Founded in Cardiff in the tail end of 2019, the Matsudai Ramen pop-up is Wales’ only dedicated ramen ‘slurp spot’; serving up steaming bowls of hand-made noodles, long-simmered broths and deeply flavoured toppings.
Attracting high praise from local foodies, popular food bloggers and even established ramen cooks from across the pond, tickets for Matsudai Ramen’s events routinely sold out within minutes of going on sale.
Then on March 23rd, the Coronavirus lockdown came into effect, and like thousands in the hospitality business, Matsudai founder James Chant was forced to shut up shop.
From today (Monday 8th June), Matsudai Ramen’s online shop will be selling frozen, handmade ramen kits for home delivery. Each kit will cost £7.50 and contain broth, tare (complex seasoning), aroma oil and a bundle of specially paired noodles.
Just like at the pop-up events, each week will showcase a different kind of ramen – from super-rich tonkotsu and tori paitan broths; to more delicately balanced shio and shoyu bowls, and hearty, umami-stuffed miso bowls. There will be at least one vegan and vegetarian ramen available every week.
Customers will also be able to add on extras (like pork belly and/or ramen eggs) before checking out, and in the coming weeks, there are plans to start adding more extras, and some weekly ‘special’ bowls.
After weeks of uncertainty followed by a period of planning for home delivery, founder James Chant is excited to get back into the kitchen.
He said, “I was just a few weeks into a kitchen takeover in Roath when the lockdown came into effect – each week busier than the last. It was a real blow to have to bow out early when we had such momentum behind us.
“The lockdown has given me time to reflect and come up with a plan though, and I’m really excited to get ramen out around Cardiff again. Frozen ramen works 99% as well as getting it in a restaurant – much better than getting a hot takeaway – and I’ve had this idea for a long time so I can’t wait to roll it out.
” As well as the ramen, I’ll also be selling homemade chilli oils; spices and condiments; authentic Japanese imported ceramic ramen bowls; spoons; chopsticks; t-shirts; and gift sets.”
Matsudai Ramen home delivery will be available in Cardiff, the Vale and into the South Wales Valleys; orders placed before a Tuesday night will be delivered Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Delivery charges will be calculated by distance.
For the first two weeks, James will also be donating 10% of the profits from his online sales to Black Lives Matter.