Hearty Thai curry and desserts made with love make a perfect Lynnwood dining duo

One of the best things about restaurants is that sometimes they surprise you. It was while I was sitting at Lynnwood’s Areeya Thai and Noodle, looking at the menu, that I started laughing. The description of the tom yum soup read: “Also the namesake of the popular Thai martial arts film, ‘Tom Yum Goong’.” the world in cold mornings and sick days. Definitely not the namesake of any martial arts movie.”

Under the salads, a dish called yum beef is described as grilled beef with cucumber, onion, mint and tomato and “will make you say, ‘Yum, beef.’”

Keep it up – little details sprinkled throughout the extensive menu. It’s surprisingly charming and fun. None of these additions are on Areeya’s online menu – you’ll have to log in to find them. During a recent phone call, I asked owner Punya Tipyasothi who wrote the menu and he replied that it is his daughter Areeya, the restaurant’s namesake.

“My English isn’t good enough,” he laughs.

Tipyasothi, his wife Jarnpen Teeranooti (who goes by Moi Tee) and their daughter have lived in Shoreline for nearly 20 years after immigrating from Thailand. Tipyasothi runs the Racha Thai restaurants (with locations in Redmond, Queen Anne and Bellevue), while Areeya Thai and Noodle – which will celebrate their 10th anniversaryº birthday in July – and Sweet Moon, the adjacent dessert concept that opened in February, are managed by Moi Tee and Areeya.

Areeya’s menu is deeply personal, filled with regional Thai specialties loved by Moi Tee. In an email, Moi Tee wrote that she was inspired by her travels across the country – from the northern Thai comfort staple, Hung Lay curry, to the spicy basil crispy pork belly from the streets of Bangkok.

“When I travel I would love to try [everywhere] from local street food markets to five star restaurants,” she wrote. “Many of them give me the opportunity to expand my culinary experience.”

The Hung Lay Curry ($18.50) features pork belly roasted in a dark coconut curry with tamarind juice and ginger. Bits of lychee, lotus seed, and sweet potato add more sweetness, while garlic cloves and northern Thai spices help balance out all that sweetness. It arrives bubbling slightly in a clay pot; be sure to order a side of steamed rice.

Tipyasothi says it’s unusual to find the dish in other restaurants because, while it’s not difficult to make, it takes time.

“It’s special local food,” he says.

The rest of the menu looks like a tour of Thailand through Moi Tee’s eyes. They sell hoi tod, a fried mussel pancake, because they also sell pud thai (colloquial spelling of pad thai) and the duo is what Moi Tee calls “buddy dishes”, meaning those that are always ordered together. She serves crispy pork belly with spicy fried basil from central Thailand because it’s a dish she loves so much that she would eat it “every day if my doctor would let me.”

And the funny asides on the menu are accurate — like that yum beef salad ($14.50) with tender strips of succulent beef grilled with fresh basil, mint, cucumber, and tomato in a bright, peppery lemon vinaigrette. In fact, it makes you say “yum, steak!” while eating.

The Caramel Chicken Wings ($10.50) are crispy, gooey and spicy/sweet – the note says they are a “sticky but delicious start to any meal”. The five wings arrive at the table warm and must be eaten as quickly as possible before the caramel coating hardens like candy.

Dishes are well proportioned, large enough that if you order some they can be shared around the table. The service is friendly and casual, as is the menu.

Mee Toi wrote that for the past decade she has tried to create dishes that satisfy customers – but there has always been one thing that has bothered her.

“Dessert and sweet things. I [have] a big glutton. It feeds my heart and my soul. Thai people would express [it] like ‘dee tor jai’, an emotional expression when something makes you happy,” she wrote.

Their sweet tooth was finally satisfied in February when they decided to turn half the restaurant into Sweet Moon, a bright space with its own entrance and a wall of fake purple wisteria for excellent selfie opportunities. There’s bubble tea, coffee and a full menu of Asian desserts, from bingsu to Japanese honey toast.

Mee Toi hopes that desserts make people feel their own “dee tor jai” and wrote, “The love of sweetness and dessert started out unknown, but it came naturally. As [I’m] getting older, dessert is even before a meal without commitment. Many trips are essentially a mere pursuit of local sweetness to satisfy the sweet tooth.”

The Honey Toast ($17) is a head-turning dish, featuring a slice of toasted Japanese milk bread topped with scoops of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, strawberry syrup and delicate wafer-rolled cookies. Fresh berries of all kinds dot the dish and a handful of crispy puffed rice is tossed like edible glitter throughout the batch. It’s photogenic for sure, but it’s also delicious. Pleasant for those who like dessert.

The Japanese cheesecake is a marvel – somehow dense but fluffy – and not overly sweet, while the brown sugar boba milk (the still-warm boba pearls) ($5.85) can make your teeth ache. best possible way.

The pairing of restaurants together – comforting Thai food alongside fun and delicious desserts – is like mussel pancakes and pud thai, friends that should always be enjoyed together.

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