Instant Ramen Review - Tsuta Shoyu Ramen
Tsuta was Japan's and the world's first Michelin star ramen restaurant. While they no longer have a star, they're still a huge player in the ramen game. But how good is their official instant ramen? Let's find out!
Tsuta - A Starry Background
Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles (蔦) is located in Tokyo's swanky Yoyogi-Uehara neighborhood. They have much more space after they moved from their original location in Sugamo.
This bigger space has also led to a bigger menu. But among all menu items, it's the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen that put them on the map. This shoyu ramen caught the attention of Michelin too.
The shoyu they use is barrel aged. The soup is a complex blend of everything from asari clams to high-grade chicken bones. But what stands out most is perhaps at the very top of the soup.
This is where they add a layer of truffle oil and porcini mushroom oil. Both of these you'll find in Tsuta's instant ramen too!
Tsuta - Instant Shoyu Ramen
Noodle manufacturer Toyo Suisan makes this one for Tsuta. It's under their Maruchan brand and is a great example of "premium" instant ramen. This means it's the highest grade of instant ramen possible.
It comes with four packets - two of them are for toppings. The other two packets (in the middle) contain soup - this includes the truffle oil!
Borrowing from their actual shoyu ramen, the soup is mainly chicken and fish. The shoyu seasoning is relatively light, allowing you to properly enjoy those soup flavors. But it's with the purple packet that it gets interesting.
This packet holds the truffle and porcini mushroom oil. You add it right before eating, sprinkling it on top (not mixed into the soup). The soup is decent without it. But this fancy addition really takes it to the next level.
The toppings are high-quality. There's a big slab of chashu pork, white and green spring onions (negi), and large pieces of menma (bamboo shoots).
These large menma are extra special, with a clear packet packet reserved just for them.
As is normally the case with Premium Instant Ramen, the noodles are not flash fried. In other words, there's no oily, artificial flavor.
They're silky thin and get good marks!
My final overall score for Tsuta's instant shoyu ramen is 4/5. The soup is solid but I think a little plain without the truffle and porcini mushroom oil. But enjoying the soup as a whole is probably the whole point! I was pleasantly surprised at how accurately flavorful this fancy aroma oil is.
However, Tsuta's instant ramen costs about 40% more than others. Perhaps that's just the price of luxury. The toppings also stand out - particularly the hefty pork chashu and menma. Lastly, the noodles are as you'd expect. They're good but don't blow me away.
In summary, Tsuta's official instant ramen is a fun, elaborate recreation of what originally got them a Michelin star.