A few weeks removed from my trip to Thailand and Laos I’ve been starting to miss the flavors of those two countries, especially those of Thailand. The problems were, one, I live nowhere near a Thai restaurant; and, two, even if I gather enough motivation to venture south, it’s not guaranteed that I’ll have a genuine Thai meal. Most Thai restaurants in Metro Manila must appeal to a largely Filipino clientele, and that means a compromise by adding sweetness and toning down the heat that is a Thai element.
Nevertheless, the cravings have crept up the past few days, and short of going to the supermarket to buy ingredients for a homecooked pad thai or instant tom yum goong, JM and I went to Makati to sample the dishes at a fairly new street restaurant in Poblacion, on a street across the A. Venue Mall.
The restaurant in question is the Crying Tiger, the newest addition in the stable of the Mabantas, the family behind El Chupacabra, Susi, Señor Pollo, Cafe Mediterranean, Mexicali and Corner Tree Cafe. Here, the food isn’t actually limited to Thai, with dishes from Indonesia and Malaysia also appearing on the menu.
Like a Southeast Asian hole-in-the-wall it aspires to be, the place isn’t visible from the main artery of Makati Avenue and its customers consist mainly of those who’ve surfed enough food blogs and Zomato pages to learn of its existence. Its covert location proves to be a blessing and on a weekday evening JM and I find ourselves here, the restaurant is only half-full and the pace is relaxed for something smack dab in the area.
I start my meal with the delightful papaya salad, a little less fiery version of which I’ve been searching after scalding my palates in a restaurant in Vientiane. This dish doesn’t really require much effort to make – basically just toss some shredded green papaya into some vinegar and add some Thai herbs and spices and you’ve got a filling starter.
The other dish I order, the Thai Basil Chicken, is a letdown, mostly because I am expecting a version similar to one I had from 7-Eleven and McDonald’s in Bangkok. Here, the taste of basil is almost nonexistent and the spice is muted so much so that the chicken tastes more like Pinoy barbecue. I have to admit that it’s premature to judge the whole menu based on two dishes, which is why I’m looking forward to having another meal here and digging further into the menu.
4986 P. Guanzon Street,
Poblacion, Makati City