Lang Van: Menu Optional

Today I went to Lang Van, the small Vietnamese restaurant on the corner of Shamrock and Eastway in East Charlotte, for lunch. After researching sandwiches all over town for our "Great Sandwich Guide" (check out the March issue!), my appetite has been whet for the more interesting versions of food on bread and so I decided to order the banh mi. However, my server, who also appeared to be the owner, had a different idea.

"I’d like the banh mi, please," I said, handing her the menu.

"No," she shook her head. "Not good. You like noodles?"

"Um," I wasn’t sure how to respond. Sure, I like noodles. I also like banh mi. Which is why I was ordering it. "Yes?"

"You like pork? You like shrimp?" She nodded at me.

I nodded back. "Yeah, I like those things."

"I will bring you a surprise," she said and hurried back to the kitchen.

This is how I ended up with a large bowl of vermicelli, tossed with cilantro, fish sauce, red peppers, pork, shrimp skewers, and pork spring rolls. It was about as far from a sandwich as one could possibly take a meal, but it was delicious. The experience was unorthodox, but I guess if you’re adventurous enough in the culinary department to make the drive to this unassuming spot, you might be willing to try a "surprise" meal. And, rumor has it, this happens a lot at Lang Van, so in this case, you probably should be willing to try a surprise. (Don’t like surprises? Don’t be deterred, the menu is Cheesecake Factory-length, so chances are you and your server can agree on something.)

Lang Van, 3019 Shamrock Dr., 704-531-9525

Categories: Dine & Dish, Food + Drink