How Does the World’s Best Ramen Compare to Instant Ramen?

How does Michelin-awarded ramen hold up to classic Top Ramen? Read on to find out!

 

shutterstock_20418577342 Yelp Stars

Earlier this month, a Michelin star was awarded to Tsuta, a small noodle shop in the Sugamo district of Tokyo. This is a big freakin’ deal, my friends. 

Why? For those less culinary-inclined, a Michelin star is essentially the Holy Grail of the food world. It’s like dragon eggs or the Tesseract or the One Ring to rul—okay, you got it. Moving on.

The bigger deal? Tsuta is the firstever ramen eatery to win the coveted prize. It seems our favorite dorm room sustenance is making its way up in the world. *tear*

Because the Michelin star is worth about 42 Yelp stars, I’ve taken it upon myself to use actual Yelp reviews of Tsuta’s offerings and compare them to my own assessment of the meal whose value is un-starrable: Top Ramen. Ready? Let’s do this.

 

BLUE = Yelp reviews of Tsuta | BLACK = My review of instant Top Ramen

So there is weirdly a lot of stock photos about ramen. In case you were wondering.

Broth:

“A fragrant blend of two-year old Wakayama raw kiage shoyu, two-year old Nagano superior grade honjozo shoyu, and three-year old Aichi tamarijoyu; the lambic-esque concoction is rounded off with a generous addition of porcino mushrooms and home-made chicken stock, topped off with the finest Italian black truffle oil and black truffle sauce.”

It begins with a fine blend of tap water and a shiny silver packet of mystery powder. How did they fit the beef in here? Do they cut it up into really small, dust-sized pieces? Fascinating.

 

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Noodles:

“The straight skinny whole-wheat flour noodles are more reminiscent of soba than ramen noodles… and the way it glides down your tongue you could probably slurp it all day long…the noodles complement the soup perfectly.”

When fully cooked, the noodles are reminiscent of that time my roommate pawned off his student dining credit to buy a limited-edition Charizard onesie. I never did learn why. But our room contained subtle aromas of salt, chicken and Febreeze for the entire month of March.  

PRO TIP: If you want smaller noodles, just crush up the bag before opening it. You’re welcome.

Photo creds: Ramen Adventures

Extras:

“The noodles are topped with home-prepped menma, welsh onions, finely chopped scallion whites, chashu which comes with a small spoonful of truffles; you can enjoy the truffles in all their glorious decadence or slowly mix them into your soup and watch it turn into an unbelievably intoxicating heaven in a bowl.”

Interpolated in this decadent mix are little ambiguous greenish flakes floating about. I also once prepared mine with an egg, which added a nice touch, but ultimately felt like an unnecessary amount of work for a meal already so savory and perfect.

What else?

“ ただ食べ進めるうちに箸が止まらなくなり、スープをごくごく飲んでしまってるような、不思議な魅力かありました ”

I uh… I don’t know what that means… But try mixing beef and chicken packets for the ultimate concoction of classic flavor.

I’m calling it: Top Ramen takes the win!

 
Alright, I’ll make a fair call come the day I’m in Tokyo. In the meantime, I’ll yield to the eloquent wordsmiths of Yelp. Check out Tsuta yourself for a bowl of the world’s best Ramen; just make sure you arrive first thing in the early morning to reserve your spot!

Also—unrelated note—is anyone interested in a lightly-used, limited-edition Charizard onesie?

Maybe noodle on it for a sec.

_____

Head to Tokyo with EF Ultimate Break on Highlights of Japan and China.