When I took the first scoop of the Hajime’s Tonkatsu Ramen ($14.90), I thought ”How come taste like Tampopo like that?”.
Turns out that Chef Tan-San who is helming Hajime’s Kitchen was the founding Chef of Tampopo.
Hajime is the Japanese word for “beginning” (初め) and the short form for “Hajimemashite”, which means “Nice to meet you”.
With over 25 years of experience, Hajime’s Chef Tan-San’s journey began after a stint in Japan, and subsequently returned to helm the kitchen of Tonkichi and then Tampopo. Some of his ‘creations’ include Tampopo’s Kurobuta Pork Tonkatsu and Tonkatsu Ramen.
So the comparison becomes inevitable.
Hajime uses fresh Nama ramen noodles which are slightly thicker and chewier, compared to Tampopo’s Kyushu ramen noodles.
The Tonkotsu broth is simmered over 12 hours in-house and not purchased from production factories, while imported pork from Japan is used for the quality and tenderness.
To be fair, I haven’t had Tampopo in a while, perhaps a couple of months. BUT, I thought I preferred the soup base at Tampopo, seemed to be thicker and taster. I generally prefer a richer, creamy broth for tonkotsu ramen.
The noodles were also somewhat limpy for my liking.
On the other hand, I liked the Tonkatsu. Somehow many deep fried pork cutlets in Singapore are tough, dry or have a strong aftertaste. Hajime’s pork loin is air-flown Japanese pork, chosen for its juiciness and tenderness, and also had a good crunch without being oily.
Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
MyVillage @ Serangoon Garden, 1 Maju Avenue #02-07/8/9 Singapore 556679
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3:00pm, 6pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)