Food Review, Molly Raynor

I love Richmond with all my heart. I love its resilience, its creativity, its RAW talent and radical roots. I do not, however, love the lack of healthy food options that residents of this city face on a daily basis.

The lack of healthy options is something I’ve witnessed firsthand during my five years working here with the Making Waves Education Program, located at the corner of 24th and Bissell, right off Macdonald Ave. For those of you familiar with the area, you know that the closest food sources are a McDonalds, Taco Bell, 7-11 and a number of taco trucks and taquerias. I’ve gotten better at making my own food and bringing it to work with me, but there are still those days (quite often) when I have to go in early and leave late, and I need some sustenance beyond snacks.

While the lovely Artisan Cafe is down the street and San Pablo Avenue is populated with many good restaurants, most of these places require a car to get to and are more expensive than the average Richmond resident can afford. Which is why, in my opinion, the opening of Heng! Heng! Heng! Thai Noodles, just a block down from the Making Waves office, is one of the best things that has happened this year. To have a close, affordable spot with healthy options in the middle of a poverty-stricken food desert is not only exciting for those of us who work in Rich City, but more importantly, it’s crucial for those who live here; for the residents who deserve access to healthy, affordable food.

Not only is their food good and pretty affordable, but the staff is extremely friendly and accommodating. Because my co-workers and I have become regulars, we are given a discount and treated like royalty. Once, one of the staff accidentally overcharged me (which I didn’t notice), so the next time I went there he told me what had happened and gave me a free meal as an apology! What? Who’s that honest these days? Amazing.

I haven’t tried everything at Heng! Heng! Heng! yet, but I plan to. For now, I can say that the Pra-Rahm chicken (chicken with peanut sauce and spinach), yellow curry chicken, and Thai iced tea are delicious. And the best part is watching our staff (young men and women from Richmond) try the various dishes and discover their love for Thai food. Several of them are now hooked — trading in their daily McDonalds for Pad Thai and curry with brown rice. It’s not that they didn’t want to eat healthier and try new things, but they were limited to what was affordable and within walking distance. Heng! Heng! Heng! has created that option for us and I am so grateful for their delicious, down-to-earth presence in this community!

Heng Heng Heng! Thai Noodles is located at 2330 Macdonald Ave Richmond, CA 94804

 

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