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Although ramen and rice dishes are a major player in Japan’s cuisine, they are often overshadowed in Australia by the massively popular sushi, and far fewer Japanese restaurants in and around Melbourne’s Chinatown dedicate their menus to the delicious and versatile noodle soup. Having started in Kumamoto on Japan’s south island of Kyushu in 1968, Ajisen Ramen has developed into an international chain, with its Melbourne representative located on Bourke Street.
Ajisen boasts a menu of over 30 ramen recipes as well as a selection of donburi (meat and rice), traditional Japanese appetizers like takoyaki (octopus) and unagi (eel), bento boxes and salads. Miso ramen and shoyu ramen are among the very traditional recipes offered, while a modern Australian influence has led to more edgy and controversial creations, like the spicy spare ribs ramen or the Aussie outback ramen with bacon, sausage, eggs and – wait for it – pineapple, which are sure to raise a few Japanese eyebrows. Take note of the menu’s small chilli symbols that represent spiciness, dishes rated two or three mean serious business! Service here is fast, prices are low and meals are tasty, making Ajisen a popular lunch destination for both CBD suits and students.