Ajisen: Taipei in the Heart of Kurashiki

I’ve been to Ajisen ramen  shop 4 times in the last month or so, it’s that good!   Ajisen ramen is often on my mind and as I write this, I am wondering when I can go back.  Why is it so good?

Ajisen is an old Kurashiki restaurant, my wife told me that the original restaurant was a tiny little shack that grew into a  modern restaurant with a nice open kitchen. Ajisen offers Taiwan food and Taipei ramen.

Japanese food in general is not really spicy, so it’s a good thing that the Ajisen ramen is located in front of a fire and ambulance station , because the food is burning hot!   Most dishes are offered in 3 grade of hotness: normal, hot and too hot!   I’ve had the too hot Taipei ramen and I was sweating and chugging water by the glass full.

The menu is pretty diversified and I am on a mission to try every single item offered in this restaurant. So far, I had chicken wings, fried rice, a spinach soup, Taipei ramen, yakisoba, glass noodles with seafood, sweet and sour pork and my favorite, the bloody amazing deep-fried chicken.

First, the ramen stands out for the over all good taste.  It’s served with green onion, minced meat and hot peppers.  The noodles are just right, great texture.   The soup is simple, yet complex. I’ve had the too hot and the normal ramen and I prefer the less spicy version which pushes the simple good taste up front and still offer plenty of spicy goodness.

Now, let’s talk about the show stopper. Ajisen fried chicken (karaage ??? ) is mind-blowing good. In general, I  find Japanese fried chicken to be a bit too fatty for me, but Ajisen chicken is lean, perfectly crisp and spicy.  The fried chicken is finished in a wok with a ton of pepper flakes and cashew nuts.  The mayonnaise is a nice complement for the spiciness of the dish.

Beyond the food, the service at Ajisen is particularly good.   Japan is the land of good service, but the staff are doing an impressive job to serve the clients.  I’ve been there 3 times right after the 11h30 opening and the restaurant was full in less than 10 minutes!  The kitchen is quiet, the cooks all know exactly what they are doing. They work fast in a perfectly choreographed ballet.

I am hungry as I finish writing this post and the only think I can think about is the fried chicken.

If you go and try it, let me know what you think.   I warn you, this place is addictive.


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