This one’s for the weebs and otakus out there. Naruto is a massively popular Japanese franchise, with a TV series spanning a mind-blowing 500-plus episodes, a manga with hundreds of chapters, several video games, a few movies and… a ramen restaurant? Yep, there’s one here in Shanghai.
Located in Global Harbour in Changning district, Ichiraku Ramen is decked out from wall to wall in Naruto decor, from posters of Naruto characters on the walls to coasters and placemats with characters’ faces on them. The visual effect is pretty impressive, and the food is just as good.
We start things off with fried chicken bites (22RMB), which have crisp, well-seasoned skin and are tender and juicy on the inside. Other starters include fried gyoza (22RMB) or teppanyaki pork (32RMB).
The main course is, of course, ramen. Here you have the options of regular or hard noodles, which have a little bit more bite to them than your standard noodles. You can also choose spicy or non-spicy and the strength of your broth, or add additional ingredients like corn or bamboo shoots for a few extra RMB. We have the pork ramen with seafood-flavoured broth and it’s brilliant (63RMB).
To drink, there are a number of options all for 18RMB – we go for the ‘Therapeutic’. We’re not sure if it’s curing any ailments, but its minty, citrusy flavour is quite nice. There are a number of other equally colourful options like ‘Amaterasu’ or ‘Rasengan’. (You don’t need to get the show references to enjoy the beverages.)
Even if you’re not a Naruto fan, the food is worth the 20- to 30-minute queue at the door (that’s not even peak hour wait times). This place is worth a visit, or in the words of English dub Naruto himself – BELIEVE IT!