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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Yes, You Can Dine at a Michelin-Starred Restaurant for $10

Michelin has awarded one star to a modest noodle joint in Tokyo, the first time ever for a restaurant that serves mainly soup and rice bowls.

Tsuta is a nine-seat neighborhood ramen shop that was cited for its flavorful broths, such as porcini mushroom and rosemary pork.

Ramen at Tsuta (Photo by Guilhem Vellut via flickr)

The spot is also known for its house-made soba noodles and for the soy ramen, "a clear soup made of kelp, pike fish, and clam stock added to a chicken base and naturally brewed soy sauce." Its pork over rice is another signature dish.

While there are 217 Michelin-starred eateries in Tokyo, none is as affordable as Tsuta. Steaming bowls of ramen can be had for under $10.

Low prices do not buy convenience. Expect long lines. The place was extremely popular even before being anointed by Michelin. (Bloggers report that lines move rather quickly, however.)

Why the fuss over an unassuming little cafe? The blog Japan Real Time explains: "While ramen can be a cheap and simple meal, few dishes are taken more seriously in Japan where eateries continue to introduce different styles of soup, noodles and ingredients."