My travel destinations are always based on the style of food I am craving when I book my flights. Next week I am off to Thailand again so it is safe to say I have been craving Thai food. Leading up to my Gourmet Getaway I needed a “Thai fix” to temporarily satiate my growing appetite.
The Crying Tiger Thai Restaurant on the Jetty Strip is a contemporary take on traditional Thai food. Head Chef Joe has taken over ownership and shares the most amazing Thai Street food using traditional recipes from his Thai homeland as a basis for his sublime menu.
I’m dining with two, big, buff boys tonight so I am counting on sampling a good range of dishes from the menu. We started the evening with some local beers, Mr GG wisely chose the Singha beer and we also ordered a Chang beer for comparison for Mr GG2.
The one minor misgiving I have about holidaying in Thailand is the lack of wine available, but at the Crying Tiger there is a lovely selection of wines and I settled on a glass of Oyster Bay, Sauvignon Blanc. This crisp, light fruity wine, with passionfruit flavours would match the fresh and spicy Thai flavours nicely.
I feel the nicest way to start a Thai meal is with a palate cleansing broth. For me, food memories come flooding back instantly. We chose the Duck Broth with Prawn wonton and the lovely, clean gamey flavours of the duck shone through immediately. The broth was sweet, light and so deliciously homely. I am totally in love with wontons, dumplings, gyoza or any other noodle wrapped tasty morsel at the moment, so having these soft prawn filled wontons soaking up the lovely duck broth was heaven.
It’s really hard to go past an entree of Salt & Pepper Squid. This is such a great sharing dish and I loved the presentation style… but the true joy was in the flavour! The crumb was so delicate and crispy with the perfect amount of seasoning. The salt was lovely and lush and there was just the right amount of heat from the pepper. It was so moist and luscious!
Given the name of the restaurant is “The Crying Tiger” it seems only fitting that we should sample the signature dish. Suea rong hai, as it is known in North East Thailand, literally means “weeping tiger”. It’s a deliciously smoky grilled, marinated beef dish. Chef has cooked the beef exactly to our tables liking, lovely moist and rare on the inside and a gorgeously char-grilled on the outside! The thin slices of beef are served with a crisp salad of julienne carrot, and onion on a bed of mixed lettuce and sprouts. Although the origin of the name “weeping tiger” are not clear, I am confident it comes from the Nam chim chaeo dipping sauce, that accompanies the dish! We are served a perfectly balanced mix of hot, spicy, sweet and sour sauce with our dish, but perhaps in history a particularly hot Nam chim chaeo was served.
Can anyone resist pork belly??? I know I nearly swooned at the thought of even taking single bite of the sticky, three times cooked succulent piece of pork. Slow cooked initially, high temp and then fried to bring out the crisp, lush, salty melt in the mouth pork flavours in a sweet sauce, with crisp green veges soaking up all the flavour of the sauce.
In Thailand we eat Massaman curry nearly every day… we just can’t get enough of this dish. The flavours are intense and the dish is prepared with chilli for a little more spice. The Crying Tiger version of this dish was amazing, the lamb shank lifted the dish both visually and in flavour profile. The aroma was mouth watering as the rich, sweet curry was placed on the table. As we served the dish the lamb just fell gloriously off the bone into the creamy sauce.
Using the lamb shank was such a clever fusion of contemporary styling and traditional flavours. The feeling of the dish was so snug and homely with the soft potato and pumpkin adding a flavourful thickness to the fragrant curry. Served with fragrant steamed jasmine rice, its comfort food with just the right level of spice.
I’m sure this dish is a crowd pleaser at the Crying Tiger, its certainly a dish everyone enjoyed at our table. You can’t go wrong when you serve a plate of crunchy, fresh vegetables, stir fried with, fat, sweet, smokey barbequed prawns. Have I mentioned how much I am loving noodles at the moment?? The noodles in this dish were soft and flat, prepared in a sweet and smokey sauce.
I find one of the highlights of traveling for me is learning how to cook the local food. I always ensure that I enroll in a cooking class whenever I am overseas. While we were enjoying our meal I noticed that The Crying Tiger is once again offering their popular Thai cooking classes at the restaurant.
The classes are available to pre booked groups of 4 to 6 people. When I return from Thailand I will be attending one of The Crying Tiger cooking classes and writing a review. If you are local to the Coffs Coast area why not sign up for the same class, and be featured in the story. If you are interested contact The Crying Tiger directly for dates.
The Crying Tiger
382 Harbour Drive
Ph: 02Gourmet Getaways would like to thank Marshmello Marketing and The Crying Tiger Restaurant for the opportunity to dine as guests. As always the opinions expressed in this story are honest and represent my experience of the establishment at the time of my meal.