The lure to return to the restaurant business was too much for James Ly and his wife, Vicky Koonchanok, to suppress.
The couple recently opened Siam Star Asian Express, 890 E. 116th St., Suite 155, in Carmel in January. Koonchanok is from Thailand,
“Vicky is behind the scenes. She is a baker and cooker,” said Ly, who lives with his wife in Carmel near the carry-out restaurant. “We do have two other staff members that help out.”
Ly said he previously had three restaurants in the Chicago area. He got into the restaurant business more than 20 years ago.
“A few years ago, we got out of the restaurant business,” he said. “My background is engineering, so I went back to working as an engineer. My wife wanted to get back in the business because of her love of cooking and baking. We ended up finding this place in Carmel, which is pretty amazing. We are enjoying it.”
The restaurant, which features several vegetarian options, is open Monday through Saturday and closed on Sunday.
The hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
“We make everything in-house,” Ly said. “Her curry puff is phenomenal, with chicken and potato. Her crab rangoon is a crusty crab and different from what you get around the area. We coated it with breadcrumbs on the outside of it. We’ve been carrying these recipes with us for 20-something years from my original restaurant in the Chicago area.”
Lemon chicken is one of the house specialties. Another is pork jerky with sticky rice.
Ly said 95 percent of the menu is Thai and the other 5 percent are dishes his wife likes to cook from other ethnic cuisines.
Ly said Bober tea is available and that real fruits are used for smoothies and frappes.
There are several dessert options, including fried ice cream that children especially enjoy, Ly said.
For more, visit siamstarcarmel.com.