Manzoku founder, Mei Chan, holding a fresh batch of ramen in her Howard-based production facility.
Photo: Mike Zenari
The ramen craze has already hit plenty of cities worldwide, and now entrepreneur Mei Chan has set up a production facility in Howald, hoping to bring the Japanese noodle craze to the Luxembourg market.
Manzoku is a Japanese term, roughly translated as “satisfaction” or “comfort”. It's also the name of the brand created by Mei Chan, a British-born Chinese living in Luxembourg, who developed a taste for ramen during her design studies. “Manzoku is all about soul food,” Chan says, “food that actually speaks to your mind and senses.”
An avid traveller, Chan’s love for ramen continued throughout her life, particularly when she spent three years working in Hong Kong and was exposed to a wide variety of cuisine. At home in Luxembourg, she cooks regularly at home, but “Japanese [cuisine] is probably the most popular one in the family…it’s hearty, wholesome, flavourful, nothing too complicated, but our family loves it.”
A noodle-making course, however, solidified Chan’s passion for ramen, giving her a new appreciation for the noodles and their variance from one region in Japan to another.
Mei Chan says one of the beauties about ramen is the way each bowl can be customised based on individual taste. Photo: Mike Zenari
To give the Luxembourg market a taste of these varieties, Manzoku will launch three types of Luxembourg-made ramen, each paired with a different broth base from Japan. The ramen varieties represent the north, west and central regions of Japan, respectively: there’s a thicker Sapporo noodle paired with a robust miso broth. The thinnest Hakata noodle is paired with a tonkotsu (pork-based) broth. The Tokyo noodle, yellow due to egg powder, is paired with a shoyu (soy-based) sauce.
“You can have a meal in 2-3 minutes,” Chan says. “If you want something more elaborate, you can prepare it beforehand. At home, we have a schmorgasbord of toppings and each make our own bowls.”
Get your ramen fix
By mid-September, Manzoku’s three ramen kits will hit Pall Center shops, with a taste testing planned at the Oberpallen site on 15 September.
But, perhaps most exciting, is “our humble little ‘one-stop pop-up shop”, as Chan calls it, scheduled to open on Friday 6 September, in Howald (just next door to ÉireLux). In addition to each of the individual ramen kits--the packaging design for which Chan designed herself--a four-portion, family-size pack will also be available.
Ramen-lovers will also be able to purchase ramen-related supplies, from utensils and tableware, to toppings which are normally difficult to source in the grand duchy. A range of Hitachino Nest beer and a sparkling sake, sourced from a brewery founded in 1823 and based in the Ibaraki prefecture, just north of Tokyo, will also be available for purchase through Manzoku’s mother company, Roku.
Read more about Manzoku in the next issue of Delano, which hits newsstands on 11 September.