Pho A Dong: A Piece of Vietnam in Las Cruces

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Nestled away near the corner of Amador and Mesquite is an unassuming family-owned restaurant that serves some of the best Asian food in Las Cruces. The location has previously been home to several other restaurants, but Pho A Dong is perhaps the most unique and successful venues to arrive at that location.

Pho A Dong is the second Vietnamese restaurant to arrive in Las Cruces. Unlike Pho Saigon on El Paseo, however, Pho A Dong is family-owned and not affiliated with any major franchises. The environment is friendly and welcoming, and the menu is more extensive and authentic than that offered by its more mainstream competitor.

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Background

Pho A Dong is owned by the Nguyen family, who came to the U.S. in 1986. After living in San Diego for several years, they relocated to Las Cruces 14 years ago. Pho A Dong is the local branch of their family restaurant, which also has a location in San Diego and back in Vietnam. Additionally, the Nguyen family owns a culinary school in Vietnam, which goes a long way to explain why their restaurant food is so delicious.

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Vietnamese Food for the Uninitiated

If you’re unfamiliar with Vietnamese cuisine, the menu at Pho A Dong might be a bit daunting. The severs are happy to answer your questions, but here are a few tips to guide you in the right direction:

  • Pho, the signature dish, is the national food of Vietnam. It’s a noodle stew consisting of broth with noodles and chunks of meat. It’s served with a side of condiments and toppings so that you can customize it to suit your palette, and different types of pho will come with different meat, broth and noodle combinations.

  • Common ingredients in Vietnamese cooking include bean sprouts, cilantro, jalapeno and mint leaves. Fish sauce is also a popular ingredient; this salty-sweet sauce is made of fermented fish and makes for a bright, tangy flavor in salads.

  • Vermicelli dishes consist of meat and vegetables served on a bed of pasta. Similarly, rice bowls are meat and vegetables served over rice. Most of these have similar flavors and meat choices as the pho.

  • Banh mi are sandwiches served on crusty French bread. They consist of meat – usually beef, pork or chicken – with a vegetable slaw of cucumbers, carrots, jalapenos and cilantro.

One other thing to keep in mind when ordering: Pho is pronounced “fuh.” Remembering that will make you look like a pro. Of course, if you’re nervous about pronouncing any of the foreign words, you can always order your food by the menu number instead.

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What to Order

In Vietnamese, “Pho A Dong” simply means “soup for sale,” and the restaurant certainly delivers on that promise. It does sell far more than pho, though, and the lengthy menu provides ample variety for diners of every taste.

The menu offers several appetizers, including egg rolls, spring rolls and the very popular Vietnamese “pizza”, which is like a large omelet filled with bean sprouts, chicken and shrimp. There’s also a few vibrant and flavorful salads, including one of bean sprouts, tomatoes, peanuts and beef dressed in a fish sauce vinaigrette. For main dishes, diners can choose from a variety of stews, rice bowls, vermicelli dishes and hot pots.

Or you can order a banh mi sandwich, which consists of meat and vegetable slaw layered onto a crusty French-style loaf. There’s also a page of vegetarian dishes featuring a variety of vegetables and fake meats, making this one of the most vegetarian-friendly restaurants in town.

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In addition to its food, Pho A Dong offers several smoothies, some in exotic flavors, and all of them accompanied by boba, or large tapioca pearls. At present, you can choose between strawberry, mango, jackfruit and avocado; more flavors will be added as the restaurant grows.

Prices are reasonable, with most dishes costing between $7 and $10 and providing ample amounts of food. If you’re eating on a budget, check the vegetarian menu for some very reasonably priced dishes, or order a banh mi for around $5. The Vietnamese pizza is also big enough to share, and at $8.50 it’s one of the best bargains for two people.

If you’re interested in giving Pho A Dong a try, you can stop off to visit it at 504 E. Amador in Las Cruces. Phone: 575-527-9248

You can review them also on UrbanSpoon.

Tiana Bodine About Tiana Bodine

Tiana grew up in a motorhome, traveling the country with her blue collar family. In 2003, she moved to Las Cruces to attend NMSU, and though she's wandered away a few times since, the city's always called her back. When she's not busy scoping out new local businesses and finding ways to save money on entertainment, Tiana moonlights as a video game writer and fantasy novelist. She also blogs at http://tlbodine.blogspot.com

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