excited to find this massaman curry dish made in a way that I had never seen before - with sweet potato!

Southern-Thai massaman curry with chicken and sweet potato
Southern-Thai massaman curry with chicken and sweet potato

The curry restaurant had several big pots of curries to choose from. Southern Thai food can be a little too spicy even for me, so I wanted to make sure that I ordered a dish that I knew would be mild. I asked for a big serving of my favorite curry, massaman.

I could also choose a few side dishes, and I selected some sweet Chinese sausage which I love in just about anything, and a fried egg to add some body to the dish.

Massaman Curry in Thailand
Massaman Curry in Thailand

Massaman curry is different from other types of Thai curries which descended from Indian dishes and tend to be very spicy. Massaman is a sweet and mild curry made with spices such as cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, bay leaf, coriander, mace, white pepper, and more. The dish was developed from a blend of spices carried by Portuguese and Dutch merchants from what is now Malaysian and Indonesia as well as a dish brought to the royal palace of Ayutthaya by the Persian merchant families which frequented the court.

The dish is typically made with chicken and would be halal if not for the sweet sausage that I added on the side (made from pork and therefore definitely haram). While the dish would normally be halal, I won't mark it as such on this blog to be safe.

Massaman curry is made with stewed chunks of potato, but this particular dish substituted sweet potato, which gave it a more rich and sweet flavor. The sweet potatoes and spices reminded me a little bit of Thanksgiving!

The curry was topped with peanuts and served over rice.

curry shop at Wat Tham Suea, Krabi, Thailand
curry shop at Wat Tham Suea, Krabi, Thailand

When you order at a shop like this, you just choose what you want and pay by dish. I ordered a curry, rice, and two sides, and only ended up paying 70 baht. Overall, it's an amazing price for a big serving of tasty food.

I also recommend ordering a cold glass of cha yen (Thai iced tea), especially if it's a hot day outside like it was when I was visiting. Very refreshing!

where to eat at Wat Tham Suea, Krabi, Thailand
where to eat at Wat Tham Suea, Krabi, Thailand

Rice + curry + Chinese sausage + fried egg 70 THB ($2.25)
Cha Yen (Thai iced tea) 20 THB ($0.60)

A curry shop in the market just outside of the gates at Wat Tham Suea (the Tiger Cave Temple) in Krabi, Thailand.

Travel Tips

While you are at the Tiger Cave Temple, don't miss the opportunity to climb the grueling 1,260 steps to reach the top of a mountain where the temple's most impressive shrines are located. It's super rewarding to reach the top, and the views across Krabi are unparalleled!

Be sure to bring plenty of water on the climb, and be aware that it's definitely not an easy walk to the top of the mountain. You won't regret the effort, though.

*Note: This is not an unethical "Tiger Temple" that you may have read about before. In fact, there are no tigers at this temple. It's just named after a cave where one of the temple's shrines is located.

the shrine at Wat Tham Seua, Krabi, Thailand

More delicious southern Thai food that you'll love