Main image by Ilya Yakubovich
Leaf green tea or in powder form (matcha), it doesn’t matter like a coke/crackhead knows because they are both from the same plant camellia sinensis
If