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Apr 11, 2011 06:39 AM

Lowell Asian - Reccos for Tonight?

Have to be in Lowell late this afternoon.

Tepitha Khmer

SE Asia

One of the other joints?

Anybody have a Lowell Asian place they are particularly nuts about right now?

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  1. we prefer viet thai over se asia. on merrimack st.

    are you driving? slightly outside of downtown, on westford st., is phien's kitchen for killah good lao food.

    4 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Think you just nailed it. Phien's it is.



      1. re: StriperGuy

        Yeah, Phien's is the best. I really love the papaya salad (get it really hot), the sausages, and the larp. The coconut dessert is great, too.

        1. re: StriperGuy

          phien's kitchen is excellent but unfortunately they're closed on monday

      2. Another possibility: Udupi Bhavan for veggie South Indian

        378 Maple Ave, Shrewsbury, MA 01545

        3 Replies
        1. re: justbeingpolite

          That place has an amazing rep, but I am hurting for something Thai, Viet, Cambodian Khmer, Lao...

          1. re: StriperGuy

            what about red rose? 716 Middlesex St # 1 Lowell, MA 01851-1400
            or we enjoyed Simply Khmer Food 26 Lincoln St , Lowell, MA 01851
            hate to point to yelp but I like its ability to point out other similar restaurants

            there is also a restaurant about a stone's throw from the red rose.
            I so wish that floating rock would pull it together and open in Cambridge soon.

            Simply Khmer Food
            26 Lincoln St, Lowell, MA 01851

            1. re: StriperGuy

              Another option is Pho88

              Viet Thai is very good too but not really the same thing as SE asia. I have not found anything very spicy at Viet Thai but SE asia makes it really hot!

          2. there are tons of great se asian restaurants in lowell. pho 88 (vietnamese), red rose (cambodian), phien's kitchen (laotian), phnom penh restaurant (cambodian), simply khmer (cambodian), and peephup tmei (cambodian) to name a few

            6 Replies
            1. re: galangatron

              Cool and thanks for the heads up regarding Phien's.

              1. re: galangatron

                is simply khmer open on sundays? i'm trying to call to find that out, but call is going straight to voicemail? hours not posted on web...

                1. re: kad barma

                  they are open on sundays and we will add this to our rotation now. the fried calamari was overly breaded but had a great lime sauce for dipping. (viet thai does this way better.) got the "fried rice special" and a ground chicken dish full of holy basil, galanga, peppers (both bell and jalapenos) and a million other delicious flavors. never thought we could finish all the food but it was soooooo very good we couldn't stop eating.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    the chicken dish was probably cha krueng, a stir-fry with garlic, onions, lemongrass, galanga, kaffir lime leaves, bell peppers, basil, and chilies

                  2. re: kad barma

                    they used to be closed on sunday but their new hours are monday through sunday 8am-10pm

                    1. re: galangatron

                      barma doesn't like whole fish so will have to bring another friend to try that. the lemongrass wings sound good too.

                2. Thanks to all for the recs.

                  Okay, if anyone is in doubt, Lowell is the place to go for SE Asian. Wow.

                  I hit simply Khmer and it was awesome.

                  The hit was the fresh salad with boned chicken feet. Like Tigers Tears at Floating Rock, but more interesting texturally. Really a wonder. Also had the whole fish which came with a sweet and sour sauce and pineapply. Yum! Great place.

                  With regard to Lowell in general, feel like I could eat there for a month strait.

                  Hit Battambang Market. Awesome.

                  Also found what looks to be a stunning Bahn Mi place:

                  Hong Cuc Sandwich Shop
                  507 Dalton Street

                  Now one provison. I did not actually get a Bahn Mi cause I was heading to dinner. But get this, they make their own cold cuts. I bought a pork roll to take home and it was spectacular as a late evening snack. Everything looked and smelled SUPER fresh. I swear I am half tempted to drive back during lunch time just to grab a few Bahn Mi. The vibe I got in the place was just awesome. I also bought some banana in sticky rice, and a thing of egg custard with cellophane noodles and pork (lunch tomorrow). Based solely on the "Clean Well Lighted Place" vibe, this place has to be on the Bahn Mi map. They said people drive up from Boston just for Bahn Mi there.

