Ajisen is the ramen of eternal hope and reliable disappointment. This international chain has a knack for finding me in desperate circumstances and failing me anew each time.
My first time was at Ajisen in the Century City mall in LA. At last, ramen at the local food court! This was 2005, mind you. The ramen was flavorless, and the noodles were soggy.
My second time was in Hangzhou, two hours from Beijing, when I took refuge from a downpour inside an Ajisen and was not surprised to find that the noodles were soggier than I.
Today I learned that I have learned nothing. It is snowing, I was near the culinary black hole of Penn Station, and my baser instincts took hold.
No question, this was one of the worst bowls of ramen I have ever had. Tom Yum flavor does not belong in ramen broth, and no, 22-year-old waitress from Iowa, it certainly does not go with extra curry sauce. The chicken was over-sauced (over-pasted?) with lip-puckering pungency. And the noodles– well, you can guess. The lingering aftertaste reminds me of the morning after a fraternity party.
Fool me once… etc.