As the owner of the just-opened Crying Thaiger restaurant, Nisachon Thanangthirapong aims to bring authentic Thai cuisine to Malden. And that mission starts with the restaurant’s name, which derives from a traditional Thai dish made with grilled beef brisket and a sauce so spicy that ancient folklore claims it once made a tiger break down in tears. Much like its signature dish, the rest of the menu showcases the bold flavors and spicy ingredients that are famous in Thai cooking.
“We want to introduce traditional flavors to our customers because most of the Thai restaurants in Massachusetts are very Americanized. The flavors tend to be a little more sweet and less spicy,” Thanangthirapong says. “We pick flavors based on how authentic they are so that we are serving our food in a very real way.”
With rustic wooden walls and an intimate dining room seating approximately 40 guests, every aspect of the space’s decor—down to the tableware—reflects the restaurant’s traditional Thai roots.
“Even the water cups we picked are very traditional Thai cups,” she says. “Most of them were actually imported directly from Thailand, so that customers walk in and are like, ‘Wow, I have never seen something like this before.’ People find it very interesting.”
The menu breaks down into several different categories; one page labeled “Recommended” features the restaurant’s most traditional dishes, including panang curry with short ribs and crispy fish basil as well as some popular Thai street foods.
“We have some dishes, like the BBQ pork skewers, that are a traditional street food,” Thanangthirapong says. “Thai people come in and are immediately like, ‘Oh my god, I definitely need to have this,’ because it makes them think of the old days.”
Thanangthirapong points out all of the ingredients in each dish are as authentic as possible, no matter how difficult they are to source. That same approach is used in the kitchen’s prep; each recipe is prepared in the traditional manner, even if it requires a little more time. Thanangthirapong believes this “no shortcuts” approach to preparing food will set the restaurant apart from competitors.
“We use a lot of ingredients that most Thai restaurants around here don’t use, because they are so hard to find,” she says. “The process to make really authentic Thai food is a little harder; it takes a little longer. We sort of think of that as the motto of this restaurant.”
Crying Thaiger 114 Ferry St., Malden (781-480-1243) cryingthaigerma.com