Restaurants / Bars

Michelin-Starred Ramen by Tsuta is Now Available in Manila

December 17, 2017

It’s been a good four years since the so-called “ramen craze” hit Manila with a bang. We’ve slurped our way through numerous bowls in that time—some good, some bad—but the newest player in the scene stands out not only in offering a distinct style relatively novel in these parts, but also with the prestige of having been bestowed a Michelin Star (the first in the world for ramen, at that). Hailing from Tokyo, and now in Manila, is Tsuta—an award-winning ramen house now serving up their specialties in Bonifacio Global City.

Known for their special soba ramen—and the notoriously long queues and limited stocks that have made dining at the Tokyo original an elusive yet highly coveted part of any trip to Japan—Tsuta does ramen justice with good ingredients and from-scratch procedures that make their offerings a true artisanal masterpiece. Noodles are made fresh and in-house with a special combination of whole wheat and whole grain flours, making for a distinctive earthiness and a pleasing, hearty bite worth the slurp. Unlike the decidedly rich and heavy tonkotsu-based versions more popular around the metro, Tsuta uses a mother broth made with a blend of three stocks (one of asari clams, another of chicken, yet another of Japanese fishes katakuchi, mackarel, and anchovy) and churns out three ramen variants with topping combinations as unusual as they are ingenious.

Most popular of the bunch is Shoyu, a profoundly mushroomy number where the addition of soy sauce works to adds depth before being topped by bamboo shoots, char siu, and an aromatic dollop of purée leeks and truffles in truffle oil that works especially well with the soy. More minimalist of a bowl is the Shio, a simple but sublime creation seasoned with Okinawa sea salt and a Mongolian rock salt-based sauce and topped with bamboo shoots, char siu, and a zingy purée of leeks and olives in truffle oil. On the heavier (and spicier) yet comforting end is the Miso, where Hatcho miso (a 100% soybean variant of the fermented paste) lends its thickness and complexity to the broth, before the bowl is crowned with chopped red onions, corn, beansprouts, char siu, hot sauce, porcini mushroom oil, and watercress. Each bowl can be had in their default presentations or with extra toppings: bamboo shoots, wontons,more char siu, and/or the Japanese soft-boiled egg known as ajitama—their version of which features a delightfully runny yolk of a bright yellow-orange hue. At roughly four hundred pesos for the most basic variants, this could well be one of the most affordable ways to get a taste of Michelin-awarded goodness—or just really, really well-made ramen in harmonious combinations that must be tried to be believed.

The Manila branch is said to be more spacious than the Tokyo original, but still gives customers the same intimate, homey feel. With chefs that’ve undergone long, hard training with Chef Onishi Yuki himself and ingredients imported straight from the Land of the Rising Sun, diners can be assured of consistency in quality in each bowl from Japan to Manila. Already five years since having been founded by Yuki in Tokyo in 2012, it takes only one hearty slurp to see why Tsuta is here to stay.

Patricia Baes SEE AUTHOR Patricia Baes

Trish thinks too much about everything—truth, existence.....and what’s on her plate. Her ongoing quest for a better relationship with food has led to a passion for cooking, gastronomy, and a newfound interest in its politics. She dreams of perfecting the art of making soufflé with her crappy toaster oven.

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