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Jan 3, 2012 12:31 PM

Way down upon the Mekong River... a Lowell chow crawl

Taking advantage of a Friday off, i ventured to Lowell to sample the richness of Southeast Asian places there and took advantage of previous posts by Galangtron, RoyRon and others. As I was dining solo, I used a similar strategy that i used recently for Malden, ordering way too much, sampling, and packing it for take out. On to the chow. Tepthida Khmer worried me a little as it was a little too white table cloth for me but the prices were similar to less elegant places. The Loc lac ($12) was tender and flavorful with deceptively complex spicing. The Amok luncheon ($8.00) was delicious and great value. I'm used to a pastier fish but this had chunks that I think added texturally and again the spicing was delicious. I peaked in the kitchen and appreciated that the chefs were actually tasting to adjust salt and seasoning. A stop at Battambang market was a little disappointing. It is large with a good variety of SE Asian produce and inexpensive (a huge amount of lemongrass for a dollar), but the meat and fish sections smelled a little off. I got a banana and sticky rice thing which was nice and a fried whole crab that was inedible though at 50 cents, no harm no foul. A break for Yankee food at Eliot's, a hot dog place that has been there since the 20s. A chilidog was good ($2.82) though not up to Simcos or Georges Coney Island with regard to snap and taste. Simply Khmer was more my kind of place and there I ordered the seafood drunken noodles and the hot wings (each $7.50). The noodles were great generous in seafood and that addictive Cambodian spicing. I requested spicy and it could have been more so. The wings are justly famous. They are reminiscent of the Bonchon Korean wings and 10 large pieces for $7.50 is good value. Heading out along Westford, I stopped at Phiens Kitchen for the purple rice and coconut custard, which was toothsome, tasty and a large serving was $5.00. I had hoped to hit Pho 88 for shrimp toast as well but missed it and as I related on another post, perhaps it was God's way of keeping me slim (snort). I did pass Priya an Indian place that looked promising but will save that for another day.

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  1. Thanks for this post!

    Here's a link to the other thread gourmaniac mentions:

    For next week's Chow Digest, I'm hoping to write something about a Lowell SE Asian Food Crawl - ideally an outline of where to go for those wanting to explore Lowell. I was going to pose the following question to Boston hounds: If you were to go to Lowell on a food crawl of SE Asian food, which places would you go to, and more importantly, what would you order in each place?

    It seems like gourmaniac has answered before I even asked the question, but hearing some other responses would be great. I'll also be referring to the other thread that is linked here....

    Dave MP

    1 Reply
    1. re: Dave MP

      i am not a fan of tepthida khmer, but we eat at viet thai at least once per week and red rose should be on a crawl too.

      the tongue at phien's kitchen is amazing.

      i shop frequently at battambang and it can be very hit or miss. however, they generally have a wide selection of offal and the herbs are dirt cheap.

    2. Thanks for the update, Goumaniac - and if you ever want to do the crawl again, I'd love to go with you! I've got a couple of weeks on my own, and you reminded me that I must make it to Simply Khmer!

      1. pho 88 is in the same complex as priya

        2 Replies
        1. re: galangatron

          Pho 88 is at ground level and Priya is downstairs. The only time I went to Pho 88, I went for the Beef Seven Ways. The waitress said they didn't have some key ingredient, so could not serve it. We had an OK dinner of something else.

          Our several dinners at Priya have all been tasty and interesting. Sorry I can't recall specific dishes right now.

          1. re: peregrine

            The goat hotpot was a standout at Pho 88 a few years back. You need a bit of a crowd.

        2. Way to put a dent in it, g ! I don't get out to them hinterlands enough, but was thinking of doing a Burlington > Billerica > Lowell > Nashua meander with a pack of rabid hounds. Thanks for the inspiration !

          5 Replies
          1. re: Nab

            I'd be up for this, work willing. There's dozens of places I saw and didn't get to and I pretty much stuck to well covered ground. I like the Burlington-Billerica axis for Indian. What's in Nashua?

            1. re: gourmaniac

              Excellent, let me know how I can get a hold of you and we'll work with the schedules ! In Nashua, there is Meena's Kitchen, among other things, and I'm thinking there will be an element of discovery and general sniffing around for serendipity involved, along with a targeted attack at some of the better-known places. Probably some downtime wandering around markets and such too. Fun !

              1. re: Nab

                Nab, send me an email as well (it's listed in my profile) - I'd be interested in this as well

                1. re: Nab

                  Id love to hear about anything worth eating in Nashua. Every time im there and looking for food it always ends in disappointment. Best i have found is the Vietnamese noodle house but even that isn't spectacular. Used to like Formosa Taipei before it closed down.

                  1. re: Nab

                    Hi Nab: I've added my email to my info. Happy to open this up to a group if you are so inclined.