Showing posts with label Ramen. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ramen. Show all posts
Ajisen Ramen is a chain based out of Kyushu, Japan, and there are three locations in Ontario. My review on this location was back in late 2012. Unfortunately, that meal was rather disappointing as we felt extremely rushed, and the portions were miniscule. It might not have been an unfair assessment as that dining experience took place about 45 minutes before closing time. We were the only customers at the time, so it could have been the particular staff (at the time) who wanted to clean up and go home.

Since my last review, I have returned to the Chinatown's location a couple of times. They have updated their menu again a couple of months back. The extensive menu offers bright and clear images of the food items. Additionally, in my opinion, their food and service seem to be quite consistent these days. Our severs are often friendly, quick and efficient.

One of my favorite items (and usual order) is their Aijisen shoyu BBQ chicken udon ($9.75). Despite their namesake, I rarely order ramen from Ajisen Ramen as I don't eat ramen all that often. I would eat it occasionally, but my favorite noodles would have to be udon. The udon at Ajisen Ramen is one of my favorites in Toronto. I was sad when I couldn't find it on their updated menu. However, I was informed that the ramen could be substituted for udon (for no additional cost) and I can get it with chicken broth. The chicken broth is a lot lighter than the pork broth used for the ramen soup.

The udon came out hot, and the broth had a good flavor (enhanced by the spices on the table). They actually don't mix the chicken into the broth anymore. Rather, the shoyu BBQ chicken udon would arrive to the table on a sizzling hot plate.

The Japanese deep fried tofu ($5.50) was crispy on the outside, and soft/warm on the insides. Delicious!


Quality of Food: 3.8/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.8/5
Price: $

Address: 332 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON, M5T 1J5

Ajisen Ramen [revisited]

by on Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Ajisen Ramen is a chain based out of Kyushu, Japan, and there are three locations in Ontario. My review on this location was back in late 2...
The 23 days that I spent in Japan was absolutely amazing; one that I will always remember for years to come. I got back into Toronto about 2 weeks ago, and slowly working on my blog posts about my vacation. I started my itinerary about one month prior to my trip and I am happy to say that I managed to complete at least 85% of the things that were on the list.

I was talking to a few friends of mine who are interested in going to the Japan in the future, and they wanted to see my itinerary and planning. So I have decided to post up a small guide for anyone who is interested as well, and hope that it will somewhat help in their planning (coming soon)!!

Tues, Dec 10, 2013 (Day #1)

My boyfriend and I landed at Narita International Airport (NRT) on December 10, 2013 around 3:30 pm. Going through customs and baggage claim didn't take as long as I thought; about 30 minutes or so. However, we were both exhausted from our 13.5 hour flight, and was pretty much starving. So we decided to go to the food court located on the 5th floor of the airport with a fellow passenger whom we were seated next to on the plane.

Since we were in Japan and will be eating a lot of Japanese food in the days to come. I decided to order some pad thai at a place called Jai Thai located on the 5th floor (terminal 1). The shrimp pad thai was ¥1000 and the glass bottle of coke was ¥250. The noodles were decent except that the pad thai dish wasn't spicy at all, even though there was a pepper sign beside the item on the menu.

We finished our meal and went upstairs to catch the complimentary shuttle bus to our hotel, Mercure Narita Hotel. We quickly checked into the hotel, took a shower, and then went straight to bed due to our exhaustive state.

Wed, Dec 11, 2013 (Day #2)

Bayashi Ramen (lunch)

I was really surprised that I didn't suffer from jet lag after we landed as I was able to wake up at 10 am the next morning.

So anyways, we woke up around 10 am and got ready to explore the downtown area of Narita. The first thing that was on my list to explore was the shopping street, Omotesando. Luckily, it was only a 5-10 minutes walk from our hotel. We started walking towards it when we came across a small ramen shop called Bayashi Ramen.

