Crystal Lee: Oh, man. I go weak in the knees
for an egg like this.
Millions of these piping hot, umami-laden bowls
of noodles, meats, and veggies are eaten a day.
Tokyo restaurant Tsuta made headlines
by becoming the very first ramen restaurant
in the world to receive the coveted Michelin star,
and now their award-winning ramen
is available in downtown San Francisco.
When they first opened, they only served 300 bowls a day,
so let's find out why this soba is so popular.
Now, even though this location is a franchise
and doesn't have a Michelin star itself,
word spread, and with plenty of fans eager to line up,
their first North American expansion has been a hit,
even among locals who've had the real thing.
So, we had to ask, what is it
about this ramen that makes it so special?
Chloe Sun: So, when I first took a sip
of the truffle ramen,
I thought that the broth was really delicious.
It was the same complexity
as the one that we had in Japan.
You know, the egg was cooked perfectly;
the noodles were really good.
I would say that Tsuta in San Francisco
is just as good,
especially if we're comparing the truffle ramen.
Crystal: What's the difference between ramen and soba?
Bobby Siu: So, soba is a term that's used
interchangeably in the context of ramen.
We wanna keep the flavors of Japan,
kind of bring that over, and we wanna
bring as much authenticity as we can,
using Japanese ingredients.
I'd say something like 60% to 70%
of our ingredients are imported from Japan.
Crystal: So everything on your menu here
really is inspired or the same recipe
as what is served in Japan that got the Michelin star.
Bobby: Tsuta Japan's kind of like the R&D bed.
It's his main dish that he was awarded for,
is the shoyu soba.
It's got truffles in it.
Mark Sun: That first slurp, it just...
the umami-ness, of the soup,
they go as a perfect replication of Tsuta Japan.
Katsumi Osumi: I live in Japan more than 50 years.
I have had best soba
in the United States here.
Crystal: Here's how they make their famous
ajitama shoyu ramen.
Bobby: So, we start with a hot bowl, very hot bowl.
So, this is chicken oil, and we skim this
from when we make chicken stock.
This adds the fat to the dish.
The oils that come on the top,
and then when you pull the ramen up,
it coats every strand
and it gives you a little better mouthfeel.
It's not sticky; it's just slippery, kind of.
This is the main salt component of the ramen;
we call it tare.
It is brewed for two years, barrel aged.
And from here we can start doing our noodles.
Crystal: You have an infrared thermometer!
Bobby: It's an infrared thermometer
to check our temperatures.
Crystal: Gosh, so precise.
Bobby: We heat it up for order.
So, our noodles are made by us, off-site.
We drop it in, we start the timer.
Then we pour; we pour this direction,
and we kinda show it off.
We shake the residual water off.
If there's too much water on the noodles,
it's gonna dilute the soup.
So you kinda coat that chicken oil
that we have on top onto each strand.
This is our hosaki menya, this bamboo.
It's just the very tips of the shoots,
so they're very tender.
Some green onions, and then this is our truffle sauce.
Each bowl is finished off with the sauce.
Drop an egg in there.
Crystal: Time to eat!
Bobby: It is.
Crystal: Let's give it a shot.
There's a lightness to the broth that's really refreshing.
The fat here really comes in the truffle,
and you can really taste it.
The broth has a really earthy, maybe a smoky, flavor.
Aside from their tasty shoyu broth,
Tsuta also has a popular miso option.
Bobby: So, we run out of this very often.
This is called mame miso.
So, this is different than the miso
you would typically find in other restaurants
and just generally in the United States,
because the miso you'd typically find in the stores
is mixed with either wheat or rice or something else.
Maybe our second-best seller.
Crystal: Can I smell this? Bobby: Yeah.
Crystal: Oh, that's funky.
Bobby: Crystal, how about you try this one?
Crystal: Yeah, baby.
Bobby: Now, I normally make sure that
the soup is nice and hot.
Drop it on top and fluff it out
so they're not sticking together.
And you wanna give it a stir as soon as it drops.
Bobby: Once this breaks down all the vegetables,
all the seaweed, all that stuff breaks down into the broth,
then it's actually, like, part of it and puréed into it.
Crystal: It smells richer; it's creamier.
This broth is outstanding.
I really think I could just have the broth with some rice
and be really, really happy.
And the chashu, I love how they slice this really thinly.
It reminds me of deli meat a little bit.
The pork chashu takes two days.
It's cured overnight and then slow roasted.
Then it's marinated again in its mother chashu sauce,
kept since day one and recooked with each batch.
And it's just a really, really nice amount of surface area
to get at that flavor for you to feel
and get that broth with every bite.
That is the perfect egg.
Crystal: Pork feet.