Asian Eats: San Francisco to Miami, Part Two

Continuing the trek through some of San

Francisco's diverse Asian restaurants, part two focuses on two casual

establishments, otherwise known as chains.

Yesterday we described two restaurants that could teach Miami something about Asian cuisine. Today, we offer two more:


The Philippines'

number one fast food chain came to the United States in 1998. Its first location was in Daly City; just outside San Francisco. Today there are several U.S. locations, including California, Nevada,

Washington, and New York. So we can only hope a Jollibee is on its way

to Miami. What's not to love about a menu that includes burgers,

spaghetti, barbecued and fried chicken, hot dogs, frozen drinks, breakfast, and rice meals? And disco music playing overhead?! We

sampled the burger steak with mushroom gravy and rice ($2.29). The

rice was incredible, fast food or not. It was a generous portion,

steamed just right, and sticky enough but not dry. It is debatable whether Jollibee serves homemade Filipino

cuisine. And while one can't go wrong with the 99-cent sandwiches,

including corned beef and spam; served on pan de sal, there are few

healthy or vegetarian options.

200 4th St., San Francisco

Ajisen Ramen
The ramen

phenomenon is beginning to heat up in San Francisco. And one of the

best ramen houses in the city resides in a mall food court. Westfield

San Francisco Centre features a packed Ajisen Ramen, a

chain with roots in Japan and six locations in California. The

noodles in these bowls should not be confused with the instant noodles you might have

survived on freshman year of college. Bones, meat, vegetables, and

other ingredients are cooked for several hours, producing a milky

white broth. There are variations of ramen that can contain beef,

pork, seafood, or vegetables and, of course, the broth and noodles. A

hot meal in a cold city, spicy beef ramen ($8.95) seemed most

appropriate. With the noodles and beef soaking up the spicy broth,

the bowl included a blend of textures and tastes. And to wash

down the ramen? A green tea boba tea ($2.50) with balls of tapioca

swimming in the bottom. Of course this is a food court on Market Street, so tables are crammed next to one

another. They turn quickly, and the noise of teenage

banter can get in the way of enjoying your high-priced bowl of soup

with noodles.

John Zur
Ajisen Ramen
865 Market Street #C12, San Francisco

And with such

great choices around, why was Tim Kurkjian, baseball writer for ESPN,

asking me where the Chipotle was?

John Zur
Tim Kurkjian, of ESPN, and I

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John Zur