All About Japan

High Quality Ramen Isn't Just for Restaurants

| Ramen , Michelin

The Tokyo ramen restaurant Tsuta attracted attention from around the world in December 2015 when it became the first ramen restaurant ever to be awarded a Michelin star. While its delicious ramen was already a hit with those in the know, Tsuta's newfound fame means that if you want to eat in the Sugamo-district restaurant, you’ll need to be prepared to wait multiple hours for a seat.

If you don’t think you can hold out that long, there’s another way to enjoy some Tsuta ramen. From May 24, Circle K and Sunkus convenience stores will start selling Tsuta-designed prepackaged ramen. Meant to be eaten cold to ward off the steamy heat of early summer in Japan, the ¥498 (US$4.60) Tsuta's in-store ramen uses thin noodles and a soy-based broth enhanced with chicken bullion, fish stock, and flavorings that mimic the truffle extract found in Tsuta’s restaurant ramen.

The ramen will be available at Circle K and Sunkus stores across Japan, with the exception being branches in Kyushu. Also, stores in Kanto (the eastern part of the country that includes Tokyo, Kanagawa and Chiba) will be selling a second convenience store dish from Tsuta: Makanai Niku Meshi.

Inspired by makanai, simple dishes restaurant workers often make for themselves by combining whatever ingredients they’ve got on hand, the ¥360 (US$3.27) Makanai Niku Meshi uses a white truffle extract sauce to flavor its rice and chunks of chashu (braised pork), which are cooked together to create a synergy of flavors. The relatively small portion should make it great for a quick snack or to enjoy as a side dish to the Tsuta ramen.

Both items go on sale May 24, 2016, and will be available until June 20. While the instant ramen probably won’t taste quite as good as the dish that made Tsuta world-famous, it’s much less of a time commitment, and its lengthy shelf life might make it a great souvenir for any ramen-loving friends or relatives.

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