A free-spirit studying psychology at the University of Sydney.
Published March 30th 2013
Ever heard of the catchy little Japanese word 'umami'? Umami is a naturally occurring savoury flavour in an array of meats, vegetables and dairy products. Our taste buds find it very pleasant and it helps us in deciding what we think is delicious. So, this little thing called umami is the basis of many dishes in the Japanese cuisine, and is the essence of Ajisen Ramen's tasty menu.
We payed a visit to the Hurstville outlet of Ajisen Ramen (270 Forest Rd) today and indulged in some Japanese delicacies - of both the food and drink variety. The menu encompasses a variety of ramen, udon, yakisoba, rice dishes, salads and donburi. There are also a set of side dishes ideal for bite-size accompaniments to other menu selections. Upon a previous visit, we ordered a few of these to create our own little Japanese tapas experience. Included in our selection of side dishes was the certainly savoured Spicy Soft Shell Crab ($6.50).
This visit saw us ordering the Karaage Curry Ramen ($10.95) that consisted of crisp chicken pieces; the Special Spicy Ribs Ramen ($11.95), the Spicy Ribs Don ($10.95), and the side of an Agedashi Tofu ($4.95) which I feel the need to relish upon every visit to a Japanese restaurant. The umami flavour is the basis of the steaming hot broth used in the Ramen dishes and it served its purpose well; it got us concluding that they were delicious, and so very easy to continue lapping up until our tummies were filled to the brim.
The Curry Ramen had a little bit of spiciness to it, which was a nice kick. The 'Donburi' is traditionally meat and vegetables cooked in sauce, over rice. This had the same thumbs up, 'delicious' effect with the sweetness of the soft ribs. I found however, that they lacked the spiciness they were implied to have. I guess this could be a relief for those who aren't fans of the bite on their tongue.
A sweet balance was added to our meal from the drinks menu. Interesting drinks in our order that were colourful and tasted like candy, were the Rose Frappe ($4.50) and the Rose Soda ($3.50). Frappes and sodas also come in melon, orange, mocca and lemon tea flavours. Our sweet senses as well as our umami senses were quite happy.
You can also treat your sweet-tooth to the restaurant's list of desserts. This is comprised of exotic Japanese-flavoured ice creams like the famous Green Tea, the Black Sesame, and the Sticky Rice (each $4.50). Note you can get a triple-scoop combination of ice cream flavours ($5.95) if you agree that one is just not enough.
There are also outlets of this international restaurant chain in the CBD's World Square (85 Liverpool St) and Haymarket (94 Hay St). This means Sydney-siders have plenty of opportunity to enjoy some Ajisen Ramen umami. That is, umami for a good value, a fairly healthy meal, and satisfaction to craving for Japanese cuisine.