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Crafty Ramen takes unique flavour nationwide

Crafty Ramen is proud to be celebrating 7 years in business
Photo credit: Jonathon Barraball

Crafty Ramen founders Miki and Jared Ferrall were heavily influenced by the travelling they did together across Japan.

The two met in Vancouver while Miki was visiting. They bonded over a mutual love of food and adventure and decided to move back to Miki’s home country of Japan, where they attended the Yamato School of Ramen together. While in Japan they spent time touring the country to learn more about ramen, trying every region’s unique flavours. They brought their learnings back to Canada with them and opened their mom-and-pop ramen shop in Guelph in 2017.

“We both grew up moving from city to city, but Jared’s family is here. When we came we wanted to connect to the community through food. For Japan, ramen is soul food, and it’s everywhere - like what burgers and fries are in North America,” said Miki.

“We never really talked about where we wanted to go with it when we opened. We figured if we would sell 100 bowls of ramen. We just wanted to support ourselves and survive.”

But they – like the rest of the world – had no idea what would come in 2020. Huge believers in bending the rules of food and taste, they had to find creative ways to share their food experience with people during the pandemic.

Their now-CEO Khalil Khamis was a regular customer and helped them open a second shop in Kitchener. But within four months, things were shut down due to COVID.

“When the pandemic hit, take-out was not enough. we began making ramen meal kits, so people could still have Crafty Ramen at home - the idea of being in grocery stores never even crossed our minds then,” said Miki.

“They were so popular, and every time we announced them on social media, they’d sell out in 15 minutes. We started doing it twice weekly, then three times and eventually had to make them a permanent feature. We even had to open a production facility to keep up.”

What started as an experiment - at-home ramen meals - has become a signature product, and propelled them to new heights in their business. Now with dining reopened, a production facility, and restaurants in Toronto and Kitchener alongside their home base in Guelph, things have changed mightily in just seven years.

“It’s been incredible to see how we’ve evolved. We reach most of Ontario, Alberta and parts of BC through our ramen subscription and have partnered with large fulfillment centres to make that delivery possible. Early on, grocery stores reached out to sell our ramen, starting with smaller independent shops, and now we’re also in major grocers, from coast to coast…we couldn’t have imagined any of this was possible when we first started down this path,” added Miki.

Photo credit: Jonathon Barraball

One major thing that has been the key to their success is their focus on localizing their food for those they serve.

“In Japan, ramen is often flavoured with pork, chicken or bonito base. Canadians come from so many places and backgrounds, it was important for us to be as inclusive as possible, so we moved away from ingredients people often might avoid, or are restricted by,” she said. “About 40 percent of our menu is vegan or vegetarian, and you don’t see that in other shops. Ramen noodles are also commonly made with eggs, but we choose not to as it makes our food accessible to more people.”

One thing Miki and Jared learned while travelling is that different areas used different ingredients – whether it was sardines by the water in Japan or pork in Kyushu, all ramen shops are unique. Which is why creativity and innovation in their recipes are so important to them - they are serious about ‘research and development’ in their kitchens, and trying new things.

It’s been an incredible journey for Crafty Ramen, but the most memorable moment for Miki was their experience on season 17 of Dragons’ Den, where they reached a potential deal with Arlene Dickinson.

“It was surreal to be there, especially because the original Dragons’ Den was a Japanese show. The team there was so supportive. Some say the Dragons are scary, but if you’re prepared you’ll be okay. It got Crafty Ramen a lot of exposure, and was an amazing experience,” she said.

The business also tries to support the local community and hosted a session recently with the Paul Hansell Foundation to raise awareness for mental health. They also host a Kids Eat Free Day on the first day of each month. For every kid's ramen bowl they make, they donate a bundle of noodles to The SEED, a charitable, non-profit food program, part of the Guelph Community Health Centre. Last year they donated over 300 bundles.

“We want to make sure our community and our team know we care. We are passionate about mental health and food insecurity and are involved however we can be. It’s a nice feeling when we can help, and make a small difference,” she said.

The current goal for Crafty Ramen is to continue its expansion into grocery stores across Canada, a wish that has both a business and personal appeal for Miki.

“When I moved here, there wasn’t a store for ethnic ingredients. If I wanted to cook Japanese food, I’d have to shop in Toronto. There was no ramen in Guelph. Food is important to people, especially newcomers to a country; it gives them security and comfort,” she said.

“It’s important that the food people love, and that makes them feel a sense of ‘home’ is accessible to them; I am happy to do what I can to bring Japanese comfort food a little closer through Crafty Ramen. Food isn’t just about a full stomach, it’s about warmth and memories. We want to bring that to people.”

Photo credit: Jonathon Barraball

About Crafty Ramen

Crafty Ramen is ramen, reimagined. With restaurants in Guelph, Kitchener and Toronto, Crafty Ramen has been serving delicious, Japanese-inspired food to the community since its doors first opened in 2017.

Delivering to Ontario, Alberta and Lower Mainland B.C., and available at grocery stores across Canada, Crafty Ramen's meal kits, frozen ramen, and subscription services offer a simple, creative, at-home cooking experience.

Named one of Canada's Top Growing Companies in 2023 and featured in the 17th season of CBC's Dragons' Den, you can find restaurant locations, grocery partners and frozen ramen shipped to you, at