Most people’s midlife crises end with them slumped over a bar counter, sporting an attractive beer belly and unshaven whiskers.
James Chant is not like most people.
After becoming disillusioned with the music industry work he’d been doing all his life, James decided to stop making music and start making ramen. Which in all honesty, is a wise decision, if you ask me. Music might be food for the soul but at the end of the day, it’s what’s in our bellies that truly satisfies us.
And satisfy people he did! From pop-ups to meal kits, Matsudai Ramen has been exceptionally successful since its launch. With the approval of thousands of fans across the country and an impressive following, it seems almost blasphemous that I have yet to try any of Matsudai’s offerings. Well, their Cardiff pop-up at Milkwood was insanely popular and assembling a DIY ramen kit is just not my thing – I’m too lazy for that. I also do not own a frying pan to crisp up the chashu, but I digress.
Matsudai’s journey to cult-favorite status was not easy. Making ramen is an annoyingly scientific process, full of multiple ingredients and tedious measurements.
It’s also difficult when you don’t have a background in professional cooking.
It’s even more difficult when you’re trying to do all this with a pandemic going on.
But as mentioned earlier, our beloved ramen maestro isn’t the everyman. He’s basically a giant ball of creativity and passion and hard work rolled together and molded into the likeness of James Chant. Supported by his wife and now his team, Matsudai has emerged from multiple lockdowns stronger than ever and is in the midst of an exciting collaboration with Uncle Roger. The rather unlikely duo have teamed up to create their own rendition of Iekei-inspired tonkotsu ramen.
Featuring rich pork and chicken bone soup flavoured with shoyu tare and schmaltz, topped with chashu and the sacred ramen egg, this hearty bowl of noodles is perfect for the gloomy weather we’ve been experiencing recently. It’s also worth pointing out that the shade of the broth is rather similar to Uncle Roger’s ever-so-iconic orange polo, if you’re into that sort of thing.
This collab is available from October 21st to November 6th at Matsudai’s London pop-up. They’re also doing nationwide delivery kits and for those who prefer slogging away in the kitchen, the recipe is up on their website so you can make your own ramen from scratch. Be warned though, in the words of whoever wrote the recipe (James, I assume), a lot of work and preparation is required so the cooking can be spread across the course of a few days.
Honestly, just order the kit instead.