The menu had a small selection of ramen, fried rice dishes, appetizers, and drinks, and all are reasonably priced too. Their customers consist of both locals and tourists, so I was very glad that they were able to provide an English menu.

I ordered fried rice with chicken and small salad (¥800) and a side order of deep-fried gyoza (¥420). I really enjoyed the fried rice but some pieces of the gyoza were slightly burnt on the bottom. Overall, it was a very filling meal and a good way to start the day.

red chili pepper soup noodle topped with sliced pork (¥980)

Address: 533-9, Hanazakicho, Narita city
Hours: 11:00 am to 8:30 pm
Transit: A 5-10 minutes walk from Keisei Narita Station
Payments: Cash only.


The Omotesando is a pathway between JR Narita Station and Naritasan Shinshoji Temple. It is a shopping street full of vendors and restaurants, and they normally open until 5:00 pm. We went into the nearest souvenir shop, and bought a couple of things for family and friends. Most of the key chains and charms were on par with the prices found at Narita Airport which were between ¥350 to ¥600 each item.

The mascot for the city of Narita is an airplane crossed with an eel named Unari-kun. His name is inspired by both the Narita International Airport and Unagi (grilled eel) which is a local food here. There are several souvenirs available with the mascot imprinted on them.

Compared to the Omotesando that I have visited in other cities; I found this one to be rather quiet. We explored the area around mid morning to afternoon so I am assuming that people were working or attending school; hence why the area wasn't crowded at all. Tokyo wasn't like that this at all; it was crazy packed at all hours of the day and night, but I'll blog more about that later on.

Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple

 Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple is a large Buddhist temple founded in the mid-10th century and dedicated to Fudomyo-o. It is located a short walk from the Omotesando street in Narita, Japan. The temple grounds are free to explore, and it was a spectacular view to me. I was amazed at the structural design of the three-storied pagoda. If you happen to be in Narita, and have some free time, then this is a great temple to check out. 

Address: 1 Narita, Narita-shi, Chiba
Hours: 24/7
Fee: Free 
Transit: It is 15 a minute walk from JR Narita Station or Keiseinarita Station.

 The Sōmon entrance at the front of Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple.

 Naritasan Shinshō-ji Temple (Great Main Hall).

Three-storied pagoda.

Shotoku Taishi Hall.

AEON Narita Shopping Center

Aeon Mall is a large shopping mall located in the heart of Narita; it boasts over 160 shops. If you want to drop by the mall from the airport, there are direct shuttle buses that takes you straight to Aeon Mall.

Address: 24, Wing Tsuchiya, Narita, Chiba. 286-0029, Japan
Hours: 9 am to 10 pm
Transit: Take the train to Keisei Narita Station, and go outside to board a pink colored Aeon Mall bus that depart every 10-2 minutes. The ride costs ¥200 per person.


Since we were already at the Aeon Narita Mall; we decided to stop by Saizeriya for dinner, and then head back to the hotel to rest. Saizeriya is a chain Italian restaurant with multiple locations throughout Japan. They specialize in providing Italian cuisine for the family. The prices are amazing for its value and the food was really good for a chain restaurant. I was very surprised that they had a separate non-smoking and smoking areas, as there is no smoking indoors allowed in Canada. This turned out to be a very common thing in Japan, and smoking in restaurants is more than acceptable.

Address: 1st floor inside of Aeon Narita Mall
Hours: 10:00 am to 11 pm (LO is 10:30 pm)
Payments: Cash and credit cards are accepted

 The logo outside of the restaurant.

 Salad with sliced porchetta (¥499).

We order three orders of grilled mussels with veggie salsa (¥399 each) separately as wanted them to be hot from the kitchen.

Both of us got an order each of seafood spaghetti with tomato and cream (¥499 x 2). It was a simple dish but it was delicious nonetheless. For 1 salad, 3 appetizers, 2 main courses, and 2 drinks; the total was only ¥3000 (there's no tipping as the Japanese don't practice this customary).

