Back in December, there was a bit of surprise when, in a first, a lowkey Tokyo ramen restaurant was awarded a Michelin star. The world of le guide Michelin is one full of celeriac foam and trios of deconstructed duck, so the fact that a restaurant serving humble ramen now stood in the same company as the Jiros and Alan Ducasses of the world made waves.
If a ramen restaurant earning a Michelin star was surprising, then this might turn the world of haute cuisine on its head: Tsuta, the home of Michelin-starred ramen, is teaming up with the convenient store chain Circle K and its affiliated chain Sunkus to sell Tsuta instant ramen.
Ever since Tsuta was awarded the star, lines at Tsuta have been pretty outrageous, with people standing in line for hours for a bowl of their ramen. Ramen is typically consumed pretty quickly, so that's a long wait for the stuff, however delicious it is. (And we're talking "rosemary-flavored barbecued pork and soy sauce ramen with a hint of porcini mushroom"-level delicious.)
By teaming up with Circle K and Sunkus, Tsuta is really bringing its ramen to the masses. For 498 yen—under $5—you can now pick up a bowl of signature Tsuta instant ramen. The ramen, which is meant to be eaten cold, includes thin noodles with a soy-based broth featuring chicken bouillon, fish stock, and flavor that mimics truffle extract, an ingredient that features in ramen at Tsuta proper, according to Rocket News 24.
Tsuta isn't stopping with ramen, either, and will be serving makanai niku meshi—a dish with rice, chasu pork, and white truffle extract sauce—for the equivalent of roughly US $3.25. Makanai is a dish typically thrown together by restaurant workers with whatever is lying around. Tsuta's grab and go take on the meal is only available in Kanto, the eastern part of Japan around Tokyo.
So if you're in Japan between May 24 and June 20, the limited window when the instant Tsuta items will be available, you can get a taste of Michelin-esque action for under five bucks, or two courses for about $8. It might be pricier than Top Ramen or Maruchan, but it promises to be tastier and less reminiscent of your broke nights in college.