821 W. Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
The newest ramen-ya in LA sounds like a potential ramen superhero, but can Aji Man create enough hype to rescue the SGV ramen scene?...I didn't think so. Literally meaning flavor-full, I was disappointed to hear that Aji Man uses MSG to enhance its flavor (maybe Aji Man is short for Ajinomoto Man), but that wasn't going to deter me from giving it a try.
Shoyu Ramen: Upon ordering I asked the waitress if they use MSG and she politely said no. Perhaps the chef has since mastered its flavor without the need for it. Anyway, since shoyu has always been my preferred flavor, I had to order it and skip their signature Sapporo Miso for now. My first observation was that this soup had a lot of oil. Possibly more oil than water...okay I'm exaggerating. Aside from all the oil, it still had a good shoyu flavor that was semi-impressive. The toppings (chashu, menma, negi) were like footnotes on a page--barely noticeable. The noodles were horribly clumped and very average and unimpressive.
Shio Ramen: This shio ramen was proof that it didn't contain MSG. There was absolutely no flavor at all. It was more like oily-water ramen. Did I mistakenly order this shio ramen without salt? Hmmm...it was like a bean burrito without beans.
Gyoza: The gyoza was ma~ma~ (decent) and definitely contained Ajinomoto. If you're looking for good gyoza then go ahead and skip these.
So it appears that the SGV is still lacking a quality ramen-ya. Hopefully Aji Man will improve over time, but for now I would probably prefer to eat at Tamaya down the street.