Isamu "Sam" Morikizono, owner of Tajima, chats about their focus on its ramen and how they are putting a lot of attention towards their recipes and the quality. Watch the video below.
Filmed & Edited by Jarnard Sutton
About Isamu "Sam" Morikizono
Photo credit Jarnard Sutton
Are you from San Diego?
I was raised in Japan. When I was older, I traveled for a bit. I lived in Illinois for two years, then Los Angeles for six and then finally in 2001, I settled in San Diego.
What inspired you to become a chef?
I really enjoy cooking. I love creating something from a mix of ingredients and sharing that dish with friends and family. Nothing is better than seeing people smile after they enjoy something you made.
What has your journey been since the launch of Tajima?
When Tajima first launched, our focus was to offer traditional Japanese dishes for Japanese and Asian customers. Once our ramen gained popularity, we shifted focus towards creating delicious ramen with high quality ingredients. Over the years, we've proudly opened seven additional locations, continuing our journey of being San Diego's favorite ramen hotspot.
Why do you think Tajima has been so successful and popular with diners in San Diego?
Good food and friendly service, and a desire to always improve what we offer to our customers.
18 years ago, did you think Tajima would have grown this much?
I had no idea! It's been great.
What makes ramen such a popular dish?
Ramen is unique and special, but is also good food to be enjoyed in a casual atmosphere. It’s also a very comforting and memorable dish. Many people talk about their first ramen experience because it stands out among other meals.
Where do you see the ramen trend going in the future?
Ramen will be the next American soul food...
What is your favorite dish on the menu?
Spicy Sesame ramen!
What's your favorite ingredient to cook with?
No favorites. I love all ingredients.
What is one culinary trend you're noticing in San Diego?
The trends are constantly changing in the food industry, especially with technology and social media. And I always want to know the newest things customers are into!
When you're not coming up with delicious dishes, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with my family. I also like to travel and explore, especially as a way to keep up on food trends.
What's next for you?
Continuing to make Tajima better and better!