Ajisen Ramen

Restaurant: Ajisen Ramen

Cuisine: Japanese/Ramen
Last visited: November 3, 09

Area: Richmond, BC
Unit 1190 – 4380 No. 3 Road (East entrance of Parker Place Mall – on Hazelbridge)
Price Range: $10-201: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 2 (Service was fine, but everything was sold out at 6pm!??)
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 2
Additional comments:

  • Specializes in ramen
  • Originates from Japan – chain restaurant
  • Chinese operated
  • Chinese-style ramen
  • Not curly ramen noodles – straight spaghetti-like “ramen
  • Extensive menu
  • Imported ingredients
  • Large selection of snacks
  • Small selection of bubble tea
  • Very brightly lit, spacious
  • Lunch specials M-F 11:30am-5:30pm
**Recommendation: Tenderous Rib Ramen (which I didn’t get to try b/c they were “sold-out” at 6:30pm, yet at 8pm it was available), Tom Yum Thai Ramen, Tofu baked with fish roeThe popularity of ramen or noodle shops has boomed and continues to boom at a rapid rate in Vancouver. With so many ramen shops to chose from it becomes noticeable when a place isn’t able to match up. Compared to it’s competitors, Ajisen Ramen falls short – in the broth, noodles, and toppings. Even though it originates from Japan and they emphasize their use of imported quality ingredients, the food here still has a mass produced taste and quality. Since it’s a Japanese chain setting foot in Canada I am going to assume that the quality control is difficult to manage. Their menu is just too wide-spread and they no longer become “specialized” in ramen.

If you’re familiar with your ramen noodles, then this place won’t cut it. Yes it has an extensive menu and lots of variety, but if you’re serious about your ramen – then this place is just for kids, families, quick lunches or late-night snacks.

On the table:

  • Pork Ramen 2.5/6
    • Ramen noodles served with BBQ pork and bean sprouts $7.99
    • It doesn’t look like the picture obviously.
    • It’s not as thick or rich as the pork broth offered at G-men or Kintaro. I didn’t get that slow cooked flavour, even though I know they do it…they just don’t do it as well as other places.
    • The pork pieces aren’t very good either. It’s lean shavings of pork, it almost looks like the stuff you would get at an Asian deli counter. It would be better in a sandwich than in a ramen bowl. It seemed more Chinese than Japanese to me.
    • The pork pieces they gave us in the bowl were I bet the end pieces. They were different pieces than the BBQ pork slices we had in all out other ramen bowls.
    • The ramen noodles aren’t the curly kind. It tastes like spaghetti noodles. I didn’t like it at all. They cook the noodles for 2-3 min. so that they’re chewy, but they’re still not good. I 100% prefer the curly noodles most ramen shops will serve.
  • Miso BBQ Pork Ramen 2.5/6
    • It came with half a boiled tea egg, green onions, bean sprouts, BBQ pork and wood ear mushrooms $7.50
    • It came with 5 slices of BBQ pork (even though the picture shows 3), which is more than usual places will serve. The quality of their pork isn’t as good, it’s not as tender or flavourful, and the slices are a lot thinner than places like Kintaro.
    • The broth was a little spicy, which was unexpected for a Miso broth. It kind of tasted like they cooked it with those chili marinated bamboo shoots that come in a jar and added a little Miso paste.
    • The one at Kintaro’s and G-Men is way better.
  • **Tom Yum Ramen 3.5/6
    • It came with half a boiled tea egg, wood ear mushrooms, BBQ pork, bean sprouts, green onions, cilantro and limes $7.99
    • A Thai-style ramen bowl – the broth is sour and spicy. It’s made with galangal (a type of ginger), lemongrass, soy, fresh chili and herbs. They also use the shrimp shells and shrimp heads to make a concentrated paste and they use it in the broth.
    • This was actually the best one out of all the ramen bowls we ordered. It had the most flavours. It stood out against all the others and it looks spicier than it is. This one only had 4 slices of BBQ pork – they’re not very consistent, each ramen bowl has a different amount.
    • I’ve never really had anything like it, so I enjoyed it. The only thing comparable is a Malaysian laksa, and in that case I like laksa better.
  • BBQ Shrimp Ramen 2/6
    • Ramen with bean sprouts and BBQ shrimp $7.99
    • This was a bit bland and boring, it was the last ramen bowl we finished because nobody was really feeling it. I think they use the shrimp shells to cook the broth, hence the milky colour. It had the least amount of toppings and was one of the expensive ones. I wouldn’t order this one again.
    • The BBQ shrimps are from Thailand and they put them on bamboo sticks before barbequing them. They were overcooked and a bit dry. The shrimps were maybe better than the ramen soup though. The soup was not hot enough either.
  • Grilled Eel Japanese Fried Rice 2/6
    • A Japanese style fried rice made with Japanese rice, diced eel, carrots, green onions, and scrambled egg. $8.99 (More expensive than a ramen bowl, and not worth it)
    • This was very average. There’s no guessing what it would taste like, it’s exactly what it is. It was a bit sticky, like sushi rice is and the veggies were very finely cut. There was little bits of eel, but not enough for the price you pay. The pieces were small and a bit dry.
    • The portion was a bit small, and I actually prefer my eel baked, alone, or in a roll.
  • **Tofu baked with fish roe 4.5/6
    • It’s soft tofu covered with a layer of fish roe mixed with Japanese mayo to form a paste. They put a layer of this “fish roe paste” on top of the tofu and bake it. $4.50
    • This is one of their most popular snacks and I enjoyed it a lot! It was a simple recipe and well executed. It’s soft, salty, creamy and a little crunchy from the fish roe. I love the texture. It’s decadent for a snack, but I would order it again for sure.
  • BBQ Pork Riceball 1/6
    • This was a Japanese style rice ball with BBQ pork inside and seaweed wrapped around it $2.50
    • This looked way better on the menu. It looked dry and it was dry. There was hardly anything to it. I basically broke it up and was surprised to find no filling. It was actually sushi rice mixed with dry shredded pork molded into a triangle. There was not much pork and almost no flavour.

After I mixed the BBQ Pork Riceball

  • California Roll 3/6
    • This was also recommended, but I bet people like it because of the size $4.75
    • It’s pretty big. It doesn’t look like your average California roll and it is good, but also nothing spectacular. I do like how they roll it in masago though. It comes in 4 big pieces, but they use the rice to make it look big.


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