                  In the same little weird cul de sac is an African Grocery store. I bought some Ghanian Khenke, and a little Vietnamese Grocery store.

                  I feel like I made a decent dent, but want to go back 6-7 times more. You Lowellites are fortunate to have so many chow options.

                  Floating Rock
                  485 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA

                  20 Replies
                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    For the address of Hong Cuc Sandwich Shop I think you meant 507 Dutton Street.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      simply khmer is one of the newer cambodian restaurants in the area. i like their sach ko ang (grilled beef sticks) and tuk prahok sach ko (grilled steak with prahok sauce). they're also one of the few places that has sach moan bop (fried chicken wings stuffed with lemongrass paste) on the menu

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        i didn't know hong cuc made their own cold cuts. i guess that's why their banh mi dac biet (cold cut banh mi) is so good

                        1. re: galangatron

                          At least the pork roll (essentially greyish bologna with a bit of fish sauce) is home made. I have one in the fridge at home now and it was delish. Wish I had gotten those wings. Next time.

                        2. re: StriperGuy

                          Thanks Stripey! Man what a find you made in Hong Cuc. Live in the area so I stopped by today and got the Shredded Chicken Bahn Mi for lunch. Everything about it was fresh and amazing. The counter help was super nice and spoke english fine. They had a menu of about 8 different types of sandwiches with different combinations of meats etc.

                          The roll was a standout, as was the shredded chicken. The lady pinned me as a first time customer and said you'll be back. So, after eating this $4 bang for the buck sandwich, I went in and bought three more for my friend's dinner. The lady who made mine did not expect to see me again so soon, but she did! Friends loved them too, they were Bahn Mi Virgins and this was the perfect way to introduce them to one.

                          Everything was on par with the quality of the Bahn Mi's at Pho Viet, if not better IMO. I have to note that it's totally tucked away in a small group of shops that face 507 Dutton St, the access to the parking lot for it is actually your first right off Fletcher St. Tricky to find, but I am so glad I did. Thanks so much for the heads up! Hung Cuc actually deserves a thread of it's own for the Bahn Mi's...

                          Pho Viet
                          1095 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            Sweet and sour sauce with pineapple on fish? Sorry...that sounds both unappealing and decidedly un-Cambodian.

                            1. re: digga

                              Hmmm, sour not Cambodian. Not sure where you are eating your Cambodian food.

                              I didn't mention it, but I actually had dinner crashing in on some local Khmer college kids. There were 6 of us at the table. I sprung for dinner, making it CLEAR I was interested in the real deal, and they did the ordering.

                              Cambodian food has LOTS of sour notes. Some sweet.

                              We also had sour, water spinach and pork soup . Green Papaya salad, and some fried chicken dish and LOTS of white rice.

                              And it was all excellent.

                              Green Papaya
                              475 Winter St Ste 1, Waltham, MA 02451

                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                I've eaten my Cambodian food in Cambodia and I understand and love the wonderful sour notes in the cuisine. I only meant to say that pineapple with sweet and sour sauce sounds a bit like treacly Chinese-American or Westernized Thai food to me. I'm not familiar with the dish - I never encountered it in Cambodia. I'll give it a chance if and when I can.

                                  1. re: galangatron

                                    I don't know, cause I didn't order. They said it was a fav, but that it is sometimes a different dish. They were actually a tad disappointed cause THIS time it wasn't deep fried. It was little nibbins of marinated chicked that looked pan fried, served with fried rice.

