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Indian Food in Southeast Asia

guanubian Nov 27, 2008 01:32 PM


As some of you already know, I'll be traveling in Phnom Penh, Saigon, Vientiane, Chiang Mai and Bangkok during December. I thought I might sacrifice a meal in search of authentic and delicious Indian food, given the proximity to that country. Does anyone know where I might get nearly native Indian food, say, in Bangkok, or any of the other cities I'll be visiting?


  1. s
    Simon Dec 11, 2008 09:12 PM

    i was very pleased w/ the quality of the average Indian place in BKK...but i came to BKK from NYC, where the quality of Indian food (in Manhattan at least) is extremely low...but while i was generally happy at the all of the places, none of them stand out as somewhere to go out of your way to try...

    i can't remember all the names of the places i used to order from on Food By Phone, by i'm pretty sure the Indian Hut that Curt mentioned was one of them (perhaps my favorite?)...i liked Rang Mahal too, the one time i tried it...

    i've also been to Le Spice, that el jefe recs in Chiang Mai...i agree: it's a solid place and has nice staff and a pleasant vibe...

    1 Reply
    1. re: Simon
      el jefe Dec 13, 2008 07:00 AM

      Simon, the bar was set equally low for me. I'm originally from Queens, NY where the Indian food used to be pretty good, but now is no better than Manhattan. The food at Le Spice is pretty ordinary, but the staff and atmosphere are worth a visit. Nazim in Luang Prabang is the only Indian restaurant that look forward to re-visiting.

    2. el jefe Nov 29, 2008 01:37 AM

      I can't help you with Bangkok, but I do spend several months a year in Chiang Mai where there are about a dozen Indian restaurants. The best of the bunch is Le Spice, near the Night Bazaar. It has a nice atmosphere and reasonable prices, but the food is ordinary.

      I think Nazim in Vientiane is better but I haven't been in a couple of years. Nazim has branches in several cities in Laos (and a couple of imitators also named Nazim). If you make it to Luang Prabang (hopefully you will as it's much nicer than Vientiane), the Nazim there is the best Indian restaurant I've found in Thailand or Laos and worth a meal if you need a night off from Thai/Lao food.

      8 Replies
      1. re: el jefe
        koknia Dec 4, 2008 04:11 PM

        I've always been underwhelmed by the average Indian joints in BKK, although I haven't tried more than 5 or 6. Many of them are catering to tourists so the bar is set pretty low.

        If you want to splurge, check out Rang Mahal at the Rembrandt Hotel. It's Sikh owned, like many of the bigger places along that stretch of Sukhumvit.
        To go a al carte is expensive, but the buffet is decent value. (I think Sunday lunch. Phone to check.) This is where BKK's wealthy Sikhs eat.


        For dhosa and southern veggie stuff, there used to be some places catering to South Indians on the sois running south off Surawong, west of Soi Naret. (Maybe Silom 22...). That was 15 years ago when I used to live in that hood, so I don't know if they are still there. Kind of a fun area to wander around in and explore just the same. Food was simple but very tasty and dead cheap.

        1. re: koknia
          klyeoh Dec 4, 2008 04:26 PM

          I was about to say that the only place in South-East Asia to get decent Indian food is Singapore, until koknia mentioned Rang Mahal at the Rembrandt. Yes, it's a great recommendation - a bit expensive by Bangkok standards, but is worth what you pay for it: great food, good service, nice views of the whole city from atop the high-rise Rembrandt hotel.

          1. re: klyeoh
            prasantrin Dec 4, 2008 06:15 PM

            So neither of you nor koknia cared for Dosa King? When I went it was really quite good (plus it was recommended by our Indian tailor and has a substantial Indian clientele, from what I saw).

            1. re: prasantrin
              klyeoh Dec 4, 2008 06:49 PM

              Sorry, yes, forgot about Dosa King. I have a soft spot for South Indian breakfasts (dosas, upumas, appams, etc) - and always looked for a good place, even when in Berkeley (SF) or Artesia (LA) or North Indian cities like Delhi/Mumbai. And yes, Dosa King is right up there with the rest of them.

              1. re: klyeoh
                prasantrin Dec 4, 2008 09:35 PM

                I've never tried the upumas or appams at DK. I never get to eat dosa anywhere else, so that's what we always get. Next time, I'll expand my horizons and try the appams. I've always liked the looks of those, but the dosa always call my name...

                1. re: prasantrin
                  M_Gomez Dec 5, 2008 12:26 AM

                  Oh my goodness, klyeoh, you must be an Indian food junkie - I just saw your recent thread on Madras New Woodlands in Singapore:


                  From your name/moniker, you appear to be Chinese-Singaporean - are you Indian-Singaporean?

              2. re: prasantrin
                koknia Dec 4, 2008 08:02 PM

                I like Dosa King as well. Nice service, very clean and tasty.
                I split my time between Hong Kong and Toronto. We have a massive south Indian population in Toronto so the dosa there is much better than what you get in BKK. It's one of my staple meals.

                1. re: koknia
                  prasantrin Dec 4, 2008 09:33 PM

                  Ah, so that's where all the south Indians went! In Winnipeg we have a predominantly Punjabi Indian population, so no dosas to be found. That's why we end up at DK whenever in BKK--because we want dosa!

        2. p
          prasantrin Nov 28, 2008 02:33 AM

          I found the Indian restaurants around Yaowarat to kind of suck, but it was several years ago that I ate there.

          Dosa King, however, is amazing! Some days the food is better than other days, but that's because each dish is made to order in a home-style way, and it's always good. They don't cook a big pot of anything and leave it on the stove all day (as far as I know), and there are no standard recipes--the cooks cook according to instinct. (that's what we were told, anyway) It's on Sukhumwit, somewhere around Asoke Station.

          1. Curt the Soi Hound Nov 27, 2008 02:04 PM

            Pahurat, at the west end of Yoaworat Road, is pretty much considered "Little India". It might be an area to check.

            I have heard that "Indian Hut", at the west end of Surawong, is good. I can't judge; neither my wife, or myself, do Indian.


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