It was a public holiday here on Monday. For most of the country it was Labour Day, but for us, in Queensland, it was the Queen’s Birthday – even though the Queen had her actual birthday in April and the rest of the country had a public holiday for it in June…which was close to when we had Labour Day. Only in Queensland.
It was also the hottest day we’d had so far this spring with the mercury into the mid-30s and I was craving something light and tasty for lunch. Something with salad and plenty of spice.
I blamed Infusion Thai – my favourite Thai on the coast. They’d posted a series of pics on Instagram of salads that made my mouth water; their Thai Beef Salad, the crispy pork salad and, my absolute favourite, Larb Gai.
They were, however, closed.
The problem with cravings though is once it’s in your head, it’s in your head. Know what I mean? While a Thai salad was in my head, a noodle soup was in Grant’s. Where to get both? Giddy Geisha, that’s where.
A mish-mash of many South-East Asian cuisines, Grant satisfied his noodle soup craving with a pho and I satisfied my Thai salad craving with Crying Tiger and a side of mizuna salad with lotus chips. We both satisfied our craving for eggplant chips with szechuan caramel, roasted sesame, fried garlic. (If you’re ever on the Sunny Coast you have to try these.)
At Giddy Geisha they do the Crying Tyger (yes, I meant to spell Tiger with a y) as a carpaccio, drenched in nahm jim jeaw (the spicy dressing), and dotted with lemongrass mayo, apple, and little segments of ruby grapefruit. It’s a delight to eat, but I actually think I prefer a more traditional version.
Often interpreted as a Thai Beef Salad with the nahm jim jeaw used as a dressing, at its simplest Crying Tiger is grilled beef served with the nahm jim jeaw on the side as a dipping sauce.
As for the name? According to Adam Liaw, the Thai name for this dish, “seua rong hai”, literally translates to ‘crying tiger’ – the hot dipping sauce is supposed to bring tears to your eyes. Other explanations include:
- the marinade and juices dripping off the beef onto the coals are like tiger’s tears and
- the meat used was so tough as to make a tiger cry.
I think I’ll stick with Liaw’s explanation.
It’s one of those dishes that’s a perfect midweek meal. Served simply with salad, it’s healthy as well as tasty and super quick to get onto the table.
The recipe I use is from one of the most used cookbooks in my library (and that’s quite the distinction) – Adam Liaw’s Asian After Work. You can, however, find it here.