Once upon a time, in a city called Adelaide, far away to the south, I had my first bowl of ramen. In those days, ramen was hard to come by in Adelaide. So I had to settle for a chain store called Ajisen Ramen, and I really didn’t mind it.
It’s a few years later, and my Sydney ramen journey has finally brought me to the Ajisen Ramen store in World Square. I can’t compare my Adelaide experiences to the bowls of ramen I’ve had in Sydney, because I had no benchmark at the time and I don’t really remember anything except I quite liked it.
Enter Ajisen Ramen, World Square. I ordered the ramen with ribs, chashu and karaage, as I wanted to try all the meat on offer and I was feeling a little peckish.
It came with a hard boiled half egg and some of those nice mushrooms, as well as cabbage which helped the pork ribs stay out of the liquid. To my hungry belly, the first sips of soup tasted wonderful. I really do think that the top layer of this ramen was quite respectable. Very thin liquid, but a nice taste of garlic and other flavours and not the boring, unitarian pork flavour of Tenkomori. The chashu was middle of the road, the karaage was nice and crispy and juicy, and the parts of the ribs which weren’t burnt to a state of unhappiness had a nice flavour. Underneath this fun layer, though, things got a little bland.
I didn’t finish my noodles, as they started out al dente but with a cardboard texture which soon turned to soggy cardboard texture. I didn’t finish the soup as under the exciting layer, it just turned to pork. What started out as a promising bowl seemed to lose its lustre as my hunger pangs were sated with all the meat on top.
Overall, this bowl exceeded Tenkomori’s quality but was still not up there with the better bowls of ramen I’ve tried on my adventure. I have plans to cut the worst places from my list and revisit all of the ramen establishments I enjoyed to provide (hopefully) a numbered, fairly definitive list of ramen establishments. Ajisen will not feature on that list.