Name: Meiji Japanese cafe
Location: 105 Little Bourke St CBD
Cost: $10-15 for pot rice, dinner menu can extend up to $20
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Would I come back? Yes.

paper screen

A wall partition/divide space and filter light/Tranquil ambiance


Peace in a glass bowl/Are things going ‘swimmingly’?/They are for these fish.

Meiji is a small Japanese place with cosy décor. There are paper screens, beer flags and even a fishbowl. Meiji does something I haen’t seen at other casual Japanese places– pot rice. It’s a rustic rice dish with toppings, a little bit like a ‘donburi’ but the rice is more flavoured with the ingredients . Think of it as a cross between fried rice and donburi, with everything steamed together in a claypot. (Not that it is served in a claypot at Meiji, but the way they serve it is also charming.)

Everything else (bento and ramen) aren’t done as well as the pot rices, and frankly, there are better places for bento and ramen nearby. Go to Meiji for their pot-rices.

GOMOKU GOHAN (5 ingredient rice medley) ($10)
Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

gomoku gohan

Chicken, egg and prawn?/Three protein sources in one/ Oh wait, make that four.


Bowlful with all things/Still another two bowls left/ But… so delicious

Meiji does the pot of rice flavoured with many ingredients as it is cooking. Sometimes I read up on gomoku gohan in Japanese cuisine books, and it looks like the perfect winter/autumn food. The rice servings in these pot-rices are fairly large, there 2 bowlfuls in there. For gomoku goban, there is chicken, prawn, quail egg, soft omelette slices, ginko nuts, something like beans crossed with water spinach (fern bracken?) and shiitake mushrooms.
Out of all the pot-rices, gomoku goban would have to be the best value-for-money meal. Big serve, plenty of toppings, super tasty and visually appealing.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes

stamina gohan

Sweet oily eel flesh/Unagi makes things better/Unless allergic

bowl stamina rice

Kimchi seeped white rice/ if you know not of this joy/ kimchi fried rice, go!

Sutamina is Japanese for ‘stamina’. Stamina rice has things traditionally thought to give you energy and counters lethargy. The rice has kimchi sauce through it, and there’s also some kimchi on top. Presumably to give you a kick in the mouth? There is also some grilled eel, which is said to counter lethargy on humid hot days. Beef, because as we all know eating big animals with red meat makes you grow up big and strong. There’s also a vegetable which I think is fern bracken, and shiitake mushroom as well.
Really tasty, but not an additional $4 worth of tasty. (If there is such as thing.)

Score: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

clam clam

Little clams in rice/Little bursts of umami/An elegant dish

Clams, mushroom and vegetable.



Score: ?

Would I order this? Yes.

Meiji butakakuni gohan

Chunks of pork belly/ Jelly-like fat, tender meat/Best of all, the sauce

Pork belly with sweet soy-based sauce.
Score: 7.5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Meiji chickenegg gohan

Fried chicken with sauce/ with strips of egg underneath/Chicken or the egg?

Fried chicken with soft sliced omelette. The fried chicken batter has a slight flour taste but tasty enough.

Score: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes

miso soup and pickles

miso and pickles/This should be compulsory/with every rice dish

Miso soup actually comes with the pot-rice, so I didn’t have to order it separately. It has wakame seaweed, spring onion and tofu in it. It isn’t too salty, and I enjoy having a small bowl of soup to go with my rice. My friend’s soup got cold after he finished his meal and the lady offered to reheat it for him. How nice is that!

Score: 9/10
Would I order this again? – (comes with pot-rice)

I thought the little dish of assorted pickles was a nice touch. The yellow and pink ones taste the same and are pickled daikon radish, the green ones are dill pickles.

Score: 7/10
Would I order this again? Yes.

Meiji kaki fry

Battered, fried oysters/would be great in a po’boy/ not bad on its own

Small oysters, crumbed and fried. They are drained well so the lettuce isn’t soaking in oil. It’s a simple entrée, but the mayonnaise and fried seafood combination works for me. I wouldn’t order it by myself (because I don’t like oysters very much), but if someone was willing to share, then I would order this again.

