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Lowell-area gems

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Hallo Hounds,
Was in Chelmsford today for a work meeting and stopped into the Chelmsford Centre Deli. I highly recommend this spot. Old-school service, toughie workers, and a drippy oily Italian sub laden with hots. Great hot specials too. It is in a bland plaza near the Marshall's.

If in the area may I also recommend the Lowell Portuguese Bakery on Gorham Street. Area is a bit shabby, but you won't find a finer, more authentic bakery. It is just off the Connector.

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  1. Good to know if I am ever in the Lowell area! You might also want to share your finds with the "Southern New England" board as Lowell tends to be thought of as outside the GBA (at least as far as I know). I could be wrong, of course, but I think Lowell comes up more often over there

    10 Replies
    1. re: pickledtink

      Pretty sure Lowell is considered part of Greater Boston Area by chowhound.

      1. re: StriperGuy

        Lowell is in a bit of a gray area, but the bulk of Lowell area discussions are on this board, and we're fine with that.

      2. re: pickledtink

        Perhaps Northern New England, but certainly not Southern, as it borders Nashua, NH.

        1. re: justbeingpolite

          Massachusetts, outside of the Boston area, is discussed on the Southern New England board, so it would make sense for Lowell to be there, but as mentioned above, the definition of Boston area is a bit amorphous, and most of the Lowell discussion is on this board.

          1. re: The Chowhound Team

            Ah

            1. re: justbeingpolite

              since it's north of boston, it never occurs to me to check the southern ne board!

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Me neither! I assume southern NE to be RI/CT/south of Boston.

            2. re: The Chowhound Team

              gosh, that seems strange, i'd never think to look on the s. ne board.

              1. re: qianning

                It touches 495... that makes it Boston to me..

          2. re: pickledtink

            I grew up in Lowell and work in Lowell. It has always been part of this Greater Boston site since I can remember. I too love the Portuguese Bakery but must give a shout out to the Olympus Bakery on Broadway Street!

          3. Good comfort food, if you're into that sort of thing. Decent little salad bar, too.

            1. Zabb Elee, the new Lao/N. Thai place that opened in the Phien's Kitchen space is worth checking out. The menu has been expanded.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Dinsdale45

                Has the cooking improved?

                1. re: qianning

                  Not sure what you mean, because that's all subjective, but I like the food there. Last time I ate there we ordered 5-6 dishes, and thought they we all great.

                  1. re: Dinsdale45

                    we had 2 very sub-par meals there shortly after they opened under new owners and have hesitated to go back, with all the other sure-things around here.

                2. re: Dinsdale45

                  I keep driving past that on my way to the Donut Shack. Gotta try it.
                  BTW, I think the Donut Shack qualifies as a Lowell area gem.

                  1. re: justbeingpolite

                    I always thought that place was a mob front or something. Do they actually have donuts?

                    1. re: Dinsdale45

                      Yeah pretty good ones, too. The guy who makes them is very friendly, too.

                      1. re: justbeingpolite

                        When are they ever open?

                3. Has anyone been to Elliots lately? I think it was a gem but haven't been in a long long time

                  1. Lowell has the second highest Cambodian population in the US and it has some AMAZING Cambodian food. Simply Khmer is the only one I've been to and I cant stay away from that place. It is freaking good! For those who have never had Cambodian food, think of it as a mix between vietnamese, thai and malay.

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: perlmonk

                      simply khmer is VERY good.

                      we have also had nothing but excellent dim sum at the new china star.

                      1. re: perlmonk

                        I like Red Rose, too.
                        Heng Heng has some good "fast food" for takeout
                        Hong Cuc is great for banh mi
                        Viet Thai and New Asia (the old SE Asia) have decent lunch buffets.

                        1. re: Dinsdale45

                          i prefer the regular menu at viet thai. ever been disappointed. new asia has changed hands so many time sin the last few years we just don't bother.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            I thought New Asia was owned/run by the people who have the grocery store at the end of the block? I have not been since it was SE Asia, boy do i miss that place.
                            Viet Thai is ok but certainly not a substitute for SE Asia, i have never got anything spicy at Viet Thai even though i try every time. The buffet is just meh to me.

                            Simply Khmer is one of our standard go to places, love it.

                            China Star is another one we go to every few weeks or more. (for dimsum only, have not tried anything else other than the hot&sour soup which i wouldnt get again-odd)

                            1. re: hargau

                              Haven't been recently, but we like China Star for dim sum. We also have had a couple of very nice Cantonese style seafood meals there in the evening.

                              1. re: hargau

                                the grocery store closed a couple months ago, but due to language barrier issues i could NOT figure out where he was saying they were going.

                                my b/f has lived in lowell 7 years and "new" asia has changed hands at least 3 times in that period.

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  Was it somewhere else before?? SE Asia has not been gone for 7 years. I dont think New Asia has been there more than 2 years if that.

                                  1. re: hargau

                                    when it changed hands the time previous to this, those owners kept the same name.

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      really? I went to SE ASia up to the time they finally closed the doors. It was always the same family but at one point the grandma left and this is when the recipes/quality changed for the worse as the next generation was running it. Same waiters/staff, even the young girl with the sneakerskates.. The menu and buffet items were the same but they became worse at keeping the buffet stocked and less spicy/flavor in the recipes.

                              2. re: hotoynoodle

                                whoops! that should say "never" been disappointed!

                          2. I agree with other posters that Lowell has some of the best Southeast Asian food in the greater Boston area. For Cambodian my favorite has always been Tepthida Khmer on Chelmsford St. The food has always been excellent and although the service can be a bit slow at times the waitstaff are always very friendly. I always have their version of Loc Lac Beef and one their Cambodian soups. The one with tomatoes and chunks of pineapple is a favorite.

                            1. How is the Babylon doing these days (Iraqi-owned Middle Eastern chow)? We went only once before an event at the auditorium downtown but thought it was a gem. For some reason, can't find my earlier thread on it.

                              1. Sushi Yanagi in Chelmsford, near Drum Hill, is the best Japanese food in the area.

                                Udipi Bhavan has a great vegetarian Indian buffet.

                                Yeah, I know it's not Sichuan Gourmet, but Sichuan Palace in Chelmsford is pretty solid, IMO (I know there will be negative comments).

                                Marko's has some killer gyros and falafel.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Dinsdale45

                                  Yea count me as not a fan of Sichuan Palace since the ownership change several years ago. We used to enjoy it before that. Since we have been 5-6 times and always are disappointed. Worth driving the extra 10-15min to Sichuan Gourmet

                                  1. re: hargau

                                    Mostly I agree, but I have to say I prefer the mapo tofu at SP, usually a great lunch special. Last time,though, the hit and sour soup was a let down. I also agree with dimsdale on Sushi Yanagi.

                                2. Hong Cuc sandwich shop has a new location on Grand St., near Pailin Plaza. Same menu, same amazing banh mi, just expanded into a bright, clean space.