Day #1 & Day #2 in Japan [Narita]

by on Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The 23 days that I spent in Japan was absolutely amazing; one that I will always remember for years to come. I got back into Toronto about...

Name: Touhenboku Ramen
Cuisine: Japanese / Ramen
Address: 261 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 1Z9

Touhenboku Ramen is the latest restaurant to enter the ramen market in downtown Toronto. It’s located conveniently on Queen St W and is open from 11 am to midnight; perfect for a late night meal. The restaurant officially opened up on November 12, 2013, and I had the opportunity to try it out last week. 

The broth from Touhenboku Ramen differs greatly from other ramen joints, as they use chicken broth rather than the standard pork broth. According to the owner, Zuimei Okuyama, the chicken broth contains a rich amount of collagen which is good for the skin. Chicken broth is commonly used for lighter ramen such as shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt) in Japan, which are both offered at Touhenboku Ramen.

 The ramen are served in porcelain crafted bowls imported from Japan. I was surprised to learn that each bowl was priced at $50, but it does help to maintain the warmth of the ramen much longer.
Touhenboku Ramen features five different ramen with your choice of toppings. All of their ramen are served with your choice of lean pork, rich pork or chicken chashu. Additionally, all bowls come with seaweed, tasty boiled egg, wood ear mushrooms and green onions.

 Original Touhenboku Ramen (white) ($10.50).
Straight forward ramen in a rich creamy chicken broth flavored with sea salt or soya sauce.

 Spicy Touhenboku Ramen (red) ($10.50).
Original ramen with a kick! Incorporated with our special chili oil, it will bring your taste buds to life. Sea salt or soya sauce soup base.

 Garlicky Touhenboku Ramen (black) ($10.50).
Original ramen with our special blend garlic sauce. Wonderful bitter-sweet aroma. Sea salt or soya sauce soup base.

Light Touhenboku Ramen (light) ($10.50).
This clear and light chicken broth with salt adds flavor without being thick.

Chashu ($13.00)
For those who love chashu; comes with 4 pieces of pork or chicken. 

We were presented with a special menu for that day, and given a choice of one of the ramen and dessert. I got the red colored Spicy Touhenboku Ramen with thick noodles, sea salt, and rich pork. It wasn't too spicy but I was pleasantly surprised that the chicken-based ramen was both rich and flavorful. The rich pork was fatty and delicious; definitely a hearty meal. I also forgot to mention earlier that the noodles are made in house with their own noodle machine, which is located in the back of the preparation area. 

 For those who are in the area during the lunch hours; there are also various lunch sets for $14. The set includes your choice of Touhenboku Ramen and Donburi rice bowl.

Although ramen is their specialty; Touhenboku Ramen also offers six different (made in house) Japanese pastries for desserts; all priced at $5.50 each. The pastries are light and not overly sweet which is perfect for when you’re done eating the ramen. I tried the Tomo Creampuff which was a crispy choux puff filled with vanilla custard and loads of whipped cream. The texture of the puff was hard but it complements well with the soft and creamy texture of the whipped cream. Overall, it was an enjoyable dining experience, and I will definitely return to try out other items on their menu. 


Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Touhenboku Ramen on Urbanspoon

Touhenboku Ramen on Urbanspoon

Touhenboku Ramen

by on Friday, November 22, 2013
Name: Touhenboku Ramen Cuisine: Japanese / Ramen Address: 261 Queen Street West, Toronto, ON, M5V 1Z9 Website: http://www...
It has been more than a few months since David Chang brought his Momofuku brand to Toronto. I have always wanted to try the place out since it opened but there were other restaurants on my list that I wanted to eat first. About 2 weeks ago, I finally rounded some friends and we decided to have dinner at Momofuku Noodle Bar. 