Score: 7/10
Would I order this again? No.

Meiji agedashi tofu

Crispy fried tofu/ Every haiku starts like this/Tofu deja vu

It’s not bad, but it’s not great either. From memory, both Ajisen and Yamato around the corner or down the street does a better agedashi tofu. Or it did several years ago. It could do with more umami from bonito or mushrooms. As it is it is quite plain.

Score: 8/10
Would I order it? Yes.

butter garlic scallops

Butter and garlic/teriyaki sauce scallops/A hot tasty meal

Scallops sauteed in butter and garlic. Good combination. The scallops are soft and barely done in the middle, just as they should be. They taste fresh too. A bit on the salty side for me.

Score: ?
Would i order it? Probably not.

sashimi bento is more like sushi bento

Sashimi bento/Not much fish, despite the name/Snacky food bento?

For a sashimi bento there isn’t much raw fish. The takoyaki (the three balls with sauce on them) are delicious, though if memory serves me right, there wasn’t much octopus. It was very soft and delicious, and had a good sauce. The scalloped round biscuit object in the bottom left-hand corner is a glutinous rice cake with sweet and savoury coating. My friend didn’t like it much, but I thought it was tasty. Maybe misplaced in a rice box. It would make a good snack or post-meal nibble.

Score: ?
Would I order it? No.

anaemic ramen

Chashu, or ‘char siu’/is a delicious grilled meat/ Back onto ramen…

The ramen at Meiji looks anaemic compared to those at Ajisen or any other place that does ramen. Judging from the picture, I wouldn’t order the ramen at Meiji. I know the pot-rice is great at Meiji so there is very little that’ll steer me away from those.


drinks in cups

See drinks in glass cups/ Behold, the feats of canning/ How convenient

In conclusion, order a pot rice.
Meiji Japanese Cafe on Urbanspoon

Papparich QV

Name: PappaRich QV
Location: Level 2, shop 1, Qv Square, 210 Lonsdale Street
Cost: $10-15 mains, $4-$7 drinks
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8/10
Overall rating: 8/10
Would I come back? Yes.

This is one of my go-to places when I am out of inspiration. It’s affordable, has a large range of tasty food and efficient service.

Papparich QV is the new name for the refurbished Old Town Kopitiam. The food is much the same, but with the addition of a roti and biryani section as homage to the Indian side of Malaysia. The menu has also been upgraded to include photographs of most items, and all drinks. I think Papparich has enjoyed better patronage since their renovation.

In addition to an upgrade to the menu, there are upgrades to kitchen and food preparations areas. Instead of the one food prep area, there are now a few areas organised in terms of hardware. At the back most of the noodle and curry dishes are prepared, then adjacent to that is the roasted meats section. In the far end at the back is the drinks and dessert preparation area. Sometimes you can see people blend up ice and fruit for chilled juices, and ‘pull’ tea. (Milk tea is poured from one container to another to ‘pull’ the tea and make it frothy, then strained.) There’s also the grill section where skewers of satay are prepared. There are also chefs preparing roti made-to-order.

“Smile for the picture lah, and look like you’re working!”, says one of the waitstaff.

Pretend to work, ey?/Playing roti pat-a-cake/Flip those meat skewers

When you visit Papparich, the staff will sometimes ask you if you’ve been there before. This is because there’s a novel ordering system. There are no waitstaff taking orders, and are left to do everything more efficiently. Each menu item has a code associated with it. For example, R01 is a roti dish, N09 is a noodle dish, MF14 is a drink. You write down the codes on the notepads provided, as well as table number. Then press the button on the cutlery box. A member of the waitstaff comes along and takes your written order, punches out a bill and returns the bill to you. Some people don’t like this kind of service, but I like it. It’s quick, efficient and a large party of people can take as much time as required to browse the picture menu.

