Coconut milk and a paste of fresh and dry herbs are key to the curries of Thailand, which have an entirely different flavor profile from the curries of India. Here are some of Long Island's better Thai curries, served at restaurants both new and long-standing.
KRUNG TEP THAI BISTRO, 23 S. Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-498-9889, krungtepthaibistro.com
At this little Great Neck newcomer, the red curry with shrimp have both fire and subtlety. Even better is a resonant green curry, available with fish fillets, which go well with its eggplant-studded sauce. ($12-$15)
RA-KANG THAI CUISINE, 895 W. Beech St., Long Beach, 516-442-1313, rakanglongbeach.com
The shrimp red curry at this year-old restaurant features plump shellfish in a vegetable-studded sauce that presents a lovely layering of flavors. A knockout Penang curry is ordered with vegetables, which are beautifully cut and cooked. ($11.95-$18.95)
PHAYATHAI RESTAURANT, 735 Hawkins Ave., Lake Ronkonkoma, 631-981-0303, phayathai-li.net
This unassuming strip-mall standby serves a red curry with chicken that can be as spicy as you like. Penang shrimp curry is another firecracker. ($10.95-$15.95)
ASIA TASTE, 581-583 Smithtown Bypass (Rte. 347), Hauppauge, 631-360-000
Curries are a forte at this new Thai-Japanese spot. Whether it's the eggplant-laced green curry with shrimp, a not-too-sweet pineapple shrimp curry or a basil and coriander-infused Penang curry with chicken, flavors are nuanced, unfolding gradually on the palate.