Monday, May 26, 2014

Tasty Vietnamese and Thai lunch buffet in downtown Lowell

Viet-Thai in downtown Lowell is one of our favorite restaurants. We love eating there for dinner and getting take out when we are lazy.  Our favorite dishes includes the Vietnamese pho noodle soup, fresh goi cuon rolls, basil fried rice and their version of the Mee Ka thung/Lhat Na wide rice noodles with thick oyster and garlic sauce gravy.

It's probably a good thing that the lunch buffet at Viet-Thai is only offered on the weekdays, otherwise, the Mo and I would probably go there all the time.  We get a chance to go for the delicious and CHEAP on holidays when we both have time off work.

 The VERY affordable lunch buffet is $ 7.95 a person and offers many appetizers, noodles, soups and both Vietnamese and Thai authentic dishes.  It is very popular with the Vietnamese and Cambodian community in the Lowell area.

During the lunch rush, parking can sometimes be tricky in downtown Lowell.  There is metered parking that accepts credit card with a $2.00 minimum.

Viet Thai Restaurant Lowell Lunch Buffet $ 7.95
We always start with one or two Vietnamese "Goi Cuon" spring rolls wrapped with fresh rice paper. The rolls used to come with both pork and shrimp for the buffet but now there is only pork, noodles and scarce vegetables.  It's served with the delicious peanut sauce.  When the restaurants gets busy, these things go quick and many inconsiderate diners hoards them for their table.  Good thing the servers are watchful and try to keep up with the demand.

Viet Thai goi cuon fresh spring roll
There is usually one chicken tom yum soup and another clear broth soup.  My favorite is when they do the meatball soup with Asian vegetables.  It's reminiscence of my mother's somlaw.  Today they only had the tom yum and a clear vegetable soup.

Viet Thai Restaurant Tom Yum Soup

There are many appetizers including Vietnamese egg rolls, crab rangoon, and chicken fingers.  They have the best regular chicken wings. It's perfectly seasoned and battered.  Many of our friends and relatives actually order the wings by the tray for parties.

Viet Thai appetizers
Of course, they offer pad thai, lo mein, fried rice and white rice in buffet, otherwise it wouldn't be complete.  All rice and noodles dishes are served vegetarian. I like to add the crushed peanuts on the pad thai for texture and flavor.

Viet Thai Lowell Pad Thai
Viet Thai fried rice and lo mein
In addition to the noodles and rice, there are other options available for vegetarians partaking in the buffet.  The tofu is battered, fried and tossed with salt and pepper and the string beans is cooked in a garlic sauce.

Vegetarian Tofu at Viet Thai Lowell
Vegetarian string beans at Viet Thai Lowell

Being a Vietnamese restaurant, there is always a rotating menu if Vietnamese specialties.  One of my childhood favorites is the braised pork and eggs in caramel which the Cambodians refer to as "Kar chroouk" but I believe the Vietnamese name is "Thit Heo Kho Trung."  This is one of the few dishes that I've never tried to make and just saved it for my mom to cook or just eat it when it's available at the buffet.

Viet Thai Restaurant Thit Heo Kho Trung Braised pork and egg caramel stew
There is also a braised chicken dish cooked with the bones in it called "Ga Kho Gung".  It's very rich and flavorful with bursts of ginger. I love the julienne Thai chili that adds spice to the dish.

Viet Thai Ga Kho Gung chicken dish
One staple Thai dish that is almost always present at the lunch buffets is the pad king gai, Thai chicken and ginger dish.  When I worked at a Thai restaurant, this was the 2nd most popular dish after pad thai.  Today, the restaurant made a beef (nuer) version with mushrooms, onions and scallions.  Although I don't mind ginger, I'm not a huge fan of the ginger laden dish.

pad king nuer at Viet Thai buffet
Most of the Thai and Vietnamese entrees are best eaten with white rice since the flavors are so powerful.

If you don't like Thai or Vietnamese food, there are also some safe bets that are similar to Chinese food.  There is also Viet Thai's version of General Tso / General Gau chicken.  It is heavily battered and coated with a sweet and sour sauce.

Viet Thai general gau chicken lunch buffet
There is also chicken and broccoli available most of the time.

Chicken and broccoli 
If you still have room, there are usually a few options to end your meal with sliced oranges, watermelon, coconut jelly and tapioca in coconut milk pudding.

Viet Thai desserts at weekday lunch buffet
This is a great restaurant and I would recommend dining here for their lunch buffet or even for dinner.

* 5/28 /15-Update$$ -restaurant has just been renovated and price of buffet has gone up to $8.50

  1. Address: 368 Merrimack St, Lowell, MA 01852
    Phone:(978) 446-0977

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