Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen – Crispy Pork Loin Air Flown from Japan
We were introduced to Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen in Serangoon Gardens by Actor Edmund Chen. Indeed, it was an awesome recommendation! Started by Chef Tan who used to work in Tonkichi and Tampopo, he can jolly well been considered the tonkatsu master. His passion for Japanese cuisine led him to start Hajime this year. “Hajime” is the Japanese word for “beginning” and the short form for “Hajimemashite”, which means “nice to meet you”. He wants to spread his philosophy of going back to the food’s beginning and welcoming all customers warmly.
Bringing over 25 years of experience to the kitchen, the Premium Pork Loin ($19.90) is a premium cut of air-flown Japanese pork, chosen for its exquisite juiciness and tenderness. It is dunked in freshly made breadcrumbs for that extra crunch and accompanied by the crunchy and refreshing cabbage, which goes very well with Tonkatsu.
You should first grind their premium roasted sesame seeds with Tonkatsu sauce before dipping your pork in it to enhance its flavours. The Tonjiru Soup is made from Tonkotsu broth simmered with Japanese pork and a hint of Yuzu for over 12 hours. Finally, your meal is complete with the Niigata rice, grown in pristine waters from melting snow, then milled locally to lock in freshness. All Tonkatsu sets come with free flow of rice and cabbage.
We also tried the Tonkatsu Ramen ($14.90), with a tasty egg added at a price of $2. The ramen was flavourful and comforting but not impressive. The deep-fried pork is ordinary – it was still crispy but its meat, was not as tender and juicy. I would gladly chose the Premium Pork Loin over this.
Besides their best-selling Tonkatsu and Ramen, Hajime also serves a variety of side dishes, Donburi, curry dishes and desserts. We especially enjoyed their Gyoza ($6.90) where savoury fillings are enveloped within their thin gyoza skin and fried to a golden brown.
Located at Serangoon Gardens, this unpretentious eatery is an ideal spot to enjoy Tonkatsu. There was one particular waitress who was friendly and very helpful, taking their service standards up a notch. There are so many Japanese establishments popping up in Singapore recently but how do you know which is worth your money and calories? Well, for a start, Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen may be a good choice!
MissTamChiak.com made anonymous visit and paid its own meal at the stall featured here.