The Momofuku building is adjacent to the Shangri-La Hotel and the Momofuku Noodle Bar is on the ground floor of the three-story complex. We all arrived at exactly 5:00 pm which was when they opened up for dinner, so the wait wasn't too long at all. Although, the seating wasn't too comfortable as they only have communal wooden tables with racks underneath for jackets/small bags (coat check is also available).

The menu was basically one page so the choices of food items were a little limited. There were only a few ramen options and the most staple items on the menu would be their Momofuku ramen ($15.00). Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling ramen that night so I didn't order it. However, one of my friends who did ordered it thought that it was decent, but that she had much better and cheaper ramen at other places.

One of the most recommended items on the menu would be their pork buns with scallion, cucumber, hoisin sauce, and wrapped in a white bun. The pork buns (2 for $10) did live up to the hype for me, and was definitely a personal favorite of mine. The bun was both chewy and soft. Additionally, the pork was savory, tender and basically melted in my mouth. 

Rice cakes are definitely one of my favorite Asian appetizers so I was very pleased that they offered it on the menu. The roasted rice cakes ($11.00) were cut into small pieces and topped with sesame and garnish. I enjoyed the chewy and crispiness of the rice cakes. Although, the portion was incredibly small for its price.

One of the guys ordered the cauliflower ($7.00) which I also did not try. 

For my main dish, I ordered the chilled spicy noodles ($14.00). The dish consists of cold noodles, sichuan sausage, black bean, and topped with cashews. I was a little underwhelmed with my meal as it was more salty than spicy.

Another friend ordered the hanger steak ($18.00). I tried a piece of the steak and thought that the steak was very tender. He enjoyed his meal though.

Overall, I found that the hype surrounding Momofuku Noodle Bar was pretty overrated. The food was pretty decent, but not super memorable. Momofuku Noodle Bar is however a great place to have a casual meal with friends over some shared dishes and sake. I found the service to be very prompt and the staff was friendly. I'd come back here; mainly for the pork buns.


Quality of Food: 3.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$

Address: 190 University Avenue (Ground Floor), Toronto, ON M5H 0A3

Momofuku Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

Momofuku Noodle Bar

by on Friday, March 15, 2013
It has been more than a few months since David Chang brought his Momofuku brand to Toronto. I have always wanted to try the place out since...
I used to eat quite frequently at Ajisen Ramen when it first opened in Chinatown. However, since they re-did the entire menus; the food prices has been steadily increasing while the food quality and portions has significantly decreased. 

The tom yum lamb teppanyaki ramen ($8.99) was a decent ramen dish. Its broth was kind of salty, and left me really thirsty which could be attributed to MSG in the soup.

One of my favorite non-ramen dishes would be the shoyu BBQ chicken udon ($9.75). The picture to the right is of the udon (taken before I even started eating). As you can tell from the picture; the potion was pretty skimpy, and there was not a lot of noodles or chicken in my bowl. Although, the portions were pretty disappointing, the udon dish did taste rather good. One thing that I can really say about this particular dish was that the soup base was very flavorful.

I also ordered the Japanese deep fried tofu ($4.99) as an appetizer. The dish came with five pieces (5th piece is hidden underneath in the photo) of deep fried tofu dipped in dashi sauce. Three out of the five pieces were a little burnt. The tofu was soft on the inside but the batter tasted like they overused the cooking oil; wasn't very appetizing.

In terms of service, Ajisen Ramen wasn't horrible per-se as the food arrived pretty quickly. However, the servers' attitudes were pretty stoic and a majority of them conveys absolutely no emotions (no smiling or anything). Overall, the service was just average. Ajisen Ramen has a great selection of ramen and other non-noodles dishes, so there's something for everyone. Ajisen Ramen is a decent place to go to for a quick lunch or dinner, but there are other better places for ramen.


Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $

Address: 332 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON, M5T 1J5

Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon

Ajisen Ramen

by on Monday, September 17, 2012
I used to eat quite frequently at Ajisen Ramen when it first opened in Chinatown. However, since they re-did the entire menus; the food pri...