I'm officially running out of places to have a quick, hassle-free, cheap Japanese lunch in the city. At times like this, I wonder why don't I live in places like Hong Kong instead - where you can find even the most appaling examples of Japanese food (wafu beef stroganoff at Tsim Sha Tsui, anyone?). Even in a city as cosmopolitan as Sydney which is blessed with diverse and abundant culinary choices, VERY demanding people such as myself often wonder, "where can I find a good taraba crab rice doria a walking distance away from Pitt Street mall?"
That said, I took a surprisingly un-me step one day and decided to eat at Ajisen Ramen. You know, that ubiquitous, seemingly-mediocre Japanese ramen chain. It seems that you can't escape Ajisen anywhere you go - It's practically the first restaurant you see when you stepped out of the customs area in Hong Kong's Chek Lap Kok, it's in every major shopping mall in Singapore, it's crowded with schoolkids in Jakarta, and a couple of years ago it opened its door in our very own Sydney.
In fact - I'm so sick of looking at that min-min (or min-may or any quintessentially-Chinese name according to the Japanese) mascot I want to literally scald her face with hot ramen broth (okay, that might be too cruel). Not to mention that the said mascot's image has been identified with any product that has anything to do with noodles - so in China, the image has been unlawfully used on lots and lots of noodle products. It's like, slap that mascot's image on a product and you know that it's a noodle.
-> Too heavy on the oil. The tonkotsu soup is essentially made up of FAT, so I see no reason why they should add extra layer of oil by drenching that freshly deep-fried chicken cutlet on it. So in conclusion, this ramen is BAD for your heart. And your figure. Which means that it's delicious.
-> Another surprisingly good dish. No wonder Ajisen is very popular worldwide - their food is actually not THAT bad. I actually define this dish as "good but I won't be craving it anytime soon"-type of dish.