The Tsuta Ramen eatery is arguably one of the best places in the world for ramen dining. The quest to create the world’s best Ramen stared with the dream of Chef Yuki Onishi to turn the classic Ramen noodle dish into a unique food experience – amazing taste without any artificial ingredients or MSGs – and earn Michelin-star status in the process. Major airlines have since partnered with the eatery, bringing it to business class menus in the sky.
The origins of the Ramen noodle might lie in China, but it was Japan that adopted the humble noodle like its own child, eventually becoming a beloved and national comfort food in essence. After the second World War, the number of Ramen noodle bars exploded in Japan. In fact, it was so popular and easy that it is considered a fast food – a reason why noodle bars have counters to accommodate passers-by and for customers who want to pop in and out for a quick, healthy, and delicious snack.
Chefs are artists. And like most artists, the culinary craftsman Yuki Onishi burned with the desire to turn convert the Ramen noodle into a high artform with premium sourced all-natural ingredients, zero MSGs, and without any artificial flavoring.
In 2012, Chef Onishi got his wish and opened a small shop with nine seats in Sugamo, Tokyo, called the “Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta”. In the meantime, the chef and shop have had international success with the opening of additional shops throughout Japan and Singapore. There is also planned expansion to the United States.
If you want to eat a bowl of this Ramen in situ in Tokyo then you better be prepared to get there early in the morning – even though it opens at eleven o’clock, I suggest setting your alarm for much earlier. People travel to this mythic Ramen site from all over the globe – on a spiritual Ramen pilgrimage. In fact, a line starts to form at the crack of dawn. You’ll also have the option to place a money deposit in order to guarantee your helping to a steaming bowl of the good stuff.
Purportedly, the total number of Ramen bowls served each day stays down under a 200 count – making a bowl of Tsuta Raman almost as rare as red diamonds. But thankfully, a bowl of Ramen won’t cost you close to a million, but rather more like ¥1,000 to ¥1,500, the equivalent of $10 to $15 USD – low cost making this high-quality treat that much tastier. And just goes to show you that not all best foods on earth cost an arm and a leg.
Demand is so high, that the restaurant has implemented a ticketing system. Depending on how many meals will be served that day, you can attempt to secure yourself a timeslot by getting one of the available tickets – woe to you, however, should tickets sell out.
Tsuta is located a quick walk from the Sugamo Station on the Uamanote train line, outside the center of Tokyo. The line starts at the side of the Tsuta building. The nice thing is that once you have a ticket, it isn’t necessary to hang around the entrance all day – you can return at your leisure for your ticket time.
Oh, and if you’ve gone through all the trouble to go to Japan, queue at Tsuta, and lucky enough to secure a ticket, whatever you do for goodness sakes, don’t lose that ticket. It’s probably best to book a day or two of cushion for the occasion.