Maruhachi Donburi & Curry is a hidden gem selling crackling restaurant-quality tonkatsu out of a hawker stall

by Evan Mua

While we love Japanese food, an authentic Japanese meal would often burn a hole in our pockets. It’s normally hard to find an authentic Japanese spot that’s also very wallet-friendly, especially for niche items like tonkatsu — that is until we found out about Maruhachi Donburi & Curry.

Helmed by a former chef from now-defunct premium tonkatsu restaurant Ginza Bairin, they opened their first outlet at Punggol earlier this year. They’ve garnered plenty of attention for featuring top-quality tonkatsu at very affordable prices in a hawker setting, thanks to the chef’s years of experience.

Banking on their success, Maruhachi recently expanded to a second outlet at Havelock Road to serve those living in the central area, closer to Orchard where Ginza Bairin used to be.

At the new Havelock outlet, you can find the same high-quality tonkatsu at wallet-friendly prices they are known for — with a Pork Katsu Don costing only S$9.80.

maruhachi donburi curry review

But of course, there’s no point coming to Maruhachi without getting a taste of their signature Black Pig Pork Katsu Set (S$15.80). Being a huge fan of Ginza Bairin, was very excited to get a taste of their rendition and compare it against my old love.

My verdict? As good as it ever was. The black pork had just the perfect bouncy bite while a gentle fat scored the tender meat to give it some juicy bite, while the panko crust wasn’t too oily and had an immaculate airy crunch when you bit down on it.

Honestly, this is a pretty good deal since S$15.80 won’t even score you tonkatsu sets at most tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore, much less a kurobuta set.

maruhachi donburi curry review

Give it a gentle swig in the piquant tonkatsu or a dollop of the sharp mustard to give it a bit more oomph but really, the pork is good enough on its own.

If you prefer all your ingredients already jumbled up in a hearty rice bowl, Maruhachi’s Special Pork Katsu Don (S$12.80) will be right up your alley. The flavourful sauce, rich egg, and crunchy onions all mix together for a delightful bite.

While not fancy kurobuta, each morsel of pork was almost as delectably textured as the ones in the tonkatsu set — in fact, some may prefer this with the silky mouthfeel the egg yolk imparts.

maruhachi donburi curry review

Of course, not everyone is a pork fan even if that’s Maruhachi’s signature but no worries because their chicken katsu is pretty solid too, especially when paired with their gloriously thick curry like the Chicken Katsu Curry (S$8.80).

Unlike the tender bouncy bite of the pork, the chicken is a tad firmer but it’s still very enjoyable for a lower price point. Don’t worry if you’re spice-intolerant, because the curry here is milder in heat but instead sports a sweeter punch like you’d expect from good Japanese curry.

maruhachi donburi curry review

It’s so rich and decadent that I’d slather it all over the rice, the chicken, and even slices of my kurobuta. It was that addictive.

Honestly, Maruhachi’s authentic Japanese offerings might beat out many of the more expensive Japanese restaurants you’d find in malls. It’s almost on par with Ginza Bairin, and undoubtedly one of the best Japanese food stalls you can find in any food court or kopitiam in Singapore. It’s definitely worth a try if you love Japanese food.

Maruhachi Donburi & Curry (Havelock Road)
Facebook | Instagram
???? 51 Havelock Road #01-06, Singapore 161051
????️ 11am–9pm (Wed–Mon)

Maruhachi Donburi & Curry (Punggol)
???? 671 Edgefield Plains, Happy Hawkers, Singapore 821673
????️ 11am–9pm (Wed–Mon)

For more lifestyle updates like this, subscribe to our Telegram channel at @confirmgood.

+ posts

The guy who will go on a 30 minute monologue about artisan coffee when you ask if they want Starbucks.

Related Posts