602 Merrimack St. (in the Acre)
Lowell, MA 01854
W-Mo: 0800-"until late" (on this visit "late" was 2400)
According to the Boston Globe, Lowell has the second largest Khmer community in America, after Long Beach, CA. It's a great place to find Cambodian food. I'd been searching for it since I got back from Siem Reap this spring. I should have tried Lowell sooner.
Angkor Kingdom is a bar/restaurant with a dance floor. When bedfull_o_books and I visited, the projection screen in the corner was showing Khmer karaoke videos. The music--including some Ricky Martin-esque salsa and a Khmer cover of "I Believe"--took me back to nights cycling past the open-air Sok San Beergarden in Siem Reap. Fortunately, at Angkor Kingdom the sound was about 30 decibels lower. And the videos really did add atmosphere.
We shared the Siem Reap special appetizer ($3.50): four deep-fried triangles of spring roll wrapper stuffed with meat (probably pork) and vegetables, with a savory sauce and ground peanuts on the side. Nicely crunchy, even in the filling, and lightly spiced. As entrees, we had the Lab Sach Ko (beef laab) (11.95), a minced beef and string-bean salad, with toasted rice, covered with mint and basil leaves, punctuated with those tiny orange peppers which produce such a kick. (bedfull_o_books was taken by surprise by one of these which was masquerading as an innocuous piece of carrot.)
I got my amok. Here there are two different amok options: the traditional fish, and a seafood mix, with squid, crab stick, and shrimp. I got the Amok Angkor, the seafood, at 15.95, but should have saved three dollars and gotten the fish amok, because the seafood mix was heavy on the surimi (imitation crab stick). Still not bad, the amok came in a rich coconut milk sauce wrapped in a banana leaf, topped with a ring of red bell tomato. The sauce was delicately spiced and somewhat more yellow than other amok sauces I've seen. But it nonetheless lent its smooth flavor to the seafood.
Bubble tea in a variety of flavors (2.50) is available, although here "bubble tea" appears to mean a finely ground slushy of tea. Fresh coconut served in the shell (3.50) appears to be available sometimes but they were out today.
There are also a variety of lunch specials (5.95). The menu is quite extensive and includes a wide variety of soups.