Massaman curry at Sivalai (Part 1 of 3 - the most delicious food in Portland)

Yelp reviewers glowingly praise Sivalai Thai’s Massaman curry so we will begin our adventure with a great start.

Restaurant website:


Many said that Massaman (also called Mus-sa-mun) is THE king of curries.  It combines spicy, coconutty, sweet and savory into one happy dish.  It uses special curry paste called nam phrik kaeng massaman. The dish usually contains coconut milk, roasted peanuts or cashews, potatoes, bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon, star anise, palm sugar, fish sauce, chili and tamarind sauce. The dish is served with rice and sometimes with pickled ginger or "achat”, an accompaniment made with cucumber and chili peppers macerated in vinegar.

Before you RSVP, this event has special notes:

  1. -We need you to order Massaman curry as the main dish.  You could combine it with chicken, beef, pork, seafood, or tofu as the “meat”.   Feel free to have appetizer or dessert as well.
  2. -Warning: Massaman curry is quite spicy
  3. -At the end of our dinner, fill out a paper survey.



In 2011, CNN released World's 50 most delicious foods list. The top spot belongs to Massaman curry.  It actually beats Pho, Lasagna, Brownies, Donuts, Ice Cream, Peking duck, sushi, and chocolate.  Surprised?  Two questions immediately arise: first, how did Massaman curry top the culinary hierarchy? Second, why didn’t tiramisu and Crème brûlée belong to the list?


The purpose of this Foodies event is to answer the first question.


More importantly, I need to know where to bring any out-of-town guest to enjoy the best Massaman curry that Portland offers.


We will do a non-scientific and fun adventure through three Foodies events to judge the best of Massaman curry among three Thai restaurants.  They are not necessarily the best Thai restaurants, but the Thai restaurants that, we think, serve the best Massaman curry dish.  Those three restaurants came up through a scientific investigation (involving a spreadsheet, weighted average, and Yelp/Google).  Two of Portland’s top Thai restaurants: Nong's Khao Man Gai and Pok Pok do not serve Massaman curry so they are ineligible.


Again, this is mainly a fun survey.  As we all know, there is no such thing as Platonic dish (a notion that there was one way, a perfect way, to make a dish).   See Malcolm Gladwell talk on spaghetti sauce for more information.



The waiting list for this event is not automatic. If you are waitlisted, please check your email to claim any open spots. Openings are very common on the day before the event. If you have a spot on the event and your plans change, please update your RSVP as soon as you know!


PLEASE respect foodie etiquette policy.  In general:

1). If you haven't done so, please pay $5 membership fee online.

2). RSVP only if you intend to attend.

3). Change your RSVP at least a day ahead.

4). Be courteous of others by being on time.

5). Please bring cash, as it will be easier to pay our bill. If not added yet, please add 18% to 20% gratuity to your individual bill.


Members can RSVP starting Thursday, May 17, 2012 10:00pm


Join or login to comment.

  • Ronald K

    I sent the survey result to all participants yesterday.

    August 20, 2012

  • Ronald K

    Pretty good food. 3-star spicy=not spicy at all. Great company. The Server (Mao) gave us free appetizer,dessert,and drink. Good customer service.

    May 25, 2012

  • Ronald K

    It is possible that I will be 10 mins late. Traffic.

    May 24, 2012

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