25 February 2020

Ajisen Ramen & The Century Bar - and ten years of blogging

In 2010 we wondered if writing a food blog would be a good idea. Flash forward ten years later.

Just after Boxing Day in 2009 we were wandering through the city and discovered The Century Tavern had reopened after a closure. This was a favourite drinking hole in the city for us, we spent many a time looking out the second story windows with a brew in hand, watching the monorail pass by. Especially favourite for some was the view of a giant Kylie Minogue ad outside, circa tiny shorts.

So roughly ten years later we decided to redo the first blog post we published with a beer at the Century and a ramen at Ajisen across the road. Firstly we were amazed both places still exist, although the second floor bar has been converted into a VIP pokie lounge which appears to be technically outdoors - smoking is allowed. Secondly we are amazed the blog is still going, we had a five year goal that got shifted out to ten. In recent times we haven't posted as much, and had many conversations about even giving up, but somehow we still keep taking photos and writing.

We sat in the entrance way near the toilets like David and Margaret reviewing the latest movies. We discussed all the things we wanted to say about ten years of blogging and wished as another round of beers appeared that we recorded all the things we said.

So in brief, here's what we thought about our ten years:

  • When we first started our blog (as Street Food) we thought we were one of the first to write a food blog. We had read blogs, but never a food blog. Oh how wrong we were!
  • We changed our name when 'Street Food' became trendy and still don't regret it.
  • Shawn has never once openly admitted he writes a blog.
  • Just before we started the blog we went on holiday to Indonesia and took approx 10 photos. On our next trip after the blog started we took over 1000.
  • We have published over 1000 posts, some were a joy and others a struggle. We love the push the blog gives us to get out and explore
  • We don't have a huge readership but we know for certain a bunch of influential food writers and chefs read our crap
  • We have never been to a free opening night or taken a free meal or product to review, except for one plate of popcorn chicken offered to us at a now closed restaurant in Newtown and flights to New Caledonia from Shawn's Mum. The free roast goose meal around Chinese New Year was pretty hard to knock back. Not so much the free hair extensions.
  • We loved the opportunity to write stories and take photos about places we love in Feast Magazine, The Guardian Australia, Eating and Drinking Guide to Sydney and Time Out. We loved talking about food on Fridays on 2SER and on ABC 702.
  • We found it intriguing to be interviewed for a masters thesis, SBS Food and for Honi Soit, be written about in a Chinese magazine, translated for a Chinese chatroom about food, filmed for a Japanese TV series (which we never saw) and popping up as a screen shot on Ainsley Harriot's street food series in Japan.
  • We loved meeting loads of fascinating people, either as star comment makers or in person. Thanks to Stan, Deo and Sacked-For-A-Big-Mac-Jack for the tips and encouraging comments. Thanks to our Singapore special agent Eve, our London and Hong Kong special agent and Chinese language interpreter Lucy, Sunil who brings us ever fascinating ideas and stories, Yvette and Phil for taking us to great eats in Penang (especially the 'bar'), special agents Dave and Kym (especially for the Panda Cheese ads) and Shawn's Mum and Dad as special guest models. An extra special thanks to Miss Piggy who encouraged us in the beginning.
  • Thanks to all the food court stalls, small restos, mum and dad run places with kids doing homework, challenging menus and super hard working people turning out plates of food.
  • Thanks to the other bloggers who we now know exist!
We still can't believe people actually read our blog. Enough self reflection, here's the rest of the post...

After we finished pondering, we set off for a ramen return visit. Ten years ago ramen was just finding its feet in Sydney and the pickings were small. Ajisen was one of the first chains to come to Sydney and we were intrigued.

Chashu ramen - $15.50.  A light tonkotsu (pork bone) broth with extra pork slices. The broth is far lighter than the gravy like tonkotsu broths that are popular now. We dig a lighter broth and this one suited us. The pork slices were generous, the noodles goodly chewy and the egg kinda hard.

Miso ramen - $13.90.  Light tonkotsu ramen with the added goodness and richness of miso. This is a good basic, no frills ramen served in a no frills kind of place.

Kind of sums up B-Kyu, really.

Ajisen Ramen is at World Square Shopping Centre, 85 Liverpool Street.  The Century Bar is across the road at Level 1/2 640 George Street, Sydney city, cnr Liverpool Street.

May we all be around in another 10 years.


  1. Undoubtedly one of my favourite blogs (and an endless source of food safari destination around Sydney). Long may it continue!

  2. Congratulations on 10 years! Once of my favourite blogs, will pop in for any updates several times a week!

    1. Thanks Stan, we always appreciate your comments and tips.

  3. Congratulations, your blog has radically changed how I interact with this city for the better. My relationship to Sydney wouldn't be the same without you.

    1. And we love what you do now, your work now influences us out to get out to places!

    2. We still need to get a meal together!

  4. This is the best Sydney food blog. Completely unpretentious, no instagram-style photos (no flat lays, over saturation etc), you guys don't chase trends, you keep it real. Thanks.

  5. Congratulations on 10 years! I find it endlessly inspiring and have acted upon so many of your recommendations. (I also check for updates about once a day, so you have at least 1 loyal reader).

  6. Oh wow! 10 years. Kylie probably still looks the same you know. Looking forward to more posts!!

  7. 10 years already ? May you never be bored and bring us more affordable food information.

  8. You guys are my favourite food blog of all time. Thank you for the blog.

  9. This is the only Sydney food blog I follow, and have done for what must have been most of those ten years. Please keep the reviews coming!

  10. I love this blog. It's the vibe of it.

    I moved to Melbourne a couple of years ago and I still follow you guys even though I can't eat at all these places anymore.

  11. I wrote a really long comment before which it looks like didn't go through.

    Suffice to say I've been following you guys since about 2012. I adore the blog and basically consider it my Sydney food bible. It's a really special and unique website. Thank you.

  12. Congratulations! I'm a long time fan of your awesome blog. Love the writing, love the humour and love the places you two dig up and write about. You make Sydney dining that much more interesting to those who care and you're an essential part of the fabric. Thanks for all the work over the years. Don't change.

  13. Congrats on reaching 10 years! I've been reading your blog on and off since discovering you blogpost on supermarkets of mystery however long ago that was. Enjoy your droll humour and how you unearth those local joints. Still waiting for a post on a degustation menu. Just kidding!


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).