Sunday, February 2, 2014

Great Cambodian food at Heng Lay Restaurant in Lowell

This Cambodian restaurant is on the corner of a busy intersection where School street meets Liberty street. It is literally 2 minutes from our house and it's our "go to" restaurant for Cambodian cuisine.  Most of the younger crowd prefer Simply Khmer or Red Rose  but we have been going to Heng Lay for years.

Heng Lay has
about 10 tables including 2 large round ones in the center of the restaurant for large groups. Similar to any other Cambodian restaurant in town, there is a TV that broadcasts Cambodian news or features the latest in Cambodian karaoke music.

The family that runs the restaurant are extremely nice and always chatting with us and asking about our latest vacation or playfully gives us a hard time for not seeing us in a while.  Once seated, complimentary Jasmine tea is served.

Heng Lay's Jasmine Tea
We've pretty much eaten everything off the menu.  Within our group of friends, we all agree that Heng Lay makes the best Yow Hon Hot Pot sauce among all Cambodian restaurants in Lowell.  The broth has the right consistency and is sweet and sour, just the way we like it.  It's not uncommon that we would order just the broth to eat the rich Cambodian broth at home.  We like to order a side of their fried bean curd (which is not traditionally eaten with it)

When I am missing my mom's cooking, I like to get stir fried morning glory with pork belly or "Cha Kroeung Sach Ko" stir fried beef with vegetables in Cambodian curry paste.  Yes I know how to make the dishes, but sometimes it's just more convenient to shell out the $8.00 and not have to worry about picking up the ingredients, cooking and cleaning.

Pork belly and morning glory salted soy bean stir fry
I was recently introduced to their famous Trey Prama dish by my friends.  The traditional way of cooking the dish is to steam the fish with eggs and spices.  The fish smell usually gets to me and turns me away from the dish.  At Heng Lay, the dish is actually fried to a crisp perfection.  It's my new favorite dish! Salty and savory at the same time.  The dish is served with an assortment of vegetables: cucumber, steamed broccoli, cabbage, Thai eggplants and jalapenos to balance the saltiness of the dish and aid in digestion.

Trey Prama Dish
(Fried egg with minced salty fish and pork)

I loved the dish so much that I attempted to make it at home.  I thought it was a success!

The Mo's favorite is "Kuy Tiev Kaw- Ko", a specialty Cambodian/Vietnamese rice noodle dish with a five-spice beef stew broth simmered for hours with beef, brisket, tripe.  He also loves their beef loc lac dish with the lime & pepper dipping sauce.

Cambodian Beef Loc Lac Dish
Heng Lay's Beef Loc Lac white rice plate

Cambodian Noodle Soup

You can't go wrong ordering their fresh rolls, fried calamari, spicy wings or mee ka thung, wide rice noodle dish.  We get the "Special" which comes with squid, shrimp, beef, fish cakes and chicken.

Heng Lay's fresh rolls "naim chow" with shrimp and pork belly served with sweet fish sauce
"Mee Ka thung" special
Spicy Wings rice plate

Cambodian beef stew rice noodle soup
Heng Lay Ka Thiew koke dry rice noodles with garlic
Soup broth to go with above dry noodles

Mee Ka Thung Special
BBQ Chicken with Fried Rice and pickles
BBQ Chicken Rice Plate with pickled vegetables

Their salt and pepper calamari is crispy and served with the lime pepper dipping sauce.  The calamari is never rubbery.

Fried Calamari
I think the make one of the best Phad Thai in town.
Phad Thai Special

Cambodian Som Law Ma Chew Kroeung Sach Ko
Fried Quail

Lort Cha chicken noodles with sunnyside up egg
Spicy Beef Rice plate (Cha Kroeung)
Beef noodle soup


  • The restaurant is closed every Wednesday
  • The restaurant does not serve alcohol but you can BYOB.  When dining with a group, I like to pick up a couple bottles of wine and the Mo grabs beer for the guys
  • If you are ordering hot pot or Yow Hon, you can call ahead to have it ready for your party.  They will put out the vegetables, proper plates/utensils, cooking equipment and serve the broth once the whole party comes.

You might also like:
Cambodian Eggroll Recipe
Cambodian Fried Shrimp Roll Recipe

Heng Lay on Urbanspoon