Those satisfying, slurpy noodles. The aroma of the fragrant broth. A delicious and comforting cold-weather warm up. Yes, we are talking about pho, the ultimate Southeast Asian comfort food.
Pho (pronounced “fuh”) is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup consisting of broth, herbs, beef or chicken (these are the most typical but a wide range of proteins show up in the dish), and rice noodles.
And with pho, it’s all about the broth, which boasts a complex, umami flavor. Combined with the soup’s accoutrements—which are traditionally basil, bean sprouts, lime and jalapeno to add on top—the result is a warming meal with a fresh, flavorful crunch.
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Lucky for us, Columbus has several incredible Vietnamese restaurants, so we’ve put together a list of great spots for you to get full on pho and warm up at the same time.
Huong Vietnamese Restaurant, 1270 Morse Rd., Columbus.
This Columbus staple has been bringing its traditional pho noodles to the people since 2005. Huong, the owner’s first name, means “fragrant,” which is the precise word that comes to mind when walking through the restaurant’s doors. Let them know to prepare your pho to go (for eating at home, at the workplace or in the car) and they will make sure your soup is packed to perfection.
Lan Viet, North Market Downtown (Columbus); North Market Bridge Park (Dublin)
A long-term tenant of the North Market’s Downtown location, this traditional northern Vietnamese restaurant recently expanded to Dublin’s North Market Bridge Park. Its growth is a testament to its food; with pho flavors including steak, chicken, shrimp, meatball and tofu, you really can’t go wrong. Lan Viet’s bahn mi and rice noodle bowls are also noteworthy.
Mi Li Cafe, 5858 Emporium Sq., Columbus.
Tucked away into a strip mall in northeast Columbus, Mi Li Cafe is a hidden gem. Well-known among local pho enthusiasts, this cafe features many variations of the traditional noodle soup. Want it with tripe? How about tendons? Meatballs? Rare or well-done beef? This is the place for advanced pho-philes who want to customize their experience. Grab a bubble tea while you are here as well; the selection is incredible.
Pho Asian Noodle House & Grill, 1288 W. Lane Ave., Columbus.
If variety in your pho is what you are after, Pho Asian Noodle House is your best bet. With pho flavors ranging from shrimp to roasted duck, it’s a great place to savor everything pho has to offer. Try their special combo soup—a rich and meaty pho with rare, thin eye-of-round, meatballs and beef frank—if you’re ready for a real treat.
This story originally appeared in Stock & Barrel Winter 2021.
If you like this, read: New Vietnamese eatery now open in Hilliard
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