Pretzel Sunday: How a German foodie is tying knots in Port Moody’s food scene

MunChi German Foods is selling pretzels, schnitzel and much more across the Lower Mainland
Amelie Janzen displays her home-made pretzels. Photo supplied

About eight years ago, Amelie Janzen was on a bicycle showing off her hometown to a friend. 

She toured him around her suburban town, which bordered Munich, Germany. She cycled to a lake she visited every summer. She took him to a series of nearby volleyball courts, when a bump forced her off course.

And changed her life. 


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As she was sprawled on the concrete path, Janzen lifted her head. She saw the man who would eventually become her husband, staring back at her, dressed in a local team’s soccer kit.

“I yelled at him in German,” Janzen said. “He only spoke English, and I was very confused because he was wearing a tracksuit with my hometown [soccer club] on it.” 

After the man explained he was from Vancouver, Janzen’s eyes lit up. In 2009, she travelled to Vancouver and fell in love with the ocean and the mountains. 

“I was 19 years old and I called my mom from a phone booth on Hastings Street,” Janzen said. “I told her, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but one day I will live here.’” 

Janzen told him about her love for Vancouver, and invited him for a drink later that night. Five days later, the couple moved to Vancouver together. They would go on to get married, settle in Port Moody, and have a daughter. 

Even though the bike crash brought Janzen to Canada, and sparked a family, she still longed to share her German heritage in B.C. 

Getting the MunChi’s

When Janzen moved to Vancouver, she made cakes for family members and friends. 

She spent years working in the front of house in various restaurants in Germany, but always had a passion to bake and cook. 

“I cooked with my omas and dad,” Janzen said. “In all my travels around the world, I was the one who would cook for the big hostels.” 

After she had her daughter during the pandemic, Janzen was inspired to launch her own business. Earlier this year, she started baking custom cakes and selling them on Facebook. 

In April, however, she launched a German-only menu that focused on selling some of her favourite food growing up: crispy schnitzel sandwiches and pretzels filled with meat. 

“I sold so much, it was crazy,” Janzen said. “I was like, ‘oh my god, maybe there’s a market for this kind of food.’” 

She started making pretzels in her home kitchen — selling 700 pretzels at up to eight farmers’ markets across the Lower Mainland per week. Janzen has also been invited to sell her authentic German food at the Parkside Brewery. 

The demand for her food forced to move and rent a space at the Spring Street Commissary Kitchen in Port Moody, and officially launch her own business: MunChi German Foods.

“I just do everything traditional and authentic, I make all my food my scratch,” she said. “I tell people at the markets that I don’t imitate German food. . . . Whatever you [eat] from me, close your eyes and you will think you’re in a German beer garden.” 

Selling her food, her way

Every few weeks, Janzen’s family back home will send her packages of ingredients — real vanilla sugar and lye — so she can make pretzels and schnitzels that taste like they were made in Germany. 

In just five months, Janzen has already hired an employee full-time to help her make baked goods and meals for various farmers’ markets. 

But this weekend, Janzen is trying her hand at selling food directly to her customers. 

“Pretzel Sunday,” as its name indicates, is slated to feature hundreds of pretzels on Sep. 3. But there will also be German cakes and streusel, which people can pre-order on her Facebook or Instagram pages. 

The festivities are set to begin at 9:00 a.m. and to end when Janzen runs out of food. 

In the future, Janzen said she’s hoping events like Pretzel Sunday will help her open a storefront. 

“My idea is to have a little cafe with a retail space,” she said. “I want to be this German deli where you get your schnitzel, dumplings, Bavarian beer cheese and pretzels.” 

Regardless of where her business goes, though, Janzen is relishing the opportunity to share the food she treasured growing up. It’s also a chance to give Germans living in Vancouver a taste of their home country. 

“I’m happiest when people buy something at my market and say, ‘you just brought my oma back to life because she made this for me,’” Janzen said. 

“It makes my frickin day.”


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