Mu Artisan’s Shirley Chia is carving เล่นสล็อต a space for artisan brewed soy sauce in Kuala Lumpur. She hopes it can one day be appreciated as much as artisan bread, coffee and wine.
Soy sauce is one of the most fundamental condiments in any Chinese kitchen. Yet despite its ubiquity, many home cooks and professional chefs opt for mass-produced varieties. Shirley Chia, a third generation traditional soy sauce brewer in Kuala Lumpur, is hoping to elevate this umami-rich liquid into something more precious and delicious through her label, Mu Artisan soy sauce.
Chia didn’t plan to join the family business, Xin Seng Fatt, which was established in 1957 – she started out working in private and investment banking. But after climbing the corporate ladder for 11 years, she found herself asking if it was what she was meant to be doing.
“Growing up, I imagined myself as a corporate person. But about four years ago, I reached the point where I was longing for something more meaningful and satisfying,” she recalled.
“I observed my ageing parents struggling at their work and began to explore other avenues for the soy sauce trade. Handmade bread and coffee were so appreciated but not handmade soy sauce. I also wondered why artisan wine had value but not artisan soy sauce, which also requires effort to brew over long periods.”
With these burning questions, she established Mu Artisan in 2019. “Mu is from the company name Musee which I started three years ago. ‘Musee’ is the French word for ‘museum’ and I wish to have a food museum one day. Handmade soy sauce is an art and I believe that it deserves to be celebrated and preserved for years to come,” she stated.