                                    I don't usally do the food picture thing, but really wish I had taken a shot of the whole fish. It looked like one of those Thai Tourism Office photos: whole fish, pineapple, green peppers, and then the whole thing was delicately circles with nicely manicured cucumber rounds, just gorgeous.

                                  2. re: StriperGuy

                                    re the crashing, that is so cool! I have always wanted to do something like that. Often i end up at these places and the stuff on other tables looks better than on mine and i wish i was sitting with them...

                                    1. re: hargau

                                      It helped that we coincidentally walked in at the same time...

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        I must remember to walk into restaurants the same time as you.

                                        Thanks, as always, for the writeup and great tips.

                                    2. re: StriperGuy

                                      Went to Simply Khmer tonight and it was awesome. I cant recall any of the names of things but 2 of us had
                                      1) Their home made spring rolls which were great and had some taro in them which was nice. We couldnt believe they give you TEN spring rolls in a $5 order!
                                      2) Hot wings. Sweet/sticky/crispy, excellent
                                      3) Some sort of wide noodle dish with chicken and veggies
                                      4) A really good fried tofu/ground pork dish.
                                      White rice of course and a bubble tea to go. Whole thing came to like $45 with tip and we have at least 1-2 more meals of leftovers!

                                      Oh and when the waitress asked about how we found out about it, we relayed your story and she remembered you. She was the same waitress you had.

                                  3. re: StriperGuy

                                    Just got to chime in one more time. Just got around to eating the pyramid shaped banana leaf wrapped thing from Hong Cuc. Amazing. This was mashed rice, sort of like Japanese mochi consistency. Filled with shredded pork and cloud ear mushroom. Superb. The similar one I got from the grocery place next door, cylindrical, sticky rice, green banana, savory pork, was also VERY good. And the one from Battambang was sweet with banana, again excellent. Gotta say I love those things. Could eat them 5X a week!

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      Hong Cuc makes a great bahn mi. Thanks for the heads up on the other items. I've looked through the cases a few times but never got anything besides the sandwich and a few fried spring rolls.

                                      If you are in the area and looking for bahn mi, I suggest trying Nhy Y on Merrimack St. Maybe 5 mins away from Hong Cuc. They don't have the same selection of prepared items, but for my taste, they make the best sandwich around. It's basically a small convenience store that sells sandwiches. I think they have shredded chicken, beef, pork skin, cold cuts, and maybe one other. In the summer they grow a pepper plant in the back alley and will put one in the sandwich if you ask. Very hot. Sandwiches are $2.50 and larger than most.

                                      1. re: Ali G

                                        Yet another Lowell rec. Thanks. Gotta get there more often fo sho.

                                        1. re: Ali G

                                          is that the one next to the old french church? near st. vincent de paul's?

                                            1. re: galangatron

                                              you are so patient & helpful with my lousy lowell geopgraphy. thanks galangatron.

                                              that place used to have great bhan mi, haven't been in a while, glad to hear it is still good.

                                      2. Love it! Can I print your post to hand to my family who would like me to move to the lakes region. I love Lowell, could easily eat out every day for a month and never tire of the wonderful collection of options. Haven't tried that mahn mi place, now I've got to go. Asian has to be favorite but lowell has a nice blend of ethnic options to keep me sooooo satisfied.

                                        4 Replies
                                          1. re: StriperGuy

                                            sorry that i didn't realize that phiens' kitchen was closed on modays. definitely worth a trip. devon runs the front and her mother cooks everything to order. great little place.

                                            and yeah, that bahn mi joint is a wonderful little place too.

                                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                                              No worries, someone up-thread already gave me the heads up. Did not even try...

                                            2. re: StriperGuy

                                              gotta forewarn, they are so good that sell out! She gave me a card and said "call frst, well save you some"......i did try some eggrolls, that dough filled thing and something I don't have a clue. All was awesome, I'll need to find out what we aye, next time. Can't wait to try the sandwiches too.......thanks again.