Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Restaurant’ Category

Adelaide doesn’t have a huge Japanese population compared to the big three (Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane) but we do have our share of half-decent sushi places (that are actually run by Japanese, which most aren’t).  Our Chinese and S.E. Asian population on the other hand is very healthy and growing each year.  I am happily able to get a really good won ton mein or Pho or Kuay Teow but we didn’t have a ramen restaurant at all – until now!!  I was sooo excited when I heard that a real ramen restaurant arrived in Adelaide!  In Japan, there are reportedly 16,000 ramen restaurants (in a country small enough to fit into the state of California!)

Outside Ajisen

Outside Ajisen

Inside

Inside the Restaurant

Cheery Little Napkin

Cheery Little Napkin

Fried Garlic to the left, Japanese Chili on the right

Fried Garlic to the left, Japanese Chili on the right

Chashu Ramen

Chashu Ramen

Spare Rib Ramen

Spare Rib Ramen

Ajisen ramen, a chain from Kumamoto, Japan has opened a small outlet on Leigh Street (the tiny lane off Hindley St).  They are open everyday except Sundays and are open for lunch and dinner.  Every time I pass by the place, it is packed!  I had to make a reservation one lunch with two girlfriends so that we could guarantee ourselves a table and that’s rather unheard of in noodle joints!  BusinessWeek Asia says that Ajisen (meaning a “thousand tastes”) is planning to open about 500 outlets in China alone!

Ajisen’s signature broth is the tonkotsu or pork broth with its slightly cloudy, white colour.  Tonkotsu is very different from miso, shio, or shoyu ramen that you can get in Japan.  It is my absolute favourite broth in a ramen and I was very excited!  Because I was judging for authenticity, I decided on a traditional Chashu Men, or in Chinese, Char Siu Mein. Japanese style pork tenderloin sliced thin, floating on fresh noodles in pork broth ($10AU).  Yum!  My friend Katie also ordered the same but Jacqui ordered the ramen with Spare Ribs in the same broth.  Both the pork tenderloin and the ribs were melt-in-your-mouth tender and the noodles were cooked just right, with a slight bite to them.  There were about 20 different ramens to choose from including stir-fried yakisoba.

No ramen eating experience is complete without gyoza.  Although our server forgot about it until after we had practically finished our ramen, the gyoza tasted homemade, was very generous in size with a lovely crisp skin and juicy pork filling.

Gyoza w/Dipping Sauce

Gyoza w/Dipping Sauce

Don’t forget to try some of the fried garlic topping sitting on every table to sprinkle on your ramen.  Beware, it’s very strong!  What I found interesting is that the bottle is written entirely in Japanese with NO translations anywhere but I suspect that people will eventually figure it out.

All in all, you get a lot of food for very little money and I would definitely recommend it (just don’t expect much from the service) – and not because it’s the sole ramen restaurant in Adelaide.  It is definitely a great fast meal before seeing a movie.  Service was rather forgetful and confused but I usually give up getting much service in this city so it wasn’t a huge shock to me.  Definitely a tasty, inexpensive and warming meal – especially in winter!

Read Full Post »

My favorite place to have breakfast in Maui is at the Gazebo Restaurant at the Outrigger Napili Shores resort in Napili Bay (just above the bustling resort area of Ka’anapali). I first ate there almost 10 years ago when working for the travel industry and it is still as busy today as it was back then. According to TripAdvisor.com, the Gazebo Restaurant has been voted by travelers as #1 out of 125 restaurants in Lahaina. Wow, I am surprised that a breakfast and lunch place beat out numerous high-end dinner restaurants. What makes this place so popular? It is a combination of the oceanfront view (and a direct view of Moloka’i), generous portions, great pancakes, fast and friendly service and great prices – after all, in a place as expensive as Maui, a bargain is hard to find when it comes to dining out.

