It took me a while to garner my thoughts on Tsuta and its forray into Singapore. I happened to be in Tokyo last year when news about Tsuta gaining its first michelin star spread around Tokyo. I was at a friend’s place when she pointed me to the article and suggested we visit the place the following day. Readily I agreed. The next day, however, she sent me a message of the latest online article of how queues were tremendously long (i.e. may not be so worth it to go after all). I guess the locals are quite ambivalent about the michelin guide. If Tsuta was not available, there were always other ramen places just as good.
So I did not get to try Tsuta when I was in Tokyo. Nevertheless, I still satisfied my ramen cravings by visiting Rokurinsha and Afuri, just to name a few. A few months after my return to Singapore, my Tokyo friend mentioned that she finally managed to snag one of the coverted tickets that allows you a seat at Tsuta. When I asked her how it was, I received a neutral comment that it was just “ok”.
I was rather surprised when Tsuta decided to expand the brand overseas and chose Singapore of all places. Of course, I was delighted that I would finally get to try the famous ramen, but was also wary about foreign exports. Having tasted ramen in Japan, I can honestly say that there is a difference between ramen in Japan and ramen in Singapore.
Nevertheless, I joined the norm and the queue. Both times when I went it was in the mid-afternoon and I waited about 15 – 20minutes before I got a seat. It also helps if you’re alone, it’s faster to get a seat then if you’re a couple and you insist on sitting together.
The first time I was there, I had the shoyu ramen which is proably the more famous bowl, out of the two types of ramen served at Tsuta.
One thing that struck me when the ramen was served was the strong truffle aroma. Indeed, the signature shoyu comes with pork collar char siu, bamboo, flavoured egg and truffle puree.
However, I found the broth a little too much on the salty side. It was quite tough to enjoy the broth on its own without having to reach for my tea afterward. Also, the texture of the char siu is quite different from the char siu we’re used to at other ramen places. Presumably, this is because pork collar is used. It was almost like having pieces of honey baked ham in the ramen (and not that melt in your mouth kind of char siu)
The second time I opted for the shio ramen. Compared to shoyu, shio ramen is generally known for having a lighter broth and is usually found in the Tokyo region. With little expectation, I dug in…
I actually preferred the shio ramen over the shoyu ramen. The shio ramen is made out of seafood and chicken salt, mixed with okinawa sea salt and mongolian rock salt, topped with the slightest hint of truffle oil. The broth had a slight acidic taste to it which went very well with the mint leaves. Now this was a broth which I could enjoy and sip to my heart’s content. It was aromatic and tasty at the same time. In this case, I thought there was a nice balance to the broth, unlike the shoyu ramen.
The bigger question here is, would I come back and queue again? Probably, but only if the queue is short. It’s nice, but not something which I would be willing to queue for.
Add: Pacific Plaza #01-01, 9 Scotts Road Singapore