Ao Baba: Vietnamese food in Okayama

Vietnamese food has been a staple of my diet until I moved to Japan.  I waited 9 long years for Ao Baba to open its door, it is safe to say that my craving for pho has finally been satisfied.

Pho has been my happy food and I naturally ended up visiting Vietnam a few times to enjoy and wondered why such an amazing food was not available in Okayama.  In the past I ate some pretty amazing pho in Montreal and Paris, but the pho I ate in Japan was sub standard.

Ao Baba is located in the gourmet alley under the Don Quijote store in the center of Okayama. The gourmet alley is connected to the Ichiban Gai underground shopping arcade.

The shop is colorful and well decorated.

It’s a nice feature for the Japanese clientele, but in my opinion, good pho doesn’t need anything else. I have eaten pho on the sidewalk and I was perfectly happy.

The real pho cart in front of Ao Baba reminded me of eating it in the street.
I ordered the pho bo dac bie (special beef combo) and the 3 appetizers

The appetizer consisted of a small nem, a spring roll and green papaya salad served with a shrimp cracker.

The papaya salad was a pleasure to eat. The pho came next.

The beef pho came with a choice of salad or rice and a small dessert. The pho beef combo goes for 950 yen.

The broth was almost perfect and they even had coriander!  The beef combo was good choice and it’s a great bowl of pho for Japan. It’s a bit of a small portion and I wish it was a bit more beefier.

This is what happened to my first bowl of pho in Okayama.

Ao Baba is a busy restaurant and I strongly recommend it with the risk of having to have to wait even more to get in.

I am now very curious to discover the rest of the menu. If you tried anything good, please let me know.

Ao Baba

opens at 11 AM
In in the underground food alley under the Don Quijote.