The trend of Matcha green tea confections has been around for a few years now in Singapore and it seems like it’s not dying off anytime soon. Just maybe 10 years ago, Singaporeans knew green tea as the sweetened drink from Pokka. While this is the norm to us, Japanese are always mind boggled to discover sweetened green tea in Singapore. This drink is still popular today, but slowly people are starting to appreciate it in it’s original bitter form, without sugar. Unsweetened Sencha is gaining popularity as a drink, but for Matcha, Singaporeans still don’t really drink it as a drink. Matcha here is popular as a flavour for products like cakes, chocolates, latte and of course ice cream!
Gion Tsujiri, Kyoto
Matcha ice cream is now available in Singapore in so many forms – regular ice cream, gelato, soft serve, pop sticks.
In the earlier days, some of these matcha tasted distinctly like low grade matcha. Just compare Thailand made Green Tea Pocky biscuits to Japan made ones and you can tell what’s good matcha and what’s not so good. The use of good matcha is very important in making the overall flavour taste good and essentially if the matcha used is good, the ice cream will taste good. I’m glad that nowadays we’re getting better matcha ice cream in Singapore! Some of these are from kiosks while some of them are commercial imported ice creams.
Here are some of the best around:
Ice Cream Kiosks
Matcha Soft Serve – $5.80
This is the best among all matcha soft serves, maybe to the standards of Gion Tsujiri Kyoto! The shop is tucked away in Icon Village – the mall next to 100am which is often forgotten by everyone. The layout of the shops is like a maze so you need to search hard to find this little shop! Note that they are only takeaway, do not expect seats of any kind.
Cha Cha Pop – $8.00
They also have these frozen pops in conjunction with Neh Neh Pop. It was super good, I major loved it. Matcha ice cream, black molasses, houjicha and matcha shell, feuilletine and toasted sesame. Try it if you can!
#01-72 Icon Village, 12 Gopeng Street, Singapore 078877
Matcha soft serve – $4.80
Tsujiri Singapore was the brand which brought good matcha soft serve to Singapore. Any others before this one kind of sucked. This was probably the most authentic matcha shop in Singapore but just not as good as the one in Kyoto, not sure why. Still, it is very legit and I would have this anytime.
Besides in cone and cup, they also serve it in parfaits with various toppings. Here I had a love letter biscuit with my cone for extra $0.20.
100 Tras Street #01-14 100AM Singapore 079027
313 Orchard Road #B3-53 313 Somerset Singapore 238895
6 Eu Tong Sen Street #01-74 The Central Singapore 059817
3. Azabu Sabo
Double cup – $5.30
This Hokkaido gelato brand has been in Singapore for a long time. You can’t miss it at Takashimaya food hall. Though it’s nothing like the best gelato you can get in Hokkaido itself, it is probably the most fail proof brand to go to in Singapore for Hokkaido gelato.
6 Raffles Boulevard #02-170 / 171 Marina Square, Singapore 039594
391 Orchard Road #B2-08-5 Takashimaya, Singapore 238873
6 Eu Tong Sen Street # 01-56 The Central, Singapore 059817
4. WA Cafe/ Watanabe Coffee
Hokkaido Matcha Soft Serve – $5.80
It started with Wa-Cafe in Chinatown Point but the newer outlet in Orchard is called Watanabe coffee. The latter is more casual for takeaway.
Besides their ice cream, the Shibuya honey toast is pretty good too.
133 New Bridge Road #B1-51 Chinatown Point, Singapore 059413
350 Orchard Road Shaw House, Isetan Scotts #01-01, Singapore 238868
Basically, buy any brand that is imported from Japan! These costs more but is so much better than those made for the Singapore market. Do not be fooled with those having Japanese names but are made somewhere else like Taiwan or Thailand. Generally, Meiji does not make good Matcha ice cream because those aren’t the ones you find in Japan. Avoid Meiji. Instead, look for these:
You can find this in certain NTUC Finest stores, this one is from ZhongShan Mall. You can also get this selection from J-Mart.
This Matcha Monaka is pretty good! Matcha aside, do try the vanilla and chocolate jumbo Monaka too. It is famous in Japan.
I have mentioned that we should only buy made in Japan Matcha ice creams, but an exception would be the famous Haagen-Dazs Green Tea. It is so good, probably my favourite of all! This is an exceptionally good green tea ice cream. Most other commercial non-Japanese brands don’t come close at all. You can find this in almost all supermarkets!
For the sake of sparing you bad calories, I shall list down some of the Matcha shops which aren’t good. With so many good options around there’s no reason to try these:
1. Matcha House
181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central #08-09/11, Singapore 238896
3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall #B1-172 (Fountain of Wealth), Singapore 038983
2. Nana Green tea
68 Orchard Road 03-80/82, 238839
Don’t ask me why, just avoid them if you can. Especially Matcha House.