One of the best things about restaurants is sometimes they surprise you. It was while sitting at Lynnwood’s Areeya Thai and Noodle, looking over the menu, that I started to chuckle. The description for the tom yum soup read, “Also the namesake of the popular Thai martial arts movie, ‘Tom Yum Goong.’” Below it, the description for the simply named rice soup clarifies that it is “served by Thai moms all over the world on 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 tossed with cucumbers, onion, mint and tomato and it “will make you say, ‘Yum, beef.’”

It goes on like this — little asides peppered throughout the lengthy menu. It’s surprisingly charming and fun. None of these additions is on the online menu at Areeya — you’ll have to come in to find them. During a recent phone call, I asked owner Punya Tipyasothi who wrote the menu and he replied it’s his daughter Areeya, the restaurant’s namesake.

“My English is not good enough,” he laughs.

Tipyasothi, his wife Jarnpen Teeranooti (who goes by Moi Tee) and their daughter have lived in Shoreline for almost 20 years after emigrating from Thailand. Tipyasothi runs Racha Thai restaurants (with locations in Redmond, Queen Anne and Bellevue), while Areeya Thai and Noodle — which will celebrate its 10th anniversary this July — and Sweet Moon, the adjoining dessert concept that opened in February, are run by Moi Tee and Areeya.

The menu at Areeya is deeply personal, filled with regional Thai specialties beloved by Moi Tee. In an email, Moi Tee wrote that she got inspiration from her travels throughout the country — from northern Thailand’s staple comfort dish Hung Lay curry to spicy basil crispy pork belly from the streets of Bangkok.

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

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The Hung Lay curry ($18.50) features braised pork belly in a dark coconut curry with tamarind juice and ginger. Hunks of lychee, lotus seed and sweet potato add further sweetness, while garlic clove and northern Thai spices help balance all that sweetness. It arrives burbling lightly in a clay pot; be sure to order a side of steamed rice.

Tipyasothi says it’s uncommon to find the dish in other restaurants because even though it’s not hard to make, it’s time-consuming.

“It’s special, local food,” he says.

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The rest of the menu feels like touring Thailand through Moi Tee’s eyes. They sell hoi tod, a fried mussel pancake, because they also sell pud thai (a colloquial spelling of pad thai) and the duo are what Moi Tee calls “buddy dishes,” meaning ones 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 she would eat it “every day if my doctor would let me.”

And the funny asides in the menu are accurate — like that yum beef salad ($14.50) with tender strips of juicy grilled beef tossed with fresh basil, mint, cucumbers and tomatoes in a bright, peppery lime vinaigrette. It indeed does make you say “yum, beef!” while eating.

The caramel chicken wings ($10.50) are crunchy, sticky and spicy/sweet — the note says they are a “sticky yet delicious start to any meal.” The five wings arrive at the table blazing hot and must be eaten as quickly as possible before the caramel coating hardens like candy.

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The dishes are well-proportioned, large enough to where if you order a few they can be shared around the table. The service is friendly and casual, just like the menu.

Mee Toi wrote that over the past decade she’s tried to create dishes that will satisfy customers — but there’s always been one thing that nagged at her.

“Dessert and sweet stuff. I [have] a major sweet tooth. It nourishes my heart and soul. Thai people would express [it] as ‘dee tor jai,’ an emotional wording when something makes you happy,” she wrote.

Her 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 the desserts will make people feel their own “dee tor jai,” and wrote, “The love of sweetness and dessert began unknown but naturally occurred. As [I’m] getting older, dessert is even before a meal without compromise. Many journeys essentially are a mere seeking of local sweetness to fulfill the sweet tooth.”

The honey toast ($17) is a real head-turner of a dish, with a slab of toasted Japanese milk bread topped with scoops of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, whipped cream, strawberry syrup and delicate rolled wafer cookies. Fresh berries of all sorts dot the plate and a handful of crunchy puffed rice is tossed like edible glitter over the whole lot. It’s photogenic for sure, but it’s also delightful. Pleasing for anyone who loves dessert.

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

The restaurant duo together — comforting Thai food alongside playful, delicious desserts — is just like the mussel pancakes and pud thai, buddies that should always be enjoyed together.

Areeya Thai and Noodle: 2902 164th St SW #C4, Lynnwood; 425-361-1583; areeyathai.com