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Phien's Kitchen in Lowell, MA -Awesome!! (Long)

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Phien's Kitchen in Lowell, MA -Awesome!! (Long)

ltownhound | Jul 26, 2005 02:35 PM

Just checked this place out for the first time and it is a chowhound spot if I've ever seen one! I have lived in Lowell my entire life and eaten a lot of southeast Asian food, so it takes a lot to impress me, and this place sure did. It is a tiny spot on Westford St. next to a hair salon with about 30 seats at tables and 6 more at the counter( it used to be a breakfast place). The menu is very small, only about 15 items plus a few blackboard specials.

My brother and I split an order of spring rolls to start, it came with 4 good sized rolls, very fresh with shrimp, shredded vegetables, and herbs. The peanut sauce was thinner and spicier than a lot of others that I have had, overall very good,for $3.75. We than saw a special of Mom's homemade sausage, which we could not pass up. For $5 it must have been close to a pound of sausage, sliced on the diagonal with an incredible texture, you could easily see large chunks of beef in the mixture. I could detect lemongrass, garlic, and I'm not sure what else. Very, very, good. I got the noodle soup for my main course, now pho is really a dime a dozen in Lowell, with many versions being really bland and needing tons of add-ins like lime, chili, basil, etc. to really stand out. This version was great, obviously prepared in small batches, I saw chunks of sliced browned garlic, celery, and lots of cilantro and scallions. Plus it came with 6 small shrimp, very tender squid, about 6 meatballs(I'm guessing homemade as well) and thin sliced boiled beef. A huge portion and again very good. My brother got the Lao fried noodles(Koua Khao) w/pork. Somewhat reminiscent of pad thai, but more interesting. This was probably the most "American Friendly" dish I tried, and the least impressive, but it was still very good, and quickly devoured.

Service is very friendly and fast as well. I believe the owner used to work at La Boniche, a popular French bistro-style restaurant in downtown Lowell, I think she designed the menu and runs the place but her mother does all the cooking. This was one of those meals when you just can't wait to tell everyone you know about it so it can stay up and running. I can't wait to try the papaya salad, beef salad, and grilled cow tongue. As well as more of those sausages. Check it out and keep it in business.

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