Went out with my favourite girlfriends from high school. Before when we had night outs, we went to much nicer places that required us to make more of an effort to dress up a little more and spend a little more. Now that we are a little older and thus, more sensitive to our expenses, we opted to go somewhere that was easier on our wallets. Hence, AJISEN RAMEN!
5229 Yonge Street
North York, ON M2N 5P8
Mon - Sun:10:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.
(just a heads up, store hours differ by location)
What makes Ajisen Ramen stand out is that they have good ramen noodles and then have good ramen soups, and it's really hard to find a place uptown that serves a good combination of both. Ramen noodles are particular because they should remain firm and chewy in soup (as opposed to soggy). But the soup bases...you'd have to go ramen place to get these soups.
So, I ordered the Shoyu BBQ Pork Ramen and my friends ordered the Corn with BBQ Pork Ramen and Shoyu BBQ Chicken Ramen. From the pictures in the menu, it seemed like the Corn with BBQ Pork would be exactly the same as my Shoyu BBQ Pork, except that I would have an egg in place of corn and I really wanted that soy-sauced egg. But when our noodles came, she had a different soup base! It was the Tonkotsu base and it looked so good!! It made my Shoyu soup base look so regular. And, hers came with the egg too!! But it's okay, that's just by appearance. Mine was really good too, and my soup was more flavourful than the Tonkotsu, which I liked. (Salty foods taste so good...)
Sometimes the ramen items have a Japanese words in the name. I used to think it was just to make the food seem more culturally authentic. It's not. They actually refer to the type of soup base.
Joanne's Japanese Soup Base Definition List
- Tonkotsu (Japanese for "pork bone") - a white soup that looks almost cloudy. It's boiled with pork bone and fattier pieces of the meat so the broth is a little bit thicker and has a light sweetness from the meat.
- Shoyu (Japanese for "soy sauce") - It's a brown, clear broth with soy suace. It's more salty than the Tonkotsu.
- Miso - Miso is added into the soup base so that it comes out with a thicker soup with a more robust flavour.
- Shio (Japanese for "salt") - a yellowy, clear broth. Like the Shoyu, but instead of soy sauce, they add salt.
Like I said the soups are really what make the dish and that's what Ajisen is famous for. Their toppings (like what meat you order), they are decent, but that's not really what you're going for. The noodle and the soup, that's where the heart of the dish is.
Discretionary message: The soup looks really oily in the last picture... it didn't look that oily in person!!
Thanks to my lovely friends for taking pictures of the food for me with their iPhone 4's since I left my memory card at home.
Click to read Part 2, the dessert part, at Capriccio Cafe