Let me warn you that no matter what time you arrive to eat, there will be a long line to get in but I’ve never waited any longer than 30 minutes (although I’ve heard some people waiting longer than an hour). If you go to Maui during whale season, you will most likely see whales and/or dolphins breaching while waiting in line. There is even a large bell that the hotel encourage that you ring to notify everyone else that you have spotted a whale. The hotel is also nice enough to provide a large urn of coffee for the hotel guests and people standing in line for the Gazebo free of charge. Hey but you’re on vacation so waiting shouldn’t be a huge deal right? If you hate waiting, bring a good book.


I love ordering the macadamia pancakes because they are so fluffy and they are very generous with the nuts. They also top the fluffy pancakes with a very light whipped butter and there are several syrups available to eat with the pancakes. This time I went to the restaurant with my mother and we decided to share a short stack of the macadamia, banana and pineapple pancakes (which is one large pancake with the three toppings placed on top) and a half-order of the fried rice and a large pineapple juice all for under $20. If we ordered full sizes, we would have been able to feed four people – not kidding. The fried rice was flavored lightly with soy sauce, onions, lots of black pepper and full of tasty meats – ham, Portuguese sausage, bacon and Spam, topped with some scrabbled egg and green onions (scallions), yum! The fried rice was very fulfilling and it was nice to have the sweet and salty together at breakfast.


Beware of the smart little sparrows though if you order the fried rice! They sit on the glass window panes above the tables and wait to attack your plate and according to the servers, the sparrows love to hone in on the eggs on top the fried rice. I was so surprised when a sparrow grabbed a large piece of egg (mid-air) and did it so quickly that I barely had time to react before the rest of the sparrow gang devoured it on the ground next to me. It was amazing! Never in my life have I seen such smart little birdies…see, even they like the breakfasts there.


Read Full Post »

Sydney Layover

Practically every time I want to leave Australia to go back to the US, I have to stopover in Sydney for a few hours. Sometimes I schedule my flights so that I have a whole day to hang out in Sydney before I board my (usually) evening flight home. This time, I decided not to spend the extra $$ and leave my small carry-on at airport luggage storage and lugged it around the city – bad idea. Living in Adelaide makes me forget what living in a really big city is like and I forgot that there are tons of people and lots of crazy freaky people as well. Dodging traffic and people while rolling my carry-on proved too exhausting so my jaunt lasted only a few hours. In the few hours, I was able to eat at my favorite Japanese hole-in-the-wall restaurant that I ALWAYS manage to eat at (at least once) whenever I go to Sydney.

KURA, Shop 3, 76 Ultimo Rd

Haymarket NSW 2000

Phone (02) 9212 5661

Located in Chinatown (Haymarket area) across from the famous (and tacky tourist trap) Paddy’s Market is a cash only, tiny (about 14 seat capacity) joint that often has a long queue at lunchtime. If people are waiting, you go inside to get a number and wait for your number to be called before going in. On this occasion, because I was alone, I was seated with another single young man in his early 20s eating his lunch. Normally it’s not a big deal to me being seated with a complete stranger but this table was so small that I was less than two feet from him! If I leaned over even slightly, I would be able to kiss his forehead! Needless to say, I didn’t complain but we were both rather uneasy with the intimate space we were sharing in complete silence. We didn’t even glance at each other nor did we make eye contact (he was listening to his iPod). The food is so good that I was willing to put up with this type of discomfort (and that’s saying a lot)! It isn’t gourmet but it is good quality, home-cooking at fantastic prices! Everything is good here but I especially come here to get either the chirashi or sushi combination with only costs about $10. They have daily lunch specials that come with miso soup and the takoyaki here is authentic and tasty.  This time I couldn’t help but get the six-piece aburi (lightly grilled on top but kept raw underneath) salmon sushi and mini udon special even though I knew I’d get fed soon on the plane. Yummy! This place is pretty authentic and is a great place for good Japanese food for a great price. Just remember that just like in busy restaurants in Japan, they want you to pay for your meal right after you order it so don’t be surprised by their polite request for you to do so!

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts

%d bloggers like this: