I love the North Market. I love to just wander around and look at everything that is being offered on any given day. I love to stop and talk to the vendors about what they have for sale. Some are quite happy to talk, others are way too busy to engage in idle chit-chat. I love the smells of the North Market. The clean smell of The Fish Guys. You know their fish is fresh! I love the smell when you walk around the corner of North Market Poultry and Game and you walk right into the aroma of the fried chicken and other prepared foods! I love Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, and sampling the exotic combinations of flavors in the ice creams. I love Pastaria; the prepared dishes and the sauces, not to mention the incredible pastas. I love to peruse the cheese offerings at Curds and Whey. Mike is always ready to answer questions and let you have a taste of a new cheese. I love Barry’s Deli. I love the bright color of his newly remodeled store, and I love the humongous sandwiches he prepares. Yep, I just love the North Market.
But there is one place that has hold of my heartstrings right now. Lac Viet Market. Located in the northwest corner of the Market between Better Earth and Better Earth’s Beyond Beads. Owner Thang Nguyen and his family preside over this little bit of heaven. Let me tell you how my current addiction began…”Noon Time Travels”.
L3 (Laura, the trained palate) and I (the pudgy gal) met at the North Market one cold and rainy afternoon. The weather basically sucked. It was just nasty outside and it made you wish you’d stayed home in bed. We walked around the market trying to decide what we were going to have for lunch. When we planned our meeting, I had visions of us getting something to eat and going out to the picnic tables to eat in the sunshine and warming breezes. Ha! Joke was on me. So when you have an idea like that in your mind and you’re faced with a crappy day like ours turned out to be, you just can’t make up your mind on anything!
We wandered around the market for a while, making about 2 or 3 trips around the place. We stopped at Sarefino’s Pizzeria; we stopped at Curds and Whey; we stopped at Nida’s Sushi; we stopped at CaJohn’s; we stopped at Firdous; and we stopped at Barry’s Deli. All looked good, but none looked right. Then Laura made the decision that she was having pho. Off to Lac Viet we went.
While Laura ordered her pho, a beef noodle soup, I checked out the menu. I had eaten here once a long time ago but couldn’t even remember what I’d had then. So as I checked out the menu, I saw a dish that looked really good. It is called Com/bun thit ga and is broken rice, rice noodles, grilled chicken, cucumber, carrot, tomato and cilantro. I decided to order this, minus the cilantro. We were eating on the premises so they put our lunches in their big bowls. We grabbed something to drink and off we went. Thus my addiction began.
Since that day, I’ve grabbed take out for Bob and me to eat at home and I’ve stopped to get it for dinner when Bob has been out of town. On my latest trip, I ordered the Com/bun thit ga and asked for half to be substituted with Com/bun Tom (grilled shrimp). I also ordered a Bahn mi thit, a sandwich with ham, chicken roll, mayo, pate, cucumber, carrot, radish and cilantro (minus pate & cilantro). I’ve recently read so much about the Bahn mi and the quest for the best in several cities that I needed to see what the fuss was all about!
I took my treasures home and with a growling tummy I commenced to chow down! With the Com/bun thit ga, I mix it all together and dig in. The dressing is refreshing and packs a bit of a bite unless you avoid the tiny pieces of red peppers. As you can guess, I do. Oh my gosh how I love this dish! It is just so refreshing and yummy. The broken rice adds a nice little crunch and the rice noodles are just wonderful. The grilled chicken is perfectly cooked with a great flavor. The vegetables are crisp and fresh. Again, this dish just rocks!!!
Now for the Bahn mi thit. I’ve never had this before but it really looked and smelled awesome. Biting in you experience the crunch of the toasted French bread. Then you taste the meat combined with the fresh veggies and it is soooo good.
What to do? Sitting there with two delicious dishes I did what any sane person would do. I split them in half and ate some of each!
Check out Lac Viet Market in the North Market! But prepare to be addicted!
Lac Viet Market
59 Spruce St.
Columbus, OH 43215