Sure, it’s been around forever, but 2014 is the year chicken curry finally hit its stride. In a sort of quiet culinary coup d’état, chicken curry mounted what can only be described as gastronomic guerrilla warfare, catapulting itself from boring Indian restaurant mainstay to a perpetual flavor-of-the-week. People are finally getting excited about chicken curry, and rightfully so.
Seemingly overnight, the modest “chef’s special” menu standby has transitioned to a standout dish at Indian restaurants across the country. Gone are the days when your sister Jane would be the only one to order chicken curry. “Where are we going for dinner? Indian food? Come on, I don’t want to go out for Indian food. Can’t we go somewhere else? What’s wrong with Luigi’s? Ugh, fine, I guess I’ll just get that chicken dish, what’s it called? Yeah, curry, chicken curry, I guess I’ll just get chicken curry.”
And it’s not just Indian restaurants riding the swollen wave of chicken curried popularity. The past year saw a variety of establishments cash in on the versatility and easily adaptive nature of one of America’s favorite ethnic meals. Select TGI Fridays offered limited time chicken curry entrées as part of their “Two For Twenty” value menu, and a rogue McDonald’s franchised out of Spokane, Washington bucked the corporate kitchen by unveiling an east-meets-west McCurried Chicken Sandwich on its limited “Flavors of the World” sandwich of the month menu.
Probably the most dramatic sign of chicken curry’s inevitable western crossover can be seen in the results of 2014 Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” consumer vote-in potato chip flavor competition. While the snack-eating majority ultimately decided to give the starring role to Kettle Cooked Wasabi Ginger, chicken curry came in third, which would have been unthinkable even five years ago. Just the idea that consumers would be willing to snack on curried flavored potato chips shows that chicken curry’s surge in popularity is much more than a passing trend.
I’m anxious to see how high chicken curry is going to climb in 2015. If I had money to invest, and there were some sort of a stock exchange where you could bet on foods, I’d without a doubt put all of my money on chicken curry. We’re at the chicken curry tipping point, much like the chicken parmesan tipping point twenty years ago. You can’t go anywhere without finding chicken parm on the menu. Even Subway does a chicken parm sandwich. Mark my words, chicken curry is on the exact same trajectory.
If you’re not a big fan of chicken curry, do yourself a favor and learn to like it. Because ten or twenty years from now, it’ll be all but unavoidable, completely saturated into all aspects of modern society. Kids are going to eat it served by school cafeterias. Hospitals will serve it to bedridden old people. “What’s for dinner?” won’t even be a question worth asking anymore, because chances are, the answer is going to be “chicken curry.”
I know what I’m making for dinner tonight. It’s chicken curry, and I’m pumped.