Hajime @ MyVillage: Tonkatsu that feeds the illusion

Shan't beat around the bush here. Hajime Tonkatsu Ramen situated on the 2nd floor of MyVillage in Serangoon Gardens does one of the most perfect renditions of Tonkatsu I've ever had, with a serious consideration of price context of course. 

Fill up on starters such as Gyoza and Grilled Edamame Beans before moving on to the showstoppers on the menu, no, we're not talking about the ramen here, but the more humble Tonkatsu pictured above. The Premium Pork Loin Set ($19.90) presents two banded fats and homemade panko crumbs over juicy pork - ensuring a tsunami of flavors delivered. Not to be overlooked is the side of miso soup, lovingly made from scratch and leaving the run-off-the-mill packet versions lying in the dust. Note that this ain't refillable, so ration your liquid elixir with care. If you're looking for something a little less exquisite, the normal pork loin rakes in at $16.90 which makes the jump to the premium stuff a no-brainer.

Whoever first put eggs, pork cutlet and stewed onions in a bowl deserves a seriously prestigious award, in my opinion. Dished out over rice bathed in a glorious soy mirin sauce, you've pretty much got food nirvana right there. Hajime's Katsu Don ($12.90) rises up to the occasion and I would be so brave as to deem it one of the best and value-for-money renditions out there. With the sauce and scrambled egg mixture cooked separately from the freshly fried tonkatsu; you're guaranteed a party in the mouth with crispness stemming from the homemade panko crumbs on the pork loin to the sheath of Nori that guards the fluffy Niigata rice from the onslaught of sweet mirin broth.

Not quite the star of the show, the Tonkatsu Ramen ($14.90) beats the notion that a good ramen with a side of decent crispy pork loin will chalk up a hefty bill. No, it really doesn't. This delicious, albeit wallet-friendly combination proving otherwise. Then there's the fact that the pork loin is gorgeously crumbed (both top and bottom side, which is a rarity) and the ramen broth is a legit tonkatsu broth sans the excessive saltiness nor fou fou. No, corn nor extra leeks nor floating bits and bobs of chili oil. Here, simplicity is key and you know so from the self-ordering service counter and fast turn-over rates.

If there's anything I can contribute to egg you on that further distance (to Serangoon Gardens that is..); is that Hajime is helmed by Chef Tan whom is one of the veteran chefs responsible for Tonkatsu and Tampopo in its initial stages. The resemblance is uncanny, however, the product itself speaking volumes about the missing techniques lost in translation after commercialization has taken reigns. I'll let you be the judge to that.

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