Monday, March 6, 2017

べんてん (Benten in Narimasu)

中華そば べんてん

DSCF4954.jpg

Benten has quite a history. The original shop was located in Takadanobaba, and had constant lines until it shut down a few years ago. Speaking to some former Waseda University people (the university most closely associated with the area), the sheer volume of noodles and affordable price was a key point.

DSCF4937.jpg

Well, the shop was on my list, and all I needed was a little nudge. That nudge came in the form of near-daily twitter messages from Mr. Yuma, a nerd with a unique collection. The above stickers are collectibles from the "Ramen Rally". Little squares of people in the ramen world.

DSCF3879.jpg

And yes, I have my own.

Well, if you collect these, the process is simple. Visit the shop, buy a sealed pack with a sticker inside, and hope you get the elusive silver or gold version. As with any collectible, some people are downright obsessed, and a shiny gold version of a sticker can be a rare highlight of their week. I think Yuma had visited some shops 10 to 15 times in an attempt to get the gold.

But my sticker is even harder to get! There's no Ramen Adventures store; you have to meet me in person. Hence the many, many messages.

DSCF4936.jpg

If I sound condescending at all, nothing is further from the truth. Dude just wanted my sticker, and I have no problem meeting strangers for a bowl.

DSCF4942.jpg

Ah, the noodle serving sizes. Yes, the big size is 700 grams. I'll stick with the small one.

DSCF4958.jpg

Not really my kind of bowl. It's tsukemen more in the Taishoken style, a style that is underwhelming to me. The only shop I love in this genre is Marucho, and this one is no Marucho.

DSCF4950.jpg

But Benten is important to the ramen scene, so a visit was in order. Be prepared to wait, there are still many, many fans of this shop.

DSCF4941.jpg

Map of 3 Chome-25-2 Asahichō, Nerima-ku, Tōkyō-to 179-0071

東京都練馬区旭町3-25-2
Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Asahicho 3-25-2
Closest station: Narimasu

Open 11:00-14:30
Closed Tuesdays