Travel 2 minutes 06 September 2019

7 MICHELIN-Recommended Ramen Joints In Tokyo

There are only three ramen restaurants in the world to hold MICHELIN stars and all three are in Tokyo. Check out these and four new Bib Gourmands in the MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019.

guide ramen Tokyo

The most recent 2019 edition of the MICHELIN Guide Tokyo made waves for ramen lovers with the addition of a new one-MICHELIN-starred ramen restaurant. Sobahouse Konjikihototogisu became the third one-MICHELIN-starred ramen restaurant in Tokyo — the only city that has ramen restaurants with Michelin stars. The edition also saw four new ramen entrants in the Bib Gourmand selection. If you are visiting this city with its thousands of ramen joints and at a loss for where to begin, here’s a handy guide to these new MICHELIN-recommended ramen restaurants.
Yuki Onishi, chef-owner of Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (Pic: MICHELIN Guide Digital)
Yuki Onishi, chef-owner of Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta (Pic: MICHELIN Guide Digital)

Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019 

Tsuta was a humble ramen joint operating out of Sugamo when it made history in 2015 by becoming the first ramen store in Tokyo to be recognised with a MICHELIN star. Though it now has outlets in Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila and the United States, nothing beats a visit to the MICHELIN-starred flagship in Tokyo.

What the inspectors say: “The signature dish is black truffle-scented ‘Shoyu Soba’; the full-flavoured sauce is made from raw soy sauce matured for two years and dashi from shellfish or beef. We also recommend the triple soup, made from a whole chicken, clams and dried seafood. It also goes well with the homemade noodles made from domestic wheat. Another popular choice is the ‘Shio Soba’ featuring white truffles and flavours of seafood.”

RELATED: Yuki Onishi Demonstrates Ramen Etiquette (Video)

The interior of Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu (Pic: Nakiryu website)
The interior of Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu (Pic: Nakiryu website)

Sosakumenkobo Nakiryu
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019

Nakiryu was only the second ramen restaurant in Tokyo to get a MICHELIN star after Tsuta in 2017. The outlet draws long lines for its gutsy Chinese-style dandanmen, although on the menu as well are shoyu and shio ramen along with rice bowls.

What the inspectors say: “The dandan noodles and soya-sauce ramen are especially popular at this restaurant. The chef pairs each broth with the right home-made ramen noodles with consummate skill. The richly sesame-flavoured dandan noodle stock, for example, is joined with angel-hair ramen with a wheaten aroma, while the deeply flavoursome stock of the Soy Sauce Ramen goes beautifully with the straight, flat-beaten, medium-thick noodles. Expect a queue at the door.”

(Pic: Konjikihototogisu Singapore Facebook)
(Pic: Konjikihototogisu Singapore Facebook)

Sobahouse Konjikihototogisu
One MICHELIN Star, MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019

Joining the prestigious ranks of ramen restaurants with MICHELIN stars is Sobahouse Konjikihototogisu, which cracked the top three earlier this year in the MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019. Expect to get in line outside the store situated in the back alleys of Shinjuku, though the ¥900 (S$12, HKD$66) bowl of MICHELIN-quality ramen is probably well worth the wait.

What the inspectors say: “The signature dish here is salty ramen with red tai and clams. The red sea bream, clams and Japanese dashi are made into a soup, which is paired with home-made noodles made from a blend of different stone-milled domestic flours. There is also roasted pork fillet featuring ribs and pork butt, garnished with white truffle oil, porcini mushrooms and inca berry sauce; enjoy the changes in flavour as the sauce mixes in.”

The MICHELIN Guide Tokyo 2019 also sees four new Bib Gourmand recipients in the ramen category worth checking out:
(Pic: Kane Kitchen Noodles Twitter)
(Pic: Kane Kitchen Noodles Twitter)

Kane Kitchen Noodles
This modern ramen joint in the Toshima district in Tokyo has both counter and table seating, making it a little more conducive for groups. The menu features three main varieties of ramen — Shoyu, Shio and Niboshi, with options for toppings like egg, pork and chicken char siew — as well as three specialty dishes that change seasonally, like rice bowls and dry tsukemen.

Chukasoba Nishino (Pic: Favy.jp)
Chukasoba Nishino (Pic: Favy.jp)

Chukasoba Nishino
Located in the Bunkyo ward near the Hongo-Sanchome Station, Chukasoba Nishino is actually the sister outlet of another Bib Gourmand establishment, Ramen Koike, offering a totally different kind of ramen. The Chuka Soba broth is fish-based, light but redolent with the umami from bonito, while the straight thin noodles are perfectly al dente and topped with roasted pork char siew, naruto fish cake and blanched komatsuna mustard leaves.

(Pic and banner pic: Chukasoba Ranchu flickr)
(Pic and banner pic: Chukasoba Ranchu flickr)

Chukasoba Ranchu
Chukasoba Ranchu feels like a blast to the past with its quaint interiors and lack of vending machines — the chef still takes your order at the table himself, a feat he can probably only manage because there’s only one thing on the menu: Chuka Soba. You can order your soba with egg (Ajitama Soba) or with extra noodles (Oomori), and Otsumami (pork char siew) on the side. The Niboshi broth is flavourful with just the right amount of smoky soya sauce tare so every slurp of noodles is sheer pleasure.

Noodles made on-site at Nonokura (Pic: Nonokura Twitter)
Noodles made on-site at Nonokura (Pic: Nonokura Twitter)
Nonokura
Nonokura is situated in the area around Kameaki Station crowded with popular ramen restaurants, but it has drawn long lines since opening in December 2017. Peek into the back of the store and you’ll see what has set this ramen joint apart from its competitors — fresh noodles made on-site. These homemade noodles are fat and squiggly, with a chewy texture not unlike udon, while the broth is made from chicken, fish dashi and seven kinds of seafood.

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