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Postcards from Japan: Japan's award-winning ramen in London, with Aaron Burgess-Smith

Kanada-Ya's logo in one of their restaurants

You know it's a great day when you get to interview Aaron Burgess-Smith, the truest of ramen fans, who together with his school friend (and now business partner) brought the famous Japanese restaurant Kanada-Ya to the UK! We talked about the beginnings of Kanada-Ya and Aaron's insider ramen recommendations.

We also have a special discount for all ramen fans who want to try this award-winning ramen in London! Quote discount code 'JNTO' when you dine at the Carnaby site* to get 20% off food any time between the 3rd and 31st of March 2022!

*the full address is 28 Foubert's Pl, Carnaby, London W1F 7PR

Hi Aaron, thank you for agreeing to have a chat with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in the North West of England where I first met my business partner, Tony, at prep school in Cheshire. Having both spent 5 years at the same boarding school in Derbyshire, followed by university in London, we travelled to Japan where I first met Mr. Kanada and spent 3 months training within their business. We subsequently opened the first Kanada-Ya in London in 2015 and I have had responsibility for the UK business since. When not at our own restaurants, I spend as much time as possible enjoying the incredible food and wine scene that London has to offer.

Gekikara Ramen

How did you become interested in Japan and Japanese food?

Prior to Kanada-Ya I had some experience of Japanese cuisine from eating in London restaurants and the occasional trip to Asia, though little understanding of how ingrained food was in the Japanese psyche and the sheer range and quality of the food industry there. I ate my first bowl of ramen at the original Kanada-Ya in Fukuoka and I have never had a better bowl since; my three months working in Japan gave me a unique appreciation for the country and its food which I believe is now generally held to be the best in the world.

New addition to the menu: Seafood Ramen

What were the beginnings of Kanada-Ya in the UK?

Tony had a vision to bring a Japanese ramen brand to the UK and spent weeks travelling around Japan’s highest rated independent ramen-ya before trying Kanada-Ya’s famous ‘cappuccino’ tonkotsu ramen. Having eaten ramen for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for an entire week he convinced Kanada san of his commitment and one year later we opened in St. Giles High Street.

Interior of Kanada-Ya's Carnaby site

What makes dining at Kanada-Ya special?

We are unapologetically traditional insofar as we serve a small and specialised menu focused on tonkotsu ramen in a simple and authentic ramen-ya setting. Our goal has always been to recreate as closely as possible the dining experience of the original 14-seat restaurant, and whilst we have adapted the menu slightly to cater for the local market, we are satisfied that our London restaurants give diners a true taste of Japan. 

What’s your favourite ramen?

Tonkotsu ramen with extra-hard noodles, extra spring onions, crushed garlic and ground sesame seeds. 

Chicken Paitan Ramen

Are there any pairings from the Kanada-Ya menu you would recommend?

I would always suggest a side order of homemade pork gyoza – the best I have had in London.

Where can we find Kanada-Ya in London and are there any new openings planned for 2022?

You can find us at Panton St, Piccadilly; St. Giles High Street, Tottenham Court Rd; Upper Street in Angel; Foubert’s Place in Carnaby and on Deliveroo throughout London. 
We plan to open a 70-cover restaurant later this year in Ealing and a delivery-only kitchen in Maida Vale this Spring. 

Thank you!

You can find Kanada-Ya's website here,



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