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In a nondescript kopitiam in Edgefield Plains, a relatively new HDB estate in Punggol, queues have been forming around lunch and dinner time at Maruhachi, a tonkatsu specialist that opened in November 2020. The claim to fame is restaurant-quality tonkatsu (Japanese breaded deep-fried pork cutlets) served in a humble setting, and at correspondingly friendlier prices. The chef-owner is Indonesian-born Singaporean PR August Wijaya, 38, who prior to this was the head chef at the Ion Orchard outpost of a famous Tokyo-based tonkatsu restaurant for almost nine years (off the record, he tells us the name of the restaurant which closed down in 2018, as he had left on bad terms). He continued working in a management role with the restaurant group that brought the brand to Singapore, running a few other Japanese eateries before leaving last September amid the pandemic, citing disagreements with the business.

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