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Nov 10, 2009 02:23 PM

New Vietnamese in Lowell

Pho Mi Mi on Middlesex St has been replaced by Souper Bowl. It seems to be family run. They've taken out the nightclub like decor, and its now a clean little restaurant. Had a pork and rice and egg plate and a Pho Bo Vien. The meatballs are smaller than Pho 88, but quite tasty, and the Pho appeared to be appropriately complex and beefy.
Seems like a nice alternative, and not as hectic as Pho 88 tends to be.
Anyone else tried it yet?

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  1. Haven't tried it, but it's now on the list.

    Any other good lunch recommendations in the Greater Lowell area? I'm told there's a lot to like about Lowell.

    13 Replies
    1. re: MC Slim JB

      About 6 weeks ago a Chinese restaurant opened at 369 Broadway. It is primarily take-out with about 46 seats. They have roasted meats (duck, pork and chicken) similar to Chinatown though I have not tried them. They are running a double lobster special with ginger and scallion for $14.95, this dish is as good if not better than any lobster I have ever had in Chinatown at the many Chinese weddings and banquets I have attended. Also delicious and fresh were the huge Fried Scallops on the appetizer menu. The restaurant is immaculately clean and everything I have tried has been very fresh. The area has a large Asian population and they seem to be frequenting the restaurant often, a good sign.

      1. re: bakerboyz

        The name of the restaurant is China Star.

        1. re: bakerboyz

          I tried China Star this weekend. Seeing the hanging roasted ducks and chickens off the kitchen made me think this would be a cut above the suburban Chinese place. Unfortunately, it was everything I expect from Americanized Chinese food (even in a city like Lowell with a high SE Asian population), bland, indistinguishable brown sauces despite the varied descriptions, and a very high ratio of filler vegetables to meat. The portions, however, were huge. The pad thai wasn't bad when we figured out that all the flavor was on the bottom of the container. It looks to be a well-run place, but I wish they would not see the need to dumb down the flavors.

          1. re: Dinsdale45

            why did you order pad thai in a chinese restaurant?

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              Because it was there?

              Seriously, why not, especially when first trying out a restaurant to see what they do well. Besides, my kids like noodle dishes. I also got pork lo mein, which was boring and flavorless. So, the Chinese restaurant made better pad thai than lo mein.

              1. re: Dinsdale45

                lol. my friend had the fried rice and said it was "quite good, not greasy and not kitchen sink." i'll give it a shot.

                1. re: Dinsdale45

                  the place sounds like a cantonese BBQ restaurant. Was the lo mein like cantonese lo mein made with thinner yellow noodles, perhaps chinese broccoli and dumplings on the side? or like American lo mein thick white noodles with a dark sauce? the latter is american chinese food and probably something that a good cantonese place wouldn't do well. (ie: don't order chicken fingers at HK eatery unless you are referring to the kind that recently had claws attached)

                  Yeah for finally getting a cantonese BBQ joint in lowell... they should do well. A lot of the Vietnamese and Chinese folk in Lowell area are Cantonese. We will definitely be checking it out!

                  1. re: noodlely

                    am far from knowledgeable as some about chinese food, but i have never had lo mein with thick white noodles, or a gloppy thick sauce. only the yellow vermicelli noodles.

                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      you haven't had the joys of nasty suburban chinese food then!

                    2. re: noodlely

                      The lo mein was thin noodles with scant small pieces of pork and a few sprouts and maybe a few fragments of leafy greens. It looked like a standard strip mall joint version of lo mein and barely had any taste.

                      I think they want it to be a Cantonese BBQ place, but don't know how to get there. They offered several "Sichuan" dishes that weren't Sichuan style, pad thai, and "special" dishes that you see on every Americanized Chinese menu. I asked whether or not there were any authentic Chinese dishes that weren't on the printed menu, and the woman at the counter looked at me like I had three heads (of course, she may not understand English well).

                      I didn't try the BBQ duck and I'm not a fan of those Hianese-type chickens that they serve all hacked up. They had some hanging hunks of pork, maybe ribs, that didn't look all that appealing.

                      1. re: Dinsdale45

                        I am sure that much of the food is your standard Americanized Chinese. That said, the restuarant is being frequented my numerous Asians who seem to enjoy it. As I stated earlier, I have been to many Chinese weddings and banquets in Chinatown (where the attendees are 99 percent Chinese) which often serve Cantonese style lobster with ginger and scallions as well as Fried Scallops and the versions at China Star were better than any I have had in Chinatown. If you want something more authentic, just ask the owner or his son and I am sure that they will accomodate you.

            2. re: MC Slim JB

              Tepthida Khmer is a very classy Cambodian restaurant. Good food, nice interior design that is atypical for Lowell.

              Nhu Y has good bahn mi. It's a small hole-in-the-wall market but the sandwiches are great. They also have spring rolls and shrimp rolls.

              Tepthida Khmer
              115 Chelmsford St, Lowell, MA 01851

              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Quick follow-up: had the bún bò Huế (Hue City soup) at Pho 88 near the Drum Hill rotary the other day: very tasty. Supposedly rice noodles, but they sure seemed like wheat noodles to me, big hunks of beef shank, pork knuckles, several slabs of pig's-blood pudding (blander than I expected), some tendon, a lot of tender flank standing in for oxtail, basil and lime to squeeze in, shredded purple cabbage subbing for banana blossom, and I think they omitted some or all of the traditional shrimp paste.

                Clearly making some adjustments for local ingredients (and perhaps for me), but very tasty nonetheless, strong but manageable chili fire, and a dish I haven't seen on many Vietnamese menus locally. Definitely heading back there.


                Pho 88
                1270 Westford St, Lowell, MA 01851

              2. I always felt a little odd with my kids at pho mi mi at night... I felt like at any minute that the disco ball would turn on and people would start clubbing. Definitely a must try for us.