32 Branch Street
Lowell MA 01851
How much: $2.75
Time of visit: a Friday about 2:00PM
Lowell. Among other things: Fourth largest city in MA. Home of the Spinners (for those team sport fans) and a UMass branch, Birthplace of Bette Davis and Jack Kerouac. Birthplace of the industrial revolution. Location of at least four Banh Mi shops.
(readers, cue The Business - Hang The DJ) (clicking on link should open YouTube in a new browser tab so you can hear my selected audio track playing, but you will have to click back on this tab to return)
This day's travels took me through northern MA. There are not any other options besides Lowell for Banh Mi up in this neck of the woods and it wasn’t too far out of the way…
Heng Heng is a take-out only establishment. As I stood in line, several other non-Asians came in after me, despite what I thought would be a slower time for meal seekers.
My order was taken by a very pleasant man. I asked for a printed menu and he pointed to one but told me that the prices were outdated. Also, it did not seem to match up with the ordering numbers for each of the dishes. I guess all you need to do is tell them what you want. No questions seemed to arise when I took the picture of the menu board. It was not the fastest service I’ve had, but then again I was very hungry…
Banh Mi University graduate? Oh, yes! It was served in the traditional white deli wrap and elastic. The bread was excellent. The crust was crisp and eggshell thin. The inside was light and airy with that slightly chewy texture. The beef was very tasty, crispy and carmelized. It was very thinly cut into rectangular shaped pieces. There was only two springs of cilantro, but no hint of darkness. The carrots matchsticks were mixed with some daikon, pretty tasty, slightly pickled and yet still a bit crisp. The cucumber was fresh, thin and spear cut. Scallions were not added. The soy/fish sauce seemed to be missing, but the beef was well marinated to make up for it! An orangey mayo was very sweet and lathered on to keep it moistened. A generous portion of jalapeno slices were added on top and were very hot. The sandwich had a very good afterburn. I did ask for "spicy".
Street parking was not bad around here.
At $2.75, an excellent deal! A very worthy option to Hong Cuc. There is another Banh Mi shop –Yummy Express - across the street that I will get to soon.
I'd give the Banh Mi from Heng Heng a 5.0B/6.
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