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How many of you are familiar with the restaurant Bubba Gump Shrimp, based on the 1994 Oscar-winning film Forest Gump? Speaking as a sweet ol’ Southern girl, raised in the Heart of Dixie, USA, I’m well acquainted with both the movie and the real-life restaurant that it inspired. Bubba Gump Shrimp, with its American Cajun-style cooking, has branches scattered all across the globe, including three within Japan. As the name would imply, the menu features an abundance of shrimp, making it an irresistible spot for seafood lovers.

For readers unfamiliar with the film Forest Gump, and by extension the origins of Bubba Gump Shrimp, here’s a little summary. In the movie our main man, Forest, becomes good friends with Benjamin “Bubba” Blue. They promise to go into the shrimping business after the war, but sadly Bubba is killed in combat, and it’s up to Forest to live out their dream. Miraculously, his shrimp fishing business becomes a huge success, and so he establishes Bubba Gump Shrimp in honor of his dearly departed friend. The Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant that we can eat at today is modeled after the one in the film, though I’d say that it’s grown even more successful than its movie counterpart.

▼ Tom Hanks as Forest Gump

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▼Every restaurant features a collection of items taken from the movie set, in the same way that Hard Rock Cafe displays rock music memorabilia.

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Think of all the ways there are to eat shrimp. As Bubba used to say, “Shrimp is the fruit of the sea.” Maybe you’d like some shrimp soup, grilled shrimp, fried shrimp, shrimp salad, a shrimp sandwich, shrimp pilaf, shrimp and steak, shrimp pasta, shrimp curry, shrimp stew, a shrimp cocktail, baked shrimp, boiled shri-…you get the idea. If you like and crave shrimp in any way, shape or form Bubba Gump Shrimp is the place to go.

Recently, we sent one of our shrimp-loving RocketNews24 reporters to the Tokyo Dome City branch of Bubba Gump to get his Japanese perspective on the Southern American-style seafood served there. Before even entering the restaurant, he saw that the storefront had a park bench just like the one that Forest waits on at the start of the movie. For big fans of the film, that alone is cause for excitement, assuming that the delicious smells coming from within haven’t already maxed one’s anticipation levels!

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Just inside the restaurant there’s a gift shop full of Bubba Gump Shrimp memorabilia to take home. They’ve got everything from t-shirts and hats to ping-pong balls, all stamped with the chain’s happy logo. It’s a fun place to kill time if there’s a line to be seated.

As our hungry reporter settled in at his table and opened up the menu, he was blown away by the contents. It really is almost entirely shrimp! Our man was positively itching to eat it all. There was fried shrimp, chilled shrimp, popcorn shrimp, shrimp tempura, coconut shrimp, boiled shrimp, seafood hush pups, beer steamed shrimp…and that’s just the stuff that he ordered!

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▼ I think that’s enough food for now…

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▼ Run Across America Sampler

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▼ Shrimper’s Heaven

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▼ Shrimper’s Net Catch

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Unfortunately, our reporter’s eyes were bigger than his stomach, or perhaps he didn’t think that he’d want to finish each and every dish. American seafood has a bad reputation in Japan for being bland, but one little taste of the Cajun-style cooking at Bubba Gump dashed those rumors to bits! The shrimp served was not at all fishy; it tasted nice and fresh. It had a simple and refreshing flavor, void of any bitterness. Our man tried as he might to finish it all off.

By the end of the meal, if our reporter had to recommend one dish it’d be the beer steamed shrimp. “[This dish] coupled with a full glass of beer to guzzle, is the epitome of shrimp! The flavor is so superb that I ended up eating a few with the legs and tail still attached. No matter how much I ate, I never got tired of that simple shrimp taste. I’d eat it many times over. Maaan, that was the best. I’d love to have it at least once a week.”

▼ Our reporter’s favorite dish, the beer steamed shrimp.

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▼ I can’t believe he ate the whole thing…No really, I don’t believe it.

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So there you have it. Whether it’s for the exciting ambiance taken straight from the movie, Forest Gump, or for the delicious variety of shrimp-based dishes, Bubba Gump Shrimp is definitely worth a visit. Even the Japanese, so picky about their seafood, are impressed by the flavor! We encourage you all to visit the branch closest to you and tell us what you think.

Shop information:
Name: Bubba Gump Shrimp (ババガンプシュリンプ)
Location: Tokyo-to Bunkyou-ku Kasuga 1-1-1 Tokyo Dome City Laqua 1F
Hours: 11:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M. (last order 10:00 P.M.)
Open Daily


Reference: Bubba Gump Shrimp

Images: RocketNews24

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[ Read in Japanese ]