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.
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.
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.
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.
Ah, the noodle serving sizes. Yes, the big size is 700 grams. I'll stick with the small one.
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.
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.
Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Asahicho 3-25-2
Closest station: Narimasu