We grab a bowl of Ichiraku ramen and down a chakra drink at Naruto’s favorite noodle house.

As further proof of anime’s growing global popularity, Shanghai has an entire shopping/entertainment complex, Bai Lian ZX, stuffed with otaku-oriented businesses.

How stuffed? So stuffed that it has a Naruto ramen restaurant inside!

Actually, it’s not just a Naruto ramen restaurant, it’s the Naruto ramen restaurant, Ramen Ichiraku, a real-world version of the in-anime restaurant where Naruto and his ninja pals get their noodle fix.

Standing out front to greet customers is a full-scale statue of Teuchi, Ranmen Ichiraku’s owner, along with standees of the core cast…

…plus Teuchi’s daughter, Ayame.

The right half of the restaurant has tables for groups of diners…

…and on the left is a counter for solo visitors, like our Japanese-language reporter Ikuna Kamezawa, who stopped by during her recent overseas travels.

The menu, of course, focuses on ramen, but there’s quite a lot of variety with tonkotsu (pork stock), miso, and spicy broths.

There’re also a number of side dishes you wouldn’t find at a ramen restaurant in Japan, such as fried chicken, croquettes, pork cutlets, takoyaki, and grilled chicken and pork skewers.

The restaurant offers Japanese ramune cider and specialty drinks

…and they even have deluxe sets that include art cards or other merch.

After looking over her options, Ikuna decided on the Tonkotsu Miso Chashu Ramen for 59 yuan (approximately US$8.15) and added a Chidori dessert drink for another 25 yuan.

The ramen looked fantastic, with four slices of chashu pork, bean sprouts, corn, nori seaweed, bamboo shoots, two naruto (the fish cakes, not the anime character), and a boiled egg bearing the same mark as Naruto’s headband.

With her expectations now sky-high, Ikuna lifted up a mouthful of noodles for a taste…

…and was immediately startled by how lukewarm they were. They weren’t cold, but Japanese ramen fans tend to like their food served piping hot, which this bowl most certainly was not.

Flavor-wise, the tonkotsu does the heavy lifting here, as Ikuna reports that the miso notes are comparatively faint. Overall, she’d put the flavor on the level of a nice tonktsu ramen from a Japanese convenience store (i.e. the non-instant kind of ramen), and it was good enough that she ate the whole bowl…

revealing the name of character Sakura Haruno in a large, dramatic font.

Now ready for dessert, Ikuna turned her attention to the Chidori, named after the chakra developed by Kakashi and with the same vivid blue hue as the lightning-based technique.

From the color, Ikuna expected it to taste like Blue Hawaii (yes, that is the name of a dessert flavor in Japan), but it turned out to taste like plum juice, which Ikuna found refreshing and delicious.

Add in the selection of Naruto anime theme songs playing on a loop inside the restaurant, and Ikuna says it’s definitely worth a visit for fans of the series.

Photos © SoraNews24
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