Tsuta, Hong Kong: Michelin-starred ramen

  15.08.17    Hong Kong

Uniquely for a ramen joint, Tsuta have a Michelin star in Japan which translates in Hong Kong as long lines, all day. I get there at 11.31 (they open at 1130) and take the last available seat at the counter as the line starts in earnest behind me. They only make 400 bowls a day so, once it’s gone, it’s gone.

The menu isn’t complicated. Choose your broth, add in optional extras. And wait. Each bowl is made in order, so if you’re near the end of the counter you get to see all the others being delivered next to you, before it’s your turn to take out your phone and photograph it. Literally *every diner did as much at dinner.

It’s not the most amazing picture, but then again I didn’t find it the most amazing ramen. Maybe I was expecting a noodle epiphany, a Damascene conversion, but it didn’t happen for me.

The broth was undoubtedly tasty, choc full of umami, with lovely tender pork. It’s made from chicken, clam, dried fish and three types of soy sauce. But then they add truffle oil to it. ?! It seems to totally defeat the point of the harmonious layers of flavours by adding in a chemical construct which of course has absolutely no truffle in it.

Was it better than Tsukemen Mitaseimenjo, my regular joint across the street? I’m not convinced. How the tyre merchants manage to choose one Japanese ramen joint from thousands of others is beyond me. But, just like the starred soy sauce chicken hawker in Singapore, it certainly does no harm to Tsuta’s business.