Eat Snap Repeat Around the WorldThis dining experience is from September 2008 while I was in London, England. I spent over a month in London; this was actually my first meal there.

I didn’t feel like blogging it at the time; we don’t blog all of our meals – you probably don’t want to know about the PB&J sandwich I had for breakfast today ;). However, since we’ve been covering a lot of ramen joints around town lately, I thought it might be fun to share a ramen experience I had outside of Vancouver.

Ramen Seto - Carnabie Street

Lucky me. My hotel was a short 5-minute walk away from Carnaby Street. Carnaby Street and nearby Oxford Circus center one of the busiest and densely packed shopping areas in all of Europe (the stores are heavily catered towards tourists though). Amongst the many stores, there are many pubs and restaurants as well.

The stores in London close early (7PM to 8PM). At the same time, the pubs fill up and spill out into the streets early. As I was weaving through the pub patrons on Carnaby Street, each with a pint of beer in hand, I came across a busy and charming ramen joint. I was severly jet-lagged, alone, and overloaded with all the new sights; I needed a comforting and familiar meal… so I gave Ramen Seto a try.

Ramen Seto - exterior

Like many of the pubs in London, Ramen Seto occupies 2 floors. The staircase to the 2nd floor was cramp and the stairs were worn and uneven. The buildings in London are much older than the ones here. They have a lot more charm and history. But how’s the food compare?

Ramen Seto - meal

The miso ramen I ordered (£6.20) was rubbish. The broth was uninteresting, the noodles were overcooked and not very chewy, the meat was clearly warmed up from a frozen state, and the vegetables (some bean sprouts and a couple peas) were bland. I’ve made better instant ramen at home. The salmon sashimi (£5.50) sidedish was actually fresh and delicious. And the bottle of Asahi (£3.20) took away my guilt for not going to a pub on my first night. Despite that, I left Ramen Seto pretty dissapointed.

I thought Ramen Seto was another case of a bad restaurant taking advantage of an area frequented by many tourists (you can find these types of restaurants in any city), but reviews I’ve found online (e.g. here and here) suggests that the locals actually like Ramen Seto. Oh dear.

Unlike our other ESR Around the World posts, I do not suggest you check this place out if you’re in London. Instead, I’m going to suggest all Londoners to book a flight and come to Vancouver to see what ramen outside of Japan should really taste like.

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