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Aobaba on Capel St: Banh Mi!

Banh Mi and Pho from Aobaba

One of the absolute best sandwiches of my life was a Vietnamese Banh Mi, eaten in New York’s Chinatown with my great friend Hegsie two years ago. This food came about as a result of French colonialism in Vietnam – it’ s a French-style baguette combined with fresh, spicy Vietnamese ingredients, and is both delicious and cheap. The version we got in Chinatown cost about $2.60 and I still think of it with abiding love today.

I have waited impatiently for the banh mi trend to catch on here (enough burritos! more Vietnamese!). And so I was really delighted to find out recently that Aobaba, a new place on Capel St is serving not only banh mi but also Vietnamese soups such as pho, alongside bubble tea*. (Big thanks to @hapawawa on Twitter for the tip). I nipped in there for lunch recently and was really impressed with the food and the prices.

My banh mi, with Vietnamese pork roll, coriander leaves, grated carrot, fresh chilli and Vietnamese pate was €4. A cup of Pho was €3.50, or a full bowl cost €5.50. A cup and the sandwich made for a very satisfying lunch that I couldn’t quite finish.

I had thought that Pho was a richly beefy broth, but the version at Aobaba came in a quite mild, thin broth that was not particularly flavoursome but was very comforting and warming. The sandwich fillings were fantastic, very fresh and spicy. The bread was a little chewy and I thought it could have been fresher, but was impressed when the lady behind the counter apologised without me even mentioning it – she said that as it was a Sunday, the bread had been baked the day before and is always fresh during the week. I’ll definitely be back for lunch again. There’s three or four varities of soup, spring rolls, summer rolls with rice paper and a choice of fillings for your banh mi. Hurray!

Have you tried Aobaba? What do you think?

*By the way, can someone please explain bubble tea to me? Do you eat the bubbles? Does it taste of tea or is it like a milkshake or a smoothie or what? Aobaba had such a range of types and flavours that I got too bewildered to order any.


  1. would love to know what bubble tea is too!

  2. Bubble tea is the best! You suck the bubbles up through the oversized straw and chew them. If they’re not to your taste (lots of people I’ve convinced to try it haven’t been fans) you can swap them for a variety of flavoured jellies. Coconut is my favourite.

    It doesn’t taste massively of tea unless you get a tea-flavoured one (if that makes sense). You can usually choose between a milky flavoured or a fruit flavoured.

    So glad there’s a Vietnamese restaurant/cafe opened in Dubln. Bahn mi and pho are the absolute delicious. Hopefully they’ll add Bun to the menu too.

  3. The bubble tea sounds fun, I shall try it very soon. I lived in Paris’ Chinatown for a while, tasted a lot of new, weird-sounding things. Sometimes regretted it but along the way I made great discoveries. I also loved Tibetan’s yak butter tea, even though the name sounds a bit yuck. And I always loved the fresh flavours of Vietnamese Food. Thanks for the review

  4. OMG This is the best news ever, you have just made my day/weekend!!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  5. i agree with jean’s post that their version of Pho is quite mild, was expecting some richness on the broth. me thinks we were in on the same day, someone on table one ordered same thing. if jean agrees, i would be the only guy on the other table waiting for my take-away.

    their Pho reminds me though of Cambodian noodle soup i had way back. but dont get me wrong, i thoroughly enjoyed this as my take-away lunch, with the spring roll and Honeydew Milk Tea w/ pearls. its great value for money. it has to be take-away for me, since the place still smells of fresh paint, that’s the only let-down for me.

  6. sounds interesting. I thought that place was only bubble tea. Absolutely no vietnamese places to eat in Dublin, such a shame as its utterly delicious, quick, cheap and cheerful.

    Will try it soon!


  7. The bubbles in bubble tea are tapioca. It seems to be one of those things you either love or hate. Have just moved back from London and was missing the Vietnamese places over there, great to see Dublin has one now!

  8. Hi All, there are dedicated Bubble tea shops now in Dublin, they are called Bubblicity and have a huge, delicious range, they are at George’s street Arcadia, Nassau street and there is another about to open on middle Abbey street

  9. bubble tea is glutinous rice made into balls. they are very good. i’ve been looking for pho since moving to ireland and can’t wait to try this place out. thanks for the review.

  10. A few places do it now but Bubblicity is by far the best. They have a bigger selection of flavours and the staff are so friendly. We go there most weekends to hang out and they have a cool retro video game. I really want them to open more…nearer my house to I dont have to travel!! mmmmm bubble tea

  11. Hi All,

    We’re opening a Vietnamese restaurant in Dublin in the coming months. Keep an eye on us at or There’ll be no bubble tea, but we’re working on some really good banh mi, pho and Vietnamese coffee.

    Mama San