Tsuta Japanese Soba Noodle was one of the first restaurants I got to know when I moved to Hong Kong.
We were living in temporary housing at the time, and our apartment was located right above Hong Kong's biggest mall, Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. Tsuta was literally less than 100 steps outside of our apartment lobby. Every time we walked home, we would inevitably pass the restaurant and the fragrant smells of the black truffle shoyu ramen would tempt me to enter in.
I won't tell you how many times I answered that call.
Moving to Wan Chai, we lost our super-ready access to Tsuta, though we soon discovered that there was another location in Causeway Bay. This location is right near Times Square on Tai Lung Street, a delightful Japanese-feeling street with all different types of ramen shops. Best part? It was only a 10-minute walk from our new apartment.
Though winter here hardly feels like winter to this Boston girl, winter has ushered in a few new noodle dishes at Tsuta. If you're a duck fan, you will rejoice. Both new dishes are duck-based, and we tried both on our last visit.
The Kabo Abura Soba (pictured above; $98 HKD or $113 HKD with egg; $12.53 USD or $14.45 USD), is a dry noodle dish where the fresh soba noodles are tossed in duck oil and served with slices of chashu duck breast as well as fresh chopped onions, cashews, and optionally a flavored egg (ajitama).
The dish comes with a small cup of their signature chicken broth, which is a nice, light accompaniment to the richly flavored noodles. I would recommend ordering this one if you really enjoy the chewy texture of fresh noodles and the intense flavor of duck fat. I am not a huge duck fat person, but I found that having the light chicken broth to drink with the noodles helped a lot.
The other new items on the menu is the Kamo Paitan soba, which is a soup noodle ($98 HKD or $113 HKD with egg; $12.53 USD or$14.45 USD). The broth is made from cooking duck bones for 5-hours, resulting in a thick broth that's full of collagen and duck flavor. The ingredients are similar, but the flavor is quite different since the intensely flavored duck broth is the prodominant flavor, not duck oil.
Because it's a soup noodle, the noodles absorb the soup and overall the texture is a bit softer.
I actually had a hard time deciding which one I liked better. At first I found the duck oil flavor to be a bit strong (unlike Bryan, I've never been a huge duck or duck fat person). However, as I went back and forth between the two dishes, the texture and flavor of the dry noodle began to grow on me a lot, and I think at the end of the meal I may have actually preferred the dry noodle.
Honestly, both are very enjoyable and you can't really go wrong if you like duck.
Service is pretty quick. You order and pay right when you enter the restaurant. Within 5-10 minutes, your noodles show up.
They cook each batch of noodles to order so that the texture is optimal.
Bryan often feels like the portion sizes at Tsuta aren't quite enough to fill him up, so he'll either order extra noodles (we did that for the dry duck noodles and it was awesome!) or a small side dish like the Rosu-Meshi (sliced pork with butter soy sauce) pictured above. For me, a single bowl of the normal ramen is just perfect and I can finish the whole thing.
All in all, it was fun trying the seasonal menu. The Tsuta duck ramen dishes will only be around in the winter (January to March), so if you want to try it, definitely stop by soon. Personally, my favorite is still the shoyu soba (just love that black truffle sauce!), so I'll probably get that the next time I come, though I wouldn't be surprised if Bryan got one of the duck noodles.
Lines can sometimes build up here. If you show up around or before 12pm for lunch (they open at 11:30AM), you should be fine.
Shop 2, G/F, 18 Tang Lung St, Causeway Bay
Hours: 11:30AM - 9:00PM
Disclaimer – I was invited by Tsuta to come and try the new duck noodles. I did not pay for this meal, nor was I paid to write this blog post. All opinions are my own.