Fifteen years and three Dallas-based Asian Mint restaurants later, the couple opened their fourth location in Richardson in October 2019.
Phinyawatana, who calls herself “half-Thai, half-Texan,” said she wanted to break the common American misconception that Asian cuisine is just salty and fried foods.
“In reality, it’s all about balance,” Phinyawatana said. “It’s about balancing the four S’s—salty, sweet, sour and spicy.”
That means using fresh ingredients, such as lemongrass, basil, lime juice, tamarind and tomatoes, she said. Phinyawatana and Noisiri, who serves as the head chef, create each dish on the menu. They offer a wide variety of traditional dishes, such as shrimp summer rolls and red curry. Seasonal items include Thai beef noodle soup and Crispy Cranberry Chicken, a twist on the popular orange chicken made with cranberry sauce.
“Our holiday dishes are based on what the customers tell us they want,” Phinyawatana said. “When it’s colder, we bring out more comfort food; [we bring out] salads and light beers during the spring and summer.”
Phinyawatana said she wants to share Thai food beyond the restaurant dining experience. Cooking classes that were halted during the pandemic will be returning to Asian Mint in the next few months. Phinyawatana also offers in-home chef experiences, where she does group cooking and culture lessons.
Her YouTube channel, Chef Nikky, features video tutorials of her recipes as well as a new show, “Thai Takeover.” Fans can sign up to have Phinyawatana come to their homes and show them how to create Thai dishes using her line of sauces, her knife and whatever ingredients she can find in their kitchen. The show is meant to demonstrate that cooking with Thai flavors does not have to be intimidating or complicated, Phinyawatana said.
In the future, she said she and Noisiri would love to open more restaurants. They are encouraged by the support they have received, she said.
“People kept saying, ‘Nikky, we need an Asian Mint in Richardson,’ so we made it happen,” Phinyawatana said. “I am so grateful to the Richardson community for embracing us.”
300 W. Campbell Road, Ste. 140, Richardson
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-3 p.m., 5-9 p.m.; Sat. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; closed Sun.