Saturday, June 6, 2015

Newly opened Tech Heng Cambodian restaurant on Chelmsford Street

This hole in the wall restaurant space has undergone many different owners and cuisines.  When the Mo and I first started dating, it was known as Koh Kong over a decade ago.  It was unoccupied for a long period of time before becoming Neak Meas Cambodian restaurant selling $5.00 noodle soups to compete with Simply Khmer.  After that didn't work out, it was a Chinese takeout selling roast ducks and pigs.  Needless to say, the Chinese takeout didn't last either.

After 2 months of its grand opening, Tech Heng has experienced a steady flow of business.

Tech Heng Cambodian Restaurant - Chelmsford Street Lowell, MA
The clientele seems to be the older Cambodians wanting a bowl of rice porridge or rice noodle soup.  The Mo and I arrived at the restaurant around 11 AM on a Saturday afternoon.  It was your typical family owned Cambodian operation.  Of course the TV's displayed the latest karaoke videos and the younger waitstaff consisted of a young man and an underage girl helping out.  No, it's not child labor, it's the kids helping out the family business.

We started with an order of Cambodian fresh rolls that had shrimp and pork. It lacked the fresh mint and herbs used in most Cambodian restaurants. They were cut up in halves and served with the traditional sweet fish sauce topped with crushed peanuts.

Cambodian Fresh Rolls 4/ $6.00
Although it was "breakfast" we went with a heartier meal of rural Cambodian green soup made with prahok, lemon grass, Thai eggplant and other greens.  It's called Somlaw Machew Kroeung.  You can get beef, tripe and pork spare ribs, we went with the latter.

Som law Machew Kroeung Ribs $10.00
The ingredients used were fresh and the flavor was on par with how my mother prepares it. It was tangy and flavorful and the prahok paste was not overwhelming. With ordering the soup at a restaurant instead of cooking it at home, the chef doesn't have much time to summer the meat so it gets tender.  I would have preferred it to be more tender but I knew that would mean a longer wait time.  The best part was that it was only $ 10.00 bucks for a bowl. At most restaurants, the soup goes for $12.95 and up.

One of my favorite Cambodian "wedding banquet" food is steak cut na.  I'm pretty sure the steak is deep fried to a crisp and sliced up and plated atop blanched Chinese broccoli.  An oyster garlic sauce is made and thicken using potato, corn or tapioca starch.  The sauce is poured over the steak and vegetables and is delicious! This version tasted great but had just a tad bit too much black pepper to my liking.

Steak Cutna $ 14.00
A large bowl of white rice was only $4.00 and it was plenty.

Overall, we'd definitely be back.  The food was great and service was quick and great.  Our server kept coming by to check up on us. Most importantly, the prices were of great value!

I hope this restaurant lasts.

** Update, since the post, we've been back a couple of times and will most likely become regulars.  There is always parking, service is always friendly and speedy and the food is tasty!

Lhort Cha
Cambodian morning glory and pork belly stir fry $ 10.00
Mee bumbpong

Mee Ka thung special


Since we discovered this place, we keep going back. (Even the worker at Heng Lay was like, "Where have you guys been, I don't ever see you guys anymore")

The Cambodian "sach ko ch kak" beef sticks were on point and very inexpensive. The papaya salad is great! It has wonderful flavor (my preference is sweet and tangy) and the right amount of spice.

Beef sticks
Papaya Salad
The dry noodles is very tasty. Generous amounts of beef and toppings are provided. They do LOVE their black pepper though and goes a bit overboard.

The Mo loves their Asian  spice beef stew.

Beef Ka Cow Rice noodle soup

Cha Kroeung Rice Plate

Mee Kathung Special
Fried Shrimp with head
When I'm sick, the Mo picks up rice congee to go. They even pack with beansprouts and salted fermented beans.