Write your own order/ Add dietary requests/ No mistakes are made

Score: 5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Sour fish-based soup/ Often includes tamarind/ Should have been tasty

I have reviewed this before when Papparich was Old Town Kopitiam. The assam laksa hasn’t changed, it’s still one of the worst choices out of all the noodle dishes they have to offer.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Dry stir-fried noodles/Original mee goreng/ Not the Indomie

Mee goreng doesn’t look bad, and I have heard it tastes good. But you can’t go wrong with stir-fried noodles. To me the mee goreng doesn’t look particularly interesting, but it is good to pay homage to our favourite instant noodle– Indomie MiGoreng.
Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Malay Indian/biryani hybrid rice dish/Both chicken and lamb

Biryani rice with sides is just like nasi lemak but with spiced rice instead of coconut rice. If you like spiced rice, then go for it. The sides will be reviewed under nasi lemak.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

An ‘anytime’ food/Malaysia’s ‘national dish’/Nasi lemak. Lah.

This is one of my favourite dishes at Papparich. You get a bowlful of coconut rice, 5 chilli prawns, 2-3 pieces of curry chicken, half a hardboiled egg, peanuts, fried anchovies, slices of cucumber and a dollop of chilli paste (sambal). If you feel like having more sides, there is an option to add chilli eggplant, tandoori chicken, as well as many other things. (But 2 sides fills me up just fine.)
Sometimes coconut rice tastes too faintly of coconut to earn the title of ‘coconut rice’. But the coconut rice at Papparich definately has the coconut milk taste. It’s moist, fragrant and savoury. Curry chicken isn’t dry at all and has a mild curry taste. Good for those who can’t handle spicy foods, but still a tasty accompaniment. The sambal prawn (sambal is a kind of chilli paste) is spicier but still fairly mild. The spiciest component is the dollop of sambal in the side.

You can mix the sambal in with the rice, or leave it if you aren’t up to spicy food. I like to do half-half, that is, half coconut rice mixed with sambal, and the other half non-spicy. Or you could douse your egg into the sambal. Up to you.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Chicken noodle soup/Why are you so delicious?/A good comfort food

Essentially chicken noodle soup. You get a large serve of steamed chicken breast steeping in sweet soy sauce, and a basin of soup with flat thin rice noodles and plenty of fried onions. The fried onions are the dominating flavour, so it’s not your usual chicken soup. But it’s good to have variations of a theme, right?
Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Noodle soup icebergs/ Most of it lurks underneath/ But no Titanic

From the picture it looks okay. There is also some layered tofu in the vegetarian laksa for some protein. Always good to see restaurants making an effort to substitute meat for other protein sources for vegetarians. But I wouldn’t order it because I believe laksa is incomplete with a form of seafood. (Even if it is just fishcake.)

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Tasty rice noodle/ swimming in thick egg gravy/ Novel, worth a shot

Wat tan hor is a flat thick rice noodles stir-fried in a wok until it obtains an umami taste only achievable with high temperatures, or ‘wok hei’. Then an egg gravy is poured onto the rice noodles. Umami with a side of umami? Yes, please. There are also asian greens, sliced fish cake and prawns. “It tastes just like home”, according my Malaysian friend.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Stir-fried rice noodles/One of my favourite dishes/ when it is done well

Char kway teow also utilises the same kind of rice noodles and also requires formidable wok hei. The wat tan hor was so delicious, but char kway teow was anemic. There was no characteristic umami smell or slighty charriness along the edges of the rice noodles. Two out of two times the char kway teow has been like this. Disappointing.

Score: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

We all have bad days/ Insipid watery soup/ Disappointing. Boo.

This dish varies a lot depending on the day. Some days it even has different toppings on it, or it is missing a vegetable component. But the worst variable is the soup quality. Sometimes the har mee looks amazing, but other days it looks watery and bland. The day I ordered har mee it was watery and bland.

Would I order it again? Yes.

It’s pronounced ‘chanai’/Fluffy, stretch, crunchy bread/ Why is it so good?

Roti canai is a tissue-thin chewy flatbread, rolled up then curled around itself like a snail, and cooked over grill. The result is a light, chewy but crisp delicious food item. While it is good enough to have on its own, there are 3 sauces to dip your roti canai in. There’s usually a curry sauce, a sweet chutney and a dollop of sambal. I like to order this and watch the chefs spin the dough, roll it into shape, and watch the transformation from raw dough to delicious food on the grill.

