TY FUN (pronounced like "typhoon") is the whimsical name adorning the quaint Thai restaurant in Tremont. Spend a minute with chef and co-owner Sunny Ting and you will understand how he masters the balance between playfulness and edible artistry.
Born in Bangkok, Thailand, love lured Ting to Cleveland 23 years ago. Although an ocean now separates Ting and his roots, it's where his passion began. "My family always had restaurants in Bangkok, and I've always enjoyed cooking," he says.
The lion's share of Ting's years in Cleveland were spent as a hair stylist. But eight years ago, Ting's ambition to open his own restaurant was starting to bubble over. "It has always been my dream to have a small Thai restaurant to share my passion for this type of food with Cleveland," he says. Along with his life and business partner Greg, the duo found a spot in the emerging culinary neighborhood of Tremont. "We like to come to Tremont and have dinner. We said it would be nice to have a Thai restaurant here that can be part of the trendy young crowd," explains Ting. "I then gathered my recipes from my mom and grandma, started cooking and wrote a menu."
The spring rolls ($7.50) are a widely popular starter, stuffed with spiced ground pork, crystal noodles, carrot and scallion and served with sweet chili garlic sauce.
The #18 AKA kai kra prow ($14) is well worth the time trying to pronounce the dish. A chili garlic sauce with Thai sweet basil leaves are sautéed with sliced chicken breast, onion, red bell pepper and string beans.
Another favorite is #34, or the Massaman curry with shrimp ($18). A Thai staple, plump shrimp are prepared in Massaman curry, coconut milk, peanut sauce, potato and roasted peanuts.
Thirsty? Ty Fun's mokmo lychee martini ($8) is a necessity. The cocktail combines Grey Goose vodka, Bombay Sapphire gin, dry vermouth, triple sec, fresh-squeezed lime juice and a splash of cranberry. The ingredients are then mixed with the exotic Asian lychee juice. The result is a bittersweet symphony.
If you are one of the lucky few who has a late reservation on a Sunday night, you may catch Ting practicing his other passion — karaoke at the Flying Monkey Pub. "Staff and customers literally follow me over there to watch," he says. With a scotch in hand, the pub's patrons witness Ting at his finest crooning his favorite genre — Broadway tunes. "I like to sing songs from The Sound of Music or West Side Story," he says. "I even sing Whitney Houston."
TY FUN Thai Bistro
815 Jefferson Ave