The TAMPOPO, a Japanese restaurant based in Singapore has another branch in Metro Manila, a casual fine dining resto in Bonifacio High Street, BGC. It is joining the heating competition of serving the best ramen, tonkatsu, katsudon, and other authentic Japanese foods in the Metro.
Mr. George Huang, co-owner of Tampopo's Philippine Franchise and the Marketing Director of Tampopo's Philippine franchise, briefed us the history of Tampopo and the features of their best ramen and katsudon dishes. He recalled that Tampopo store was founded by A Japanese fellow named Takaaki Takagi san who went to Singapore to work in a drinks company, the Pokka, for several years. When Takagi resigned from Pokka, he decided to stay in Singapore and started the Tonkichi, one of the best Tonkatsu Restaurants in Singapore and eventually in HongKong. Later on, he founded another Japanese restaurant in Singapore and called it the Tampopo, deriving from Japanese tanpopo (タンポポ) which literally means "dandelion", a kind flower that could withstand hard weather conditions. Opening the first Tampopo restaurant was inspired by the 1985 Japanese comedy film of the same name, Tampopo, that was popularly publicized as the first "Ramen Western" written and directed by Juzo Itami.
|Tampopo at the upper level of C2 Building of the Bonifacio High Street in BGC, Taguig City|
Takagi is very particular in the ingredients that he wanted to maintain his patronage and of being nationalistic that he has to import from Japan all the ingredients needed for his dishes in Singapore.
The Philippine franchise of Tampopo is co-owned by George Huang, Ty Tang, and the celebrity Chris Tiu. It is the Tampopo's first branch outside of Singapore. The branches (another one is at the new Promenade in Greenhills) become the first 2-in-1 ramen & tonkatsu specialty resto concept in the Philippines.
The ramen and tonkatsu are fantastic Japanese foods. Part of the challenge faced by the Tampopo in running the resto is the assurance of serving fine authentic Japanese dishes as it requires expensive and bigger kitchen. They sacrificed some space for the installation of the needed kitchen and even extended more space for the ceiling.
They also have to put more space for storing supplies and other inventories as they are bringing in almost all the items and supplies from Japan to keep their dishes authentic.
Tampopo is proud of what they called as the perfect tonkatsu. They used great pork they imported directly from the US. Cooking underwent through the proper technique of handling and storing the meat, the proper tenderization, and the use of proper seasonings. Tampopo uses special bread crumbs that come all the way from Japan. Diners are assured that whatever ingredients the Tampopo is using in Singapore, they also used it here in the Philippines. The frying is done using pure vegetable oil with no additives or fillers in it. The dish is fried under a regulated proper temperature setting to produce a juicy tonkatsu.
Tampopo also take pride of using kurobuta (black pig meat) to go along with their ramen and katsudon. The meat is juicy and there is a lot of marbling in it.
|De Luxe Tampopo Black Pig Ramen - in a milky cream-colored pork bones soup. The soup actually has no dairy product added in it. The milky texture of the soup is the result of boiling the pork bones up to 48 hours straight or at least two days.|
|Pork Loin Yanagawa - has perfect tonkatsu of premium pork imported directly from the US, coated in bread crumbs from Japan.|
|It is served on the side with rice and Tojiru soup, a special miso soup with slices of meat and vegetables in it.|
|You can even have these popular Japanese drinks at Tampopo's casual fine dining in Bonifacio High Street, BGC.|
|The classic Japanese dishes are just all over the walls that double as the Tampopo's menu|