Score: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Curry egg noodle/Steamed chicken and curry sauce/ Not ‘curry chicken’

The steamed chicken is the same as Ipoh rice noodle soup. The noodle is an egg noodle cooked in curry sauce. It’s good, but after a while it becomes uninteresting.
Score: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

The secret is out/ Maltose syrup is a must/Makes the best fritters

The batter is a bit thick and will go stale quite quickly, especially if it sits in a pool of melted icecream. Luckily you can request the banana fritters to be brought out after you’ve finished your lunch or dinner, so they are piping hot and crispy. There is also maltose lightly drizzled over the fritters. It’s great.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

A green tea thickshake/ For the maccha green tea buff/ Complete with red beans

This is not a drink. This is a dessert. Looks good if you are a maccha green tea buff.


Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

As Doctor Who does/ Could I order a strong drink?/Leave the teabag in

There are so many other weird and wonderful drinks on the menu. I would rather try one of those rather than tea bag green tea. I can drink that home. But it’s nice to see they have that option open.

Score: 7/10
Would I order it again? No.

Not a good-looker/ Grass jelly and egg custard/ Slurp them up with straw

I like grass jelly, egg custard and soy milk. But not so much all together in a drink.

Score: 8.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Two drinks in one slot/Ooh Ahh that’s something different/ Just like these iced drinks

This is soy milk with preserved longan fruit and honey. Sounds strange, but oddly delicious. The honey and dried longan fruits sink to the bottom, so be sure to mix it up with your straw to get an even distribution of sweetness. Or not, if you enjoy a gradient. Dried longan fruits have a much stronger and sweeter taste than when it is fresh, and like most other dried fruits it becomes chewier.

Score: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

(Picture above. It’s the pink one.)

I have reviewed this in Old Town Kopitiam QV before it renovated and became Papparich. It tastes the same as before, that is, sweet without being too sickly sweet. It’s slightly musky too.

Score: ?
Would I order it? Probably not.

Poke straw through icecream/ Ta-da! An icecream donut/ Huh, ingenious

This is black sesame icecream in unsweetened soy milk. When you mix the icecream through it looks like a thickshake.

Score: 10/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A food science prac/ Things with different densities/Science, everywhere!*

No, I didn’t misspell ‘the’. Hah.
This is the 3 tier tea drink that you should order. It is made with black tea, evaporated milk, palm sugar and ice. The palm sugar syrup is heaviest and sinks to the bottom, next is the evaporated milk, then ice, then black tea to tinge the evaporated milk in a gradient of brown. It’s a good looking drink. Tasty too.

*: Don’t drink this in the lab. (Or drink anything in the lab.)


Score: 3/10
Would I order it again? No.

icky barley water

I’ve had barley water at Laksa Bar, and that was tasty and refreshing. It was warm outside, so I thought some barley water would be wonderful. Wrong. The barley water is sludgy and slimy, not refreshing at all.

Score: No score, I am unable to compute the taste of AW root beer into a numerical score.
Would I order it? No.

weird as heck

Can I just say AW root beer is one of the strangest things I have tasted? It tastes like…. old peoples’ toothpaste and anaesthetic used at the dentist. It was almost pleasant with its mouth numbing effervescent way, but then no, it tastes like strong toothpaste. Then it was nice again. Weird.

Don’t let the score on urbanspoon scare you into thinking it’s some kind of terrible place. Some things are poorly done, but some are done very well. At least try their roti and special three layer tea.
PappaRich QV on Urbanspoon

Taiwan Cafe

Location: 273 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: $10-15
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 6.5/10
Overall rating: 6/10
Would I come back? No.

This restaurant was instantly popular. There has been a recent boom in Taiwanese cheap-eats around Melbourne, perhaps to cater for the people who’ve tired of the other asian cheap-eats. The menu is extensive, with almost 700 items (many are variations of a theme). Out of the 700 or so, there’s bound to be some good dishes, but also some terrible misses. Here’s a post to help you avoid the misses.


