59 Spruce St.
Columbus, OH 43215
One of the stalwart vendors of Columbus’ is eclectic North Market, Lan Viet serves as the resident Vietnamese walk up shop. Cuisine from that Southeast Asian country is all about small street vendors paddling delicious food from humble stalls. So in a sense, you will get a better feel for dining in Hanoi by coming to a little walk up experience like this one and tasting from the wonderful and convenient options like pho, bun, banh mi, and more. It’s all delightfully simple and masterfully subtle, A true testament to the hidden charm of Vietnamese food.
Vietnamese street food is about finding something simple and preparing it extremely well. Some of the things I tried:
- Banh mi: That much revered sandwich features seared meat in a bed of carrots, cilantro and other veggies, all on top of a crunchy French loaf. The juices from the meat form their own condiment which is absorbed into the bread and makes each bite crispy and moist, fresh and meaty. This sandwich is a masterpiece.
- Beef Pho: Pho is all about the broth, and good Vietnamese cooks take pride in a clear, flavorful broth, as you can see here. Stuffed to the gills with noodles, thin-sliced meat, onions, cilantro and a good helping of bean sprouts, and some more veggies on the side. There’s just a bit of hot sauce with the order, but more at the stand. Important: want to eat this authentically? Get some more hot sauce!
- Summer Roll: A favorite Vietnamese appetizer, filled with noodles, veggies and shrimp, and then served with a thick peanut and soy-based sauce with a hefty flavor to it. One is a great start to your meal.
As with all vendors in the North Market, the food here can be packaged to go, and it can also be eaten in the enormous upstairs promenade. But let’s be honest: you want to experience a genuine Pho stand? The best experience is to sit at that tiny bar surrounded by the scrum of the crowd passing through North Market. It hearkens to the many, many little simple operations in Vietnam’s cities, where you basically just plop down wherever and enjoy your meal.
It’s just too cool to see this stand in the North Market, considering how popular it is and with so many people lining up at lunch hour day after day. The prices aren’t too bad at all and the food you’ll enjoy is absolutely top-notch. Worth a try!
- The food can be taken to-go, for convenience, or if you might like to go to the nearby park or eat outside.
- Credit cards have a minimum of $7. Most of the sandwiches are $6 apiece, though the pho and rice bowls are above the threshold.
- There’s usually a line. But the food is pretty fast.