| As far as I know, Pho Tre Bien is the only place in the Southern New Mexico area that serves authentic Vietnamese food. I was told it has been opened in the last year or so. Its clientele consists not just Vietnamese, but a wide collection of people from various backgrounds. Because the dishes are very reasonably priced, it has become a favorite lunch spot in the area.
It usually has a pleasant atmosphere. In some rare instances, someone in the back might play a CD that is a bit too loud or too upbeat. Its entrance has a nice bamboo water fountain surrounded by some cymbidium and other plants. Among the green foliage one can find a small statue of Buddha sitting behind an incense holder.
The interior is decorated with authentic Vietnamese painting and one side of wall is a façade of a village house, where bamboo knit mats are draped and a small protruding paper window opens to the dining area.
The appetizer I usually order is the shrimp spring rolls. Cooked shrimp, lettuce, rice noodle, and bean sprouts are nicely packed into two soft shelled white rice wrappers. It is served with a unique sauce that consists of peanuts, hoi shun (hai xian) source, and other ingredients. Along with the appetizer, I have them bring my son some grilled chicken or beef, which is excellent.
For drink, I usually have the Thai iced tea, which is rich and creamy. It comes with tapioca and it is topped with whip cream. For my little boy, he can never get enough of that chilled fresh coconut juice.
My favorite is Pho. It comes in two sizes (small or large) and one can pick various combinations of topping (rare steak, tendon, strips, brisket, meat balls or a mix of them). Before the hot bowl of soup is bought forth, a fresh dish of vegetables and herbs is presented. The dish contains some fresh basil, bean sprouts, slices of lime, slices of jalapeño, and a few other fresh veggies that are in season. The soup consists of soft white rice noodles topped with the meat of your choice, immersed in a hot concoction of spices and flavors. As far as I can tell, the soup is as flavorful as most of the Vietnamese restaurants I visited in Honolulu. I have tried the Bun Bo Hue here, but the noodles reminds me too much of spaghetti and the soup I find it less flavorful (read: spicy) than what I had in Hawaii. For the people who don’t have any taste on pig’s feet, it is important to let the waitress know before the order is placed.