Taste: 8/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

The usual food prank/ but actually delicious/ Pleasantly surprised

I love jellyfish salad, if it’s on the menu there’s a high chance that I will order it. I’ve had it 4 times at restaurants, and each time it’s been prepared and seasoned differently. At Taiwan Cafe, it’s treated like fast-pickled vegetables– white vinegar, sugar and little else. There are also some carrots and cucumber in the mix. It’s a pleasant side dish to have along side with spiced beef noodle soup. The vinegar cleans out the palate of five spice and star anise. (I enjoyed the jellyfish salad more than the beef noodles.)


Taste: 3/10
Would I order it again? No.
“Oysters embedded in a chewy omelette topped with bokchoy. The most popular of Taiwanese snacks.”

Nine dollars for this?/ A dish of regret/ Gross fishy oysters

Nasty gummy stuff/ Something from alien flick/ With oyster spawn. Ack.

I was so disappointed. I had been looking forward to the oyster omelette, the most popular snackfood of Taiwan. I had imagined a glorious mass of oysters, possibly fried, in a generous serving of egg, topped off with lettuce and lashings of oyster sauce-based sauce. It was meant to be an intensely savoury dish, moreish and addictive.

But what was served was a thin, slightly overcooked omelette, with a sticky rice goo (could have been seafood slime if I was to judge purely by taste) at the bottom. I would have not minded the rice flour base if it didn’t taste of seafood past it’s prime. The oysters are tiny! I expected small oysters, but not so small that I had initially confused them for cockles. They also tasted fishy and briny. The sauce was tasteless, so no amount of sauce could drown the terrible ‘fish market on a hot summer’s day’ taste/smell.

In short, don’t order the oyster omelette. It’s terrible.



Goodness! Fried chicken!/ Japanese-chinese fusion/ that is Taiwanese

The fried chicken bento contains (left to right, top to bottom): Asian potato salad*, fried chicken drumsticks (prepared in a way that it resembled a tulip, flesh lifted from the bottom the leg, and pushed up to the top to form a dome of easily-consumed fried chicken), white rice with saucy pork mince, fried egg covering peas and corn.

*: What makes it Asian potato salad? I call it Asian potato salad because this style of potato salad is popular in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. At minimum, it contains potato, apple and sweet mayonnaise. It’s nothing like the western potato salad. For one thing, it’s sweet. It’s kind of delicious.


Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes

You said claypot? Lies!/ But it is still damned tasty/ I’ll let that one slide.

The menu depicts this dish with the chicken in a small claypot, the tradition serving container for 3 cup chicken.  But the picture above is what you actually get. It’s a bit deceiving, but it is still 3 cup chicken with rice.

It tastes pretty authentic and home-made, so if you ever have a hankering for home-style 3-cup chicken, this is the place for you.


Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? No

Disturbingly clear/ For a star anise beef broth/ Egg is the best bit

Nothing is wrong with Taiwanese beef noodle soup, but this one lacks a lot of depth that could have earned it a ‘yes’ to ‘would I order it again?’. The noodles are the thick white kind that aren’t thick or chewy enough to be udon. The broth is one-dimensional with mainly five spice and star anise. The beef depicted in the picture is stewed beef chuck, looking tender and delicious, somethings that I would to have eaten. But what you get is actually thinly sliced lean beef. It’s not bad, but not what I had in mind.

The egg is good though, congealed yolk in solid egg white. I wonder if I could order the egg by itself.


Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Looks like bibimbap/ Toppings laid out in sections/ Only with noodles

Looks like spag bol now/ Only without tomato/ Or Parmesan cheese

Jajiangmian is plain noodles topped off with a savoury jajiang sauce. At minimum, jajiang sauce contains fermented salted beans. There are lots of variations of this sauce, the chinese type is generally saltier than the korean kind. But at Taiwan Cafe, their sauce doesn’t contain any fermented beans at all. It’s more like spag bol. Nonetheless, it’s still tasty.


Taste: 7.5/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Light and tasty dish/ Most surprisingly, it is /vegetarian

For once, the vegetarian option at an asian eatery looks better than its meaty counterpart. The noodles are cooked well, not broken up too much by poor spatula skills, or too oily. There are plenty of mushrooms too. I am impressed.


Taste: 7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Extra citrusy/ Not too sweet, and refreshing!/ Order this instead

Kumquat lemon juice sounds like it’d be the most sour citrus drink around.But fear not, it was sweetened liberally and it’s actually a pleasant refreshing drink.


Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

The pearls (tapioca balls) are mediocre. As was the drink, from what I heard.



Bubbletea culture/ All those young’uns and bubbles/ Popular drink/snack?

Not ordered by me, but here’s a picture so you know what it looks like.



Milky white green tea/ The ice makes it more opaque/ Bubbletea snowstorm

For a milk green tea it looks very milky.

Taiwan Cafe on Urbanspoon

Ramenya Bourke St

Location: Shop 9, The Paramount, 108 Bourke St Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: $10-15
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 6.5-7/10
Overall rating: 6.5-7/10
Would I come back? Yes.

Ramenya on Bourke is part of the same branch as Ramenya @ GPO. In my opinion, Ramenya on Bourke has better ramen.

Paper lantern lights/ Look like glowing jellyfish/ Without tentacles

Cool drinks cabinet/ It’s well stocked with ramune/ Nostalgic soda

“This spoon is too big”/ Not so, ramen fiend of mine/ Good for sipping broth


Taste: 6.5-7/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

Yay, it has kimchi!/ More toppings than GPO/ More well lit as well

Ramenya on Bourke St seems to be the superior branch for ramen. There are more toppings and the ambiance is lighter than the one at GPO. There are 3 choices for broth: Shoyu, Miso and Tonkotsu. Shoyu has the lightest taste. Miso is still light-tasting but can be very salty. Tonkotsu is the creamiest broth, made from pork bones. In the picture, the broth still seems thin, it’s probably either shoyu or miso.


Taste: ?
Would I order it again?

Goodness, noodle soup!/ Quick photo and we tuck in/ Slurping permitted 

This is the same as Kimchi chashu ramen, without the kimchi. This one has tonkotsu broth.


Ramen Ya on Bourke on Urbanspoon

Ramenya GPO

Location: Shop 25G Melbourne GPO 350 Bourke St CBD
Cost: $10-15
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 6/10
Overall rating:6/10
Would I come back? No.

There are two ramenyas in the city block district. One at GPO and one further along Bourke St. Ramenya GPO has been disappointing. I would rather go next door (Kenzan) and have their ramen or udon. We arrived late in the day, so perhaps that is why the gyoza were so pasty.

Sexy legs ‘leven/ Admiring typography/ Lo, table number


Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

Bit o’ everything/ Compartmentalised lunch box/ Dollar for the sauce

Really average. The gyoza skins are very thin and pasty, and the filling is just passable. Nothing special here.


Taste: 5/10
Would I order it again? No.

Mystery gyoza/ Its contents an enigma/ I don’t want to know

The gyoza are consistantly pasty, and the skins too thin. They fall apart easily. The seafood filling the gyoza taste vaguely fishy, I have no idea what’s inside. Aside from seafood gyoza, there’s also spring onions, pickled ginger, seaweed, pickled vegetable and naruto fishcake (the pinked and sliced fishcake with the pink swirl). The other sides are okay. If the gyoza were better, I’d come back.
Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Ajisen ramen

Location: 130 Bourke St. Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: $10-15
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 8.5/10
Overall rating: 8.5/10
Would I come back? Yes

Ajisen mascot/ Large figurine by the door/ Looks like Peko-chan*

There are plenty of tables and benches to cater for large parties of people. The servings are large, the soup base is delicious, but some may say there aren’t enough toppings to match the quantity of noodles. The noodles aren’t your ordinary ramen noodles either, it resembles spaghetti. Handmade noodles resemble spaghetti, instead of the ones in instant noodle packets. It’s nice to have something different for a change. In addition to great ramen, Ajisen also does good lunch sets. I’ll come back and review their lunch sets.

*Peko-chan is a well-known marketing icon/mascot for Fujiya company in Japan. There are giant figurines of Peko-chan in front of some stores.


Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes

Spare ribs in ramen/Hm, which is more delicious?/ Paiku or the egg?

Paiku are spare ribs, marinated in soy sauce among other things to make it delicious. It’s meltingly good, without feeling too greasy. The broth is also slightly creamy and sweet to match the paiku.


Taste: 9/10
Would I order it again? Yes
Spiciness: 2/10 (Not much, but for those who aren’t great with spicy food, you might not be able to get through all the kimchi. The broth has a little kick, nothing formidable.)

Paiku food envy/ That’s okay. There is kimchi./ Chashu was not bad

There’s kimchi (in a separate bowl), chashu (the thinly sliced rolled pork), spring onions, seaweed, half a boiled egg, sliced wood-ear fungus in a creamy, slightly spicy broth with a lot of al dente noodles at the bottom.
My goodness, the egg! The yolk is a mass of congealed yolk, and the white is hard boiled. I don’t know they do it, but it is very good.
Don’t let the name ‘wood-ear fungus’ scare you into believing it’s got an exotic taste. It doesn’t. It doesn’t have much of a taste, it’s just crunchy.

Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon

Sambal Kampung

Location: 234 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Cost: $10-15 for noodles, $15-25 for made-to-order mains
Cost rating: 4/5
Taste rating: 5/10
Overall rating: 5/10
Would I come back? No

A small chinese-malaysian eatery, largely a student’s haunt for late dinner. On the day we saw surprisingly many young families, it must be family friendly too. We were seated upstairs. The stairs are narrow, the tables are small and packed in as tightly as they possibly allowed. You could elbow the person next table across if you wanted. The brick walls are decorated with christmas lights. That’s the sort of place it is.
Would I order it again? No.

Sweet kecap manis/ Emperor Nasi Goreng/ Remember that ad?*

Indonesian fried rice with chicken. If you cup your hands over your ears, you might be able to hear somebody’s throat have all its moisture sucked out from it. So much salt and MSG. The carrots are almost raw too. I have nothing against raw carrots, but they don’t belong in fried rice.

*: Youtube ‘bigpond nasi goreng ad’. Great ad, pity it was for Telstra.

Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? Yes.

A helmet-sized bowl/ My preferred noodle vessel/ Not a real helmet

Watch out, it’s a basin of laksa.
It’s a different sort of spicy from the other laksas, not sweet-spicy but dry-spicy. The coconut milk adds creaminess and rounds out a lot of the dry-spiciness. Again, it’s very salty. We did arrive fairly late, so the laksa broth must have been boiled down into something saltier than usual. It was still edible, as long as you drank a fair amount of water and avoided most of the soup. In the laksa there is a boiled egg, some boyshoy, dried fried tofu puffs, two small crystal prawns, sliced fish cake, fish balls and plenty of fried shallots. There is also some chicken at the bottom. Its appearance isn’t as clean or neat as the other laksas, but I don’t mind the appearance. Apart from the salt, it would have been a satisfactory laksa.


Taste: 3/10
Would I order it again? No.

lychee tapwater/ Not as tasty as you think/ Lychees were okay

Tap water with some syrup from canned lychees, and then some canned lychees. It could have been okay, but too watery. The tap water has a metallic, minerally, chalky taste too.


Taste: 6/10
Would I order it again? No.

Sugar will fix it/ Fix my drink but not my teeth/ Trip to the dentist


San Bo Liang is a drink made of primarily three ingredients, all of which have ‘cooling’ properties according to chinese medicine philosophy. One of them is the longan fruit, which has always been a ‘heating’ food (or so I am told). That…. doesn’t seem right. Whatever the case may be, sanboliang has canned longan fruit, some grass jelly, and a brown palm sugar syrup. It’s much tastier than the lychee drink.
But, I wouldn’t come back with company just to have laksa and sanboliang.


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