I knew it was going to be crap, but I wondered just how crap. It exceeded itself in crapiness achievement on an unimaginable scale.
I was in Ajimen ramen noodle restaurant at the southern end of the pedestrian street with a couple of Chinese friends. Although they sell mainly Japanese style food, like all “Japanese” restaurants in Liuzhou, it ain’t Japanese. With one exception, they are all Chinese – the exception is Thai owned.
Despite its chain restaurant ambience, they do have a few good dishes at reasonable prices. Their Thai style seafood ramen is particularly nice (if you like hot!). We all choose this.
When placing our order we noticed that they were promoting a new product – mini beef pizzas. I was intrigued and they were only ¥12 for 4, so I said ‘let’s go for it.”
Our noodles arrived and we all enjoyed them, me with a cold beer and my guests with mango juice and sweetened lemon juice – a kind of lemonade, I suppose. We slurped and chatted away and finally noticed that a good 45 minutes had passed without us noticing. A copy of the list of food we had ordered was sitting in front of me clearly noting the time our order was taken. No pizza had appeared.
We reminded a passing waitress who informed us rather shortly that it takes a long time to make a pizza. I’m fairly sure what she knows about pizza production could be written in a perforation of a postage stamp. Nothing appeared. We collared another waitress who promised to find out what was happening and was never seen again.
57 minutes after them taking our order this arrived.
They were about 3 inches in diameter and consisted of a very dry rice cracker, half-coated in fried minced/ground beef, some yellowish substance (not cheese or mayonnaise, dickhead), half raw cherry tomato and a fraction of a coriander/cilantro leaf. The bases tasted of nothing. The topping was just weird (disgusting). I couldn’t work out the flavours at all. It was simultaneously sweet and bitter, but not in a nice way. There was also something in there which I think I’ve come across before but am now still struggling to identify. I have probably subconsciously erased the memory as some psychological safety device to avoid major trauma.
I reckon I could make it in 3 minutes maximum (if I went for a coffee break half way through). What were they doing for nearly an hour? Even though it was a public holiday, the place wasn’t as busy as I’ve seen it, so they can’t use that excuse.
Anyway, the ‘pizzas’ amused me and my guests wonderfully and so were well worth the ¥12. Apart from a cursory tasting though, we didn’t actually eat them! We took lots of silly pictures of us not eating them. No, I’m not going to post them here!
I’ll go back to the place. But I don’t think pizza will be my first choice. Or even my last.