Out on Franklin Street you’ll find a slew of college-friendly eats including the new Ms. Mong! Brought to you by the folks at the popular Bali Hai in Raleigh and Durham, Ms. Mong does mongolian barbeque and throws in some banh mi on the menu for good measure. Heading out to the Thrill for a basketball game, I stopped in for an early dinner and eats on Franklin Street.
From the outside, just look for the neon green signage showing you exactly where Ms. Mong sits on Franklin. Inside, Ms. Mong is equally brightly colored and filled with young’uns from UNC Chapel Hill. Honestly, I’m not sure if anyone was above the age of 30 until I stepped in! But the busy dining room is a good sign of the eats here, eh?
Even with a short menu, ordering might be tricky here at Ms. Mong. You basically have a choice of a rice or noodle bowl or six banh mi options. The tricky part is that for the bowl, you’ve got a choice of three different sizes or burrito, seven different proteins (beef, chicken, pork, turkey, tofu, fried tofu), eleven different add-in’s (onions, green onions, peppers, carrots, mushrooms, etc), four different carbs (rice or noodles) and then five different sauces. Choose your spice level and phew, you’re done! You mark your bowl order on a card and pay at the cash register. I ordered up a medium rice bowl with Pacific sauce along with a Cali Sunset banh mi for dins. Unfortunately they are out of beer (?!?) tonight.
We grab our drinks, some napkins and utensils and are lucky to find an empty two-top on this busy evening. And then the wait begins. Due to the full dining room, it takes a good 15 – 20 minutes for our food and it’s hard to figure things out. Your order gets called out by number or name but the noise in the dining room makes it hard to catch the orders so pay attention! Eventually our food comes out, some good-looking banh mi’s and a styrofoam container for the rice “bowl”
I jump into the banh mi first which has a fried egg on top along with the normal banh mi accoutrements (cilantro, carrots, jalapenos). The pork is very thinly sliced and grilled, the egg makes for a good hit of protein. Add in the avocado and great bun and the banh mi at Ms. Mong is a great bite. Recommend it for sure. The rice bowl isn’t as much of a hit. It looks pretty bland in comparison and is mostly rice. Just a small heap of meat and veggies in the corner which is a bit surprising given the price. It tastes fine but certainly not anything special. Service at Ms. Mong is polite but inexperienced given the young staff.
So given that I’m not a huge fan of Bali Hai, I wasn’t sure what to expect at Ms. Mong and it was hit or miss. Good decor, decent banh mi on top of slow service and pretty mixed reviews on the rice bowl. But I do like the concept and the ability to customize your meal which is always appreciated. But really given we’re in college territory, the overall quality and offering here at Ms. Mong fits the scene. Basic college eats in larger quantities at lower prices. If only I were back in college I would totally think that Ms. Mong rocks. But from where I stand now, it’s just sorta ok. Yes, you know how senior citizens can be so grumpy…
163 E Franklin Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514