06 November 2016

Tsuta Ramen, Japan — Tokyo

Tsuta Ramen, Japan — Tokyo

Michelin Stars have been around for quite some time and while many restaurants around the world, especially in Japan, have been awarded with the prestigious star, ramen seems to have been left off the Michelin radar. Almost everyone who’s been to Japan would agreed that the standard of ramen there is top notch and affordable!

2016 is definitely the year for Tsuta Ramen after clinching the first ever Michelin star awarded to the ramen category! Beyond that, Tsuta is also opening its first overseas outpost in Singapore at Pacific Plaza come Sunday, 6th November 2016. In this post, I will be reviewing the Tokyo outlet as I have not tried the Singapore version yet.

Tsuta Ramen is a hole in the wall ramen shop located in the quieter district of Sugamo within Tokyo. Due to the increased attention this place is getting, the owner has set up an orderly system for customers to lay their hands on a bowl of ramen without excessive queuing. Thumbs up!



For lunch hour dining between 11am to 3pm (in hourly intervals), the ramen ticket is issued outside the restaurant starting from 7am. Customers will have to pay a JPY1,000 deposit in cash and be issued a colored (depending on hourly time slot) ticket which you will flash upon returning at the designated time. The JPY1,000 deposit will then be returned. You can purchase more than one ticket as long as the tickets are still available.

For dinner hour dining between 6pm to 8pm (in hourly intervals), the issuing of ramen tickets starts at 5pm.


I was there on a weekday morning at around 6.55am in October 2016 and I was 7th in line for the queue number. When the staff gave out the numbers at 7am, a total of about 12 people had obtained their tickets.

CHAR SIU AND WANTON SHOYU RAMEN
JPY1,500



At your designated timing, you will still have the join the queue to enter the restaurant. I waited for about 15 minutes before I entered to buy my order ticket from the typical Japanese ramen ticketing machine. No photography is allowed of the kitchen area. Probably being my one and only rare chance there, I bought the most elaborate selection, the char siu and wanton shoyu ramen.

The ramen was served with a very generous amount of toppings, with two types of pork, huge wantons and tons of mushrooms floating around the soup, topped with a dollop of black truffle sauce. On my first sip of the soup broth, I was able to experience the depth of the soup which tasted like a combination of smoky and salty, yet clean tasting on the palate. The slight musky taste was strangely addictive and I think that’s what makes Tsuta different. The soup didn’t get “boring” like how other shoyu based broth usually would for me.

The noodles were thin and firm which were just right for me. The noodles soaked up the broth goodness over time and the proportion of noodles to broth turned out to be just nice. Two cuts of pork were used the belly and the collar. They were of a nice thickness and granted a satisfying bite without the meat being chewy. As I prefer leaner cuts of meat, I would choose the collar over the belly. With such a generous amount of meat (3-4 slices of each cut), finishing the large wanton was quite a daunting task. I was rather taken aback that the wanton skin was huge as opposed to the small amount of meat filling. It was only after eating it that I realized the focus is on the skin and not the filling. The skin was incredibly smooth and “qq”, and there were no dry parts even at the corners where the skin cringe together to form folds. The wanton was pretty well executed but it was altogether rather filling for me. On my next visit, I would probably skip the wanton.

Tsuta Ramen serves a nice bowl of shoyu based ramen, but my personal preference still lies with a creamy based ramen. It’s definitely worth a try but I’m not sure if I would wait in line for hours. Michelin star worthy? Probably, if you’re a true blue shoyu ramen lover.

Tsuta Ramen (Tokyo) is located at:
1-14-1 Sugamo, Toshima-ku, Tokyo
Lunch | 1100 - 1600 Dinner | 1800 - 2100
Closed on Wednesdays

Tsuta Ramen (Singapore) is located at:
Pacific Plaza #01-01, 9 Scotts Road Singapore