Essential Eats: Massaman Chicken Curry at 55 Thai Kitchen in Golden Hill
If you love Thai food, chances are good that you have a go-to spot and a favorite dish (or three) that satisfies your cravings for the unique bouquet of sweet, sour, spicy, salty, and bitter flavors that Thai dishes so expertly deliver. My mission here isn’t to change your mind about where to scratch your itch for Thai food, but to encourage you to add a destination-worthy dish to your rotation.
That dish is the Massaman Chicken Curry from 55 Thai Kitchen in Golden Hill.
This massaman curry is a fragrant feast of herbs, aromatics, and warm spices like garlic, red chilies, lemongrass, ginger, star anise, cinnamon, and cloves, balanced by sweet and creamy blend of coconut milk and peanuts.
It’s outstanding for two reasons: the curry paste is made from scratch and the chicken is cooked in the curry, bones and all. Those two factors yield meat that is fork-tender and imbued with flavor—and silky gravy that’s thicker than most, thanks to the marrow in the chicken bones.
It’s the restaurant’s signature dish for a reason, and the eight dollar price tag is reason enough to give it a shot.
Aside from the Massaman curry, 55 Thai Kitchen offers the standard assortment of noodle and rice dishes.
The recently opened space downtown has far more seating than the original hole-in-the-wall location, tucked in the back of a convenience store in Golden Hill, but both have their charms.
If you’re looking to dine in, the downtown location is a better bet. If you’re picking up food to-go, I lean towards the Golden Hill location, which also stocks a selection of paletas that are a great dessert option after a spicy meal.
2601 Broadway, Golden Hill
1010 Broadway, Downtown
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11:30am-3pm and 4:30pm-10pm; Saturday, 12pm-3pm and 4:30-10pm; Sunday 4pm-10pm; Closed Mondays