Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green tea ice-cream (matcha aisu) : my experience in Japan

Japan, the Land of Rising Sun, was also the place where I fell in love with green tea ice-cream (matcha aisu). Before travelling, my sister told me how addicted she was to them. How good could it be? These aisu generally range between 200yen to 350yen depending on the location. Actually, there are plenty of other flavours like red bean, black sesame, coffee, watermelon, milk, lemon, etc but I really prefer green tea ice cream.

This is a typical ice-cream shop. This particular shop is near the end of the Philosopher's Walk in Kyoto (Tetsugaku no michi)

My first experience with one of these matcha aisu was outside Himeji Castle. At 300yen, it was average in price. This particular matcha aisu was quite sweet, rich in green tea taste but not too milky. From this experience, I made an effort to have at least one matcha aisu a day, sometimes even more than one!

Here is my list of matcha aisu consumed:
  1. Nara - the one offered at Todaiji was ok. 300 yen, some green tea taste but very sweet. 
  2. Himeji - outside Hemijido (Himeji Castle). At 300 yen, quite a nice. Sweet, rich in green tea taste but not too milky.
  3. Miyajimashima (Miyajima Is)- There are many places on this beautiful island that sells matcha aisu. I bought mine at the main shopping strip. At 250yen, I find these matcha aisu rather sweet, weak in green tea taste, and the cone rather ordinary. What was worse, the island's population of deers seem to have penchants for these matcha aisu and would be rather persistent  in trying to "steel" the ice-cream from me. 
  4. Kyoto - I had many matcha aisu in this city. While most green tea ice-cream are rather ordinary at most tourist places, I have to say two places rate. 

    4.1 The first one is a small family run place at the end of the Tetsugaku no michi (if walking from Gingakuji). At 250 yen it was definitely the best matcha aisu I had for the whole trip. It was thick in texture, not too sweet and definitely a nice balance between sweetness and the aromatic bitterness of the matcha (green tea).

    4.2 The second place that impressed me was at a shop on Ninnanzaka outside Kiyomizu in Kyoto. It was not cheap at 350yen but the ice-cream was just right, not too thick but not too watery, great balance between green tea bitterness and sweetness but I love their cones, which was cinnamon flavoured. yum! And of course, the ice-cream girl was quite cute :)

      5. Tokyo - matcha aisu is not as popular here so it was pretty difficult to find. However, I managed to find a place in Ueno market that sells green tea, that also sold matcha aisu. This 300yen aisu was more bitter, which I quite like, without being overly sweet.

      6. Sandai - not too impressed with this 250yen matcha aisu.

      7. Osaka - Found the cheapest matcha aisu here at the market at Shinseki. at 200 yen, it was quite ok in terms of green tea taste but like many other places, it is rather sweet and I was left with thirst after eating it.

      I left Japan rather addicted to these matcha aisu.....


      1 comment:

      Anonymous said...

      Hehe, how many matcha can one man eat??