Eating at Ajisen Ramen is like teleporting yourself to malls in Asia where young people bond over a hot steaming bowl of noodle soup. Not only it is very filling and tasty, but the prices won't drain a young student's allowance.
And of course, at the malls in Asia, the decor is very important to attract these young kids. They have to be cute and cool. Ajisen's mascot is a cute Asian girl who is forever winking at you. *Wink Wink*
Ajisen seems to attract the young crowd and Asian. (It must be the cutesy decor since we share a DNA with Hello Kitty.) And of course, pretty much every hungry mall shopper. However, the two times I've been there I was sitting right next to mostly very young Asian kids. There were two teens who were having a lively discussion on what to order based on their budget. They decided to order the cheapest ramen on the menu so they had more money for shopping. I thought that was cute.
Contrary to complaints of slow and lackadaisical service posted by others, the service was efficient, quick and friendly. There's a lit up menu board but you get seated first and your server will take your order. No need to go up to the counter.
SF SHOPPING CENTER LOCATION:
What I really love about Ajisen is the convenience factor. For someone like me who uses BART as the major public transportation, it delivers me right at Ajisen. It is located at SF Shopping Center's Food Court. I get off BART, slurp my noodles at Ajisen, walk around the mall for a little bit to burn the calories, then jump back on BART without having to step on the streets.
SIGNATURE AJISEN RAMEN:
I've have been to Ajisen twice--first time was on a cold storming day in SF. I had the Ajisen Ramen with pork based broth, meat and veggies. The broth was very "creamy," pork-y, flavorful and nice. I did not eat the thin pork slices but I heard a young person right next to me saying to her gf in between slurps, "I like the meat. It's good!"
Last Friday, on a super gorgeous day in SF, I came here again after shopping in SF. Since my guy is working a little later I decided to not go home yet. Although the weather was warm and sunny, I had the Veggie Ramen. This was a pretty and colorful bowl. The shoyu broth was lighter than the pork-based one but very nice and flavorful. It was loaded with veggies including shitake mushroom that added a nice earthy flavor to the ramen experience.
Contrary to some of the reviews that the ramen at Ajisen is bland and lacking in flavor, I found the soup to be flavorful, comforting and filling --just like how a bowl of soup should be. The noodles are okay; neither soggy or chewy.
PORTIONS: The portions are generous and enough to satisfy your hunger.
SNACKS: Ajisen also sells apps like gyoza, fried tofu, etc. and rice plates like eel, pork katsu, etc They also sell flavored iced teas and bobbas. I had the Mango Iced Tea ($3.50) with my veggie ramen and it was refreshing.
PRICES: About $8.99 to $9.99 per bowl. A little bit more expensive than pho, but very reasonable for the portions, IMO.
Foodie Girl's Rating: 3.5 Stars
0 Star: Never again!!! These people should not be in business.
1 Star: Chalk it to bad experience. Live and learn.
2 Stars: Some are good. Some are okay. Some are bad.
3 Stars: Like! I will return!
4 Stars: Love! I will be dreaming of you at night!
5 Stars: Perfection (or close to!)