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Araya's Vegetarian Place

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Araya's Vegetarian Place

Seattle's First Vegan Thai Restaurant

Voted Best Vegan Restaurant by the Weekly and NARN


Araya's Vegetarian Place holds a claim to distinction: it is perhaps the only restaurant in the U.S. serving exclusively vegan Thai food. Araya Pudpard, a charming and friendly woman known to bring out samples of new dishes to her faithful customers, has been serving Thai food in Seattle for the better part of two decades (Bangkok Café II opened next door in 1987, but has since closed), and opened her vegan restaurant in 1993. Araya explains that her real passion in Thai cooking is meatless fare.

Araya's frequently wins honors for being one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Seattle. She has a flair for creative, even inspired cooking. Influenced by the Thai Buddhist tradition of observing a vegetarian diet during certain times of the year, Araya herself goes vegan for two stretches a year. At the back of the dining room is a display of dozens of statues representing Guan-im, the Buddhist god of vegetarianism. Araya also proudly serves dishes with "bean composition," a delectable Thai soy-based, chewy meat substitute.

To sample a wide selection of Araya's cooking, hit the lunch buffet. The $7.99 admission price gets you soup (usually clear broth with Thai spices and chunky vegetables), several unique and spicy salads, spring rolls with peanut sauce, the ever-popular phad Thai noodle dish and three or four entrees. Many people can't resist going back for extra helpings.

As good as the buffet is, the a la carte selections are better yet. Bamboo shoot salad is served with lime juice, chiles, mint leaves, rice powder and cabbage. Yum woon sen is crystal-clear bean thread noodles with browned tofu, chile paste, onions, mushrooms, lemongrass and mint. The hot and sour soup with mushrooms and tofu is world class, served in a flaming pot, filling enough for two or three people. The tom tom kah is even better, a spicy coconut milk-tofu concoction with lemongrass, lime leaves and other Thai spices.

A few dozen entrees, rice and noodle dishes create a severe orderer's dilemma: Tofu green or red curry with sliced bamboo shoots and other veggies with coconut milk and basil leaves? Bangkok red curry with the aforementioned bean composition? Phad phet mekhua, eggplant sautéed with a spicy curry paste and other veggies? Pineapple fried rice with tofu, broccoli, onion and carrot? Rad no, rice noodles cooked with broccoli and tofu in a thick gravy? It's best to bring a bunch of friends and share many entrees. But be sure to try the vegetarian how mak, a rich vegetable and coconut-curry concoction that Araya insists is the best dish on the menu.

Araya's is open for lunch and dinner daily.

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Contact Information

Araya's Vegetarian Place
University: 5240 Univ Way NE, Seattle
Madison: 2808 E. Madison St, Seattle
Los Angeles: 8101-1/2 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA
Bellevue: 10246 Main Street Bellevue, WA
University: (206) 524-4332
Madison: (206) 402-6634
LA: (323) 900-0557
Bellevue: (425) 454-2440

Related Categories
Restaurants - Eastside
Restaurants - Seattle
Vegetarian & Vegan Food
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