Ajisen serves Japanese hand-pulled 'ramen'noodles
By Lu Chang, Shanghai Star. 2001-01-04
THE red lanterns hanging outside make the Japanese Ajisen Ramen restaurant on Huaihai Lu eye-catching.
Japanese "ramen," similar pronunciation to Chinese "la mian," refers to hand pulled noodles.
The design inside is pure Japanese - a "byobu" (screen with pictures on it), the light from the white lanterns, and especially the "good evening" in Japanese from the waitresses.
Although having the same meaning, Chinese "la mian" and Japanese "ramen" have totally different flavours.
"La mian" from Lanzhou were the first known hand-pulled noodles in China.
The fame and good taste of "la mian" have spread for years. The cooking and ingredients of Lanzhou noodles share the same bold quality as the people in western China.
Not as delicate as the Japanese version, these noodles are usually served in a big bowl with large cubes of meat.
However, the refined Japanese "ramen" is prepared with extra care in a wooden bowl.
The menu in the restaurant has about 20 different kinds of "ramen," both those stewed with soup and stir-fried.
The difference is not in the soup, which is said to be made through a unique and secret method, but in the ingredients.
Whichever noodles you choose, don't forget to dust some diced garlic powder onto them to add more fragrance.
Some dim sum can't be ignored, such as the mushroom rolled with pork, not greasy but tender and crisp, and a good combination of nutrition.
Eating noodles symbolizes longevity in China, so why not try some at the beginning of a new century and ask a blessing for yourself.
Four shops of Ajisen Ramen
518 Huaihai Zhonglu (6372-5547)
1 Hongqiao Lu inside the Grand Gateway Plaza (6407-5130)
327 Nanjing Donglu (6360-7194)
2058 Sichuan Beilu (5666-3739)