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Benkyodo in San Francisco's Japantown [San Francisco]

Hiko Ikeda Aug 8, 2001 12:18 PM

Although it is not a restaurant, "seated" eating--or drinking can be done inside the store, in addition, it is larger than many restaurants in the city.

What do you guys think of this historical, unique store?

The following story was in the San Francisco Chronicle 6 months ago.

Link: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article...

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  1. l
    L.W. RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 24, 2006 02:21 PM

    Benkyo has been in the family for three generations in Japantown.

    1. shnigglebob RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 28, 2006 08:31 AM

      I really like Benkyodo. I think that their selection of housemade mochi and manju is delicious. I brought some home to my relatiives last year and even my grandmother (Nissei) was impressed. Their azuki and white bean filling is so smooth and perfectly lightly sweeted and their mochi is also so fresh and tender. My favorite is the kinako.

      1. shnigglebob RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 28, 2006 08:35 AM

        I really like Benkyodo! I think that their selection of housemade mochi and manju is very good. The azuki and white bean filling is always so smooth and lightly sweeted perfectly. And the mochi is so soft and tender, you know it's fresh! My favorite is their kinako. I've brought some home to my relatives and my grandmother (Nissei) was very impressed and thought the manju was delicious. It's best to order ahead, if you're looking for specific manju. I've gone by before as a spur of the moment impulse and they've already run out of several different types of manju!

        1. Melanie Wong RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 28, 2006 08:35 AM

          Here's the company's website

          1. l
            L.W. RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 29, 2006 10:47 PM

            I'm sure Ricky and Bobby are busy filling in the New Year's Mochi orders right this moment.

            1. l
              L.W. RE: Hiko Ikeda Dec 29, 2006 10:50 PM

              by the way...Benkyodo doesn't only do manji and mochi...they make great roast beef and pastrami sandwich too. Not to mention the yummy hamburger and hot dogs too.

              1. r
                recycleit RE: Hiko Ikeda Jan 3, 2007 12:35 AM

                Best manji in town. The only place that comes close is a manju/mochi shop in Sacramento.

                The community is concerned that when Ricky retires, there won't be anyone to take over!

                1. Melanie Wong RE: Hiko Ikeda May 2, 2014 06:20 PM

                  Strawberry mochi are back for the season at Benkyodo and available on Fridays and Saturdays. And Sakura will still be available next week.


                  4 Replies
                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    mutton biryani RE: Melanie Wong May 5, 2014 08:12 PM

                    Thanks for pointing this out! I take a Japanese class nearby on Saturdays so I will check it out next time.

                    1. re: mutton biryani
                      Tripeler RE: mutton biryani May 6, 2014 04:11 AM

                      I think I caught this. A little visit to Benkyodo after studying in class. Clever that!


                      (Note: the name of the shop, roughly translated from Japanese, is "Study shop (establishment)".

                      Sorry, couldn't help but point that out.

                    2. re: Melanie Wong
                      tofuflower RE: Melanie Wong May 9, 2014 02:27 PM

                      Just a heads up that today (Friday) at 2 pm, strawberry already sold out.

                      Other tips - some items are only available on specific days. My favorite, chofu (pancake around plain mochi), is only available Wed/Fri/Sat.

                      Another relatively new offering (I couldn't catch the proper name) is the plain mochi cut into strips that you dip into soybean powder. It's sold at the top of the display counter in a black plastic with clear lid box (same place as the peanut butter manju). Super soft, and possibly softer than what I've had in Taiwan (have not been to Japan). The lady behind the counter said this sells out quickly (possibly earlier than strawberry) and is only available on Wed/Fri.

                      Luckily there were lots of chofu left, so I didn't go home empty-handed.

                      Also attached is the 2014 schedule so no one accidentally visits on a closed day.

                      1. re: tofuflower
                        Melanie Wong RE: tofuflower May 9, 2014 07:46 PM

                        Thanks for that PSA. :)

                        I'll mention that fresh blueberry mochi are made Mon-Thurs (the days when strawberry is not available). I had one yesterday and I think I might like it better than the strawberry. The fruit is more intense.

                        I've had the apple-filled manju. Tastes like apple pie in a more buttery crust package. I also like the peanut butter ones. They're sold pre-packaged with four in a box. They're filled with chunky peanut butter. A lot of it, enough to make your mouth stick together with peanut butter and chewy mochi.

                        One I did not care for was age, the deep-fried one.

                    3. g
                      greymalkin RE: Hiko Ikeda May 11, 2014 12:30 AM

                      For those who don't want the heartbreak of arriving at Benkyodo to find that they are sold out of almost everything: you can call a few days before and they will set aside a box for you for pickup at the time of your choosing (I don't live in SF so it's a special trip to head to JTown).

                      It was very easy and meant I could insure that I had a really nice variety of mochi/manju even when I showed up at 3pm on a Saturday. They didn't seem to have any constraints on how many pieces I had to order. I got a dozen, approximately 1-2 pieces of several varieties and 4 ichigo (of course!).

                      As a note- when I picked mine up they were down to just a few ichigo and two other kinds (kuri and habutai). Everything else was sold out for the day.

                      1. Melanie Wong RE: Hiko Ikeda May 17, 2014 01:40 AM

                        A few more photos of Benkyodo's sweets

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