Generally speaking, Michelin Guides thrive on exclusivity. For more than a century, the books—along with their anonymous inspectors and coveted red stars—have defined haute cuisine around the world, propping up some of the most expensive and revered restaurants on the map.
Still, in more recent years, Michelin has started to broaden its horizons, peeking past the often stuffy world of traditional fine dining in favor of more casual hole-in-the-walls. In 2015, Tokyo, Japan’s Tsuta became the first ramen joint in the world to earn a star from the guide, and now it looks like the shop has some friendly competition down the block.
Last week, Michelin revealed its 2017 stars for Tokyo—a city that’s become increasingly lauded as the food capital of the world—and buried in the list was yet another ramen shop, Nakiryu, located in the same neighborhood of Toshima.
As Rocket News 24 notes, the restaurant is famous for its take on dandan noodles—a Japanese version of the spicy Sichuan dish filled with scallions, chili oil, and minced pork. The restaurant often draws long lines, and a meal might cost somewhere between 800 and 1,000 yen ($7 to $8.75, USD), making it just a tad cheaper than three-star Manhattan mainstays like Per Se and Le Bernardin.
Though ramen has been rebranded in recent years as a gourmet dish—with the U.S. thinking of David Chang more often than broke college students—the decision to include Nakiryu is yet another example of the changing tides at Michelin. Earlier this year, the guide awarded a star to its first street vendor, Chan Hon Meng from Singapore, and Hong Kong’s Tim Ho Wan has long been known as the world’s cheapest Michelin-approved eatery.