The first Michelin-starred Ramen in Tokyo by Master Chef Onishi Yuki has finally opened its doors in the Philippines! Tsuta originated from Chef Yuki’s ancestral family name and from the strong belief that Ramen is the “noodles of which Japan can boast to the world.” He actually prefers to use the term Soba, which literally means “Japanese Noodles,” instead of Ramen, which is from the Chinese word Lamian (拉麵 noodles). This does not refer to our common understanding of soba as the fat buckwheat noodles. Some Filipinos think it’s already too late for Tsuta’s entry into the Ramen Game in Manila. While this may be true for ho-hum quality ramen, it’s never too late for high-quality ones like Tsuta, as proven by its successful launch in mature ramen markets like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. So, is Tsuta better than Ramen Nagi or Ippudo? Read on to find out. https://youtu.be/o8pNaq2wnfA TSUTA MANILA UG/F C3 Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig Operating Hours: Open Daily 11:30 AM until supplies last. Facebook: Tsuta Philippines Instagram: @TsutaPhilippines Related blog post: TSUTA: The First Michelin Star Ramen that totally deserves it. First Things First Tsuta Manila is a 40-seater ramen house with the bar seats as the most coveted ones, to see the live kitchen action and to interact with the chefs. Master Chef Onishi Yuki, Founder and Executive Chef, with Eric Dee of FOODEE global concepts, the Philippine Franchisee of Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodles. TSUTA MENU: Soba Menu with Soba Toppings | Side Dishes, Rice Dishes, Drinks The menu is simple with 3 ramens, side dishes, and drinks, all prepared upon order and based on the high-quality ingredients of Tsuta. No desserts. Tsuta Ramen is essentially made from four (4) components, with each one playing a big role in making a Michelin-star bowl: 1. Dashi Tsuta’s dashi is made from 3 stocks: a stock of asari clams, a stock of Japanese fish katakuchi, mackarel, and anchovy with kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (bonito), and a stock of whole chickens. This is very different from the Tonkatsu heavy broth from pork because you can eat the healthy stock any day. 2. Tare (Sauce) There are three types of sauces Shoyu Soba (₱390), Shio Soba (₱390), and Miso Soba (₱410) with 1 slice of Char Siu and no egg as the standard bowl. This is surprisingly affordable compared to how much you would pay in other Tsuta Ramen international branches. Char Siu Ajitama Shoyu Soba (₱620). Char Siu (4 slices), Flavoured Egg, Bamboo Shoot, Leek & Truffle Pureed in Truffle Oil. The Shoyu is made from soybeans that have been aged for 2 years to fully mature at the Shoyu Brewery in Wakayama. The combination of the dashi with the shoyu and truffle oil is the best and the signature of the restaurant. Make sure to order it with 4 slices of Char Siu and the egg. Char Siu Ajitama Miso Soba (₱670). Char Siu (4 slices), Flavoured Egg, Early Red Onion, Corn, Beansprouts, Hot Sauce, Porcini Mushroom Oil & Watercress. The miso sauce is a fermented paste of Haccho Miso from Tokushima Prefecture mixed with porcini mushroom oil, hot sauce, corn, and onions to bring out the flavor of the miso. This is my favorite because it is spicy, with lots of miso, and heavier than the shoyu. Char Siu Ajitama Shio Soba (₱620). Char Siu (4 slices), Flavoured Egg, Bamboo Shoot, Leek & Green Olives Pureed in Truffle Oil. The shio sauce is made from Okinawa sea salt and Mongolian rock salt so you get that nice clear and salty broth. The Japanese like it with green olives and raw onions, which overpowers the dish when you eat it. 3. The Ramen Noodle The noodles are thin and firm made from a special combination of whole wheat and whole grain flours. Currently, it is imported from Japan, but the noodles would be freshly made onsite soon. Nothing beats freshly made ramen noodles. 4. Toppings Ajitama (Egg). I love the soft-boiled runny quality and the intense yellow color of the egg. They use carefully selected eggs by Chef Yuki himself from a local free-range farm that meet the quality standard. Char Siu. The marinated pork belly is imported from Japan and they slice it when you order. Best to order the 4 pieces toppings. Side Dishes Aburi Niku (₱130). Charred Pork Cubes with Onion Sauce. Garnished with Leek and Watercress. Niku Meshi (₱200). Diced roasted pork on rice served with onion sauce. Make sure to order the torched pork cubes topped with sweet onion sauce, served as is or as a rice topping. Ro-su Char Siu (₱100). Roasted Pork Char Siu with Butter Sauce. Garnished with Leek and Watercress. Ro-su Meshi (₱170). Sliced roasted pork shoulder on rice topped with a fragrant butter sauce. You can also order the roasted pork char siu served with a signature butter sauce that people rave about. All items on the menu taste the same as you would have them in other Tsuta branches except for this one, which is not smoked. And the quality of the butter sauce is different. Final Thoughts Tsuta is so different from the Tonkotsu-based ramen we are used to because of its chicken, fish, and clam-based broth. We actually like Tsuta better because it’s healthier and soulful, like a mix of tinola-halaan-fish soup without the MSG with truffle oil. You can even eat this every day if you want, unlike the Tonkotsu broth, which is like a heavy bulalo soup that you can only eat once in a while. The Char Siu Ajitama Shoyu Soba is the best among the three choices, followed by Char Siu Ajitama Miso Soba if you like something spicy with miso. Order the Aburi Niku on the side. The pricing here is cheaper compared to eating the exact same bowl in Hong Kong. You can enjoy even its entry-level bowl with 1 char siu at ₱390, plus egg with an additional ₱60. Budget about₱700/head for a full experience. We can’t wait to go back, especially when they start making their noodles onsite. We hope they can also have seasonal ramen, improve the Ro-su Char Siu, and provide dessert options. Congratulations to the FOODEE group for the successful opening of Tsuta Ramen in Manila! TSUTA MANILA UG/F C3 Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig (Located in the former location of Arrozeria, beside Single Origin and near the original Wholesome Table) Operating Hours: Open Daily 11:30 AM until supplies last. Facebook: Tsuta Philippines Instagram: @TsutaPhilippines Related blog post: TSUTA: The First Michelin Star Ramen that totally deserves it. Live an Awesome Life,
Founder, www.OurAwesomePlanet.com Disclosure: We were media guests during the opening of Tsuta Ramen in Manila. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights. P.S. If they want to use Soba instead of Ramen (which originated from Chinese), why use the word Char Siu (which is Chinese) instead of Chasu?