Lowell: Banh Mi and Corn
Heng Heng Fast Food is now where B&K used to be - same set up, but a lot more menu options - and the banh mi has got a lot more in it - and still at $2.00. Across the street, Yummy is still there and they have outstanding spring rolls and delicious beef sticks in ready to go plastic-wrapped packages. The beef meat is either from the rib or somewhere else equally fatty and connective tissuey - they are really flavorful.
Heng Heng and Yummy are on Branch Street, where it splits off of Middlesex. Yummy is in the Angor Wat supermarket parking lot, and Heng Heng is across the street.
Outside, there's a guy selling corn off the back of his truck for 3 ears/$1.00. He said they were picked this morning and he then drove in from Amherst. I haven't cooked them yet - but they pass the fresh test (fingernail in kernel, lots of juice).
Thanh Thanh is on Chelmsford st (rt 110) across from the CAP, which is in front of the registry parking lot. It's a terrific Vietnamese restaurant, and the fresh spring rolls are the best there - Pho88 up by the Drum Hill circle is a close second. But the ones at Yummy are $2.50 for 3, and they're almost as good. At Thanh Thanh, the pho is terrific, as is the pan-fried watercress and garlic.
I'm not a big fan of burb Thai. What gets carried over as Americanized Thai is sweet and otherwise bland. I don't particularly like coconut milk in my curry, so the whole stoplight thing is just unappealing. Great Thai is wonderful, but hard to find - a real spicy tom yum soup, fish with chili sauce, tamarind shrimp or duck, larb... I guess I'd have to look at the menu for the place in Chelmsford to see what they have - but the places in Tewksbury have been a dissapointment. The one place that served larb (Tong's - and she would make it really spicy for me) has shut down - the replacement and the other two are very Americanized, which is why Americans like them more... oh well... we are here, aren't we?
The fresh spring rolls I like are Vietnamese in origin, so they tend to be better in Vietnamese places, anyway.
Sorry to bring up an old thread, but I just did a sampling of Yummy Express and Heng Heng's Banh Mi today, and wanted to update.
First was Heng Heng. All their sandwiches were $2.75, and the offered pork and beef BBQ as well as a few cold-cut style meats that I don't remember. I got a BBQ Beef, and while the bread was nice and crusty, and the sandwich was loaded with all sorts of stuff, unfortunately the only flavor was a cloyingly sweet flavor that reminded me of the fluorescent red stuff that cheap Chinese places give you with egg rolls. The cilantro in the sandwich was also mostly stalk. There was a few dishes in steam trays, but by 7pm they looks a bit past their prime. They also had 12 flavors of bubble tea that I will have to try on a future trip.
Next was Yummy Express across the street. Their sandwiches were $2.75 for BBQ or $2.50 for "regular". To make a fair comparison, I also got a BBQ beef. This sandwich was on an equally crusty roll, and filled with identical looking fillings, but the flavor was amazing. It was the perfect balance of spicy, sweet, salty and meaty. I also got an egg roll which had great flavor but was ice cold. They also had some very interesting stew-like dishes on the steam table I will have to try another time, as well as a large selection of bubble teas. There were quite a few interesting grocery items that I would love to explore another time, but I did pick up some very good banana chips.
The steam table dishes at Yummy's are generally delicious. They have something they call pork ribs which is the ribs chopped into bite-size chunks that some may find difficult to eat because each piece requires chewing around the bone and then spitting the bone out (a much more accepted method of preparation/cooking in other cultures) - but nevertheless, just delicious, with a tamarind/curry flavor (can't tell what kind of curry). They have a ground pork with rice noodles dish that's great as well. The beef sticks and the larb are still delicious they don't have larb very often). I've not been disappointed with anything I've tried. I haven't been to Heng Heng in a long time since Yummy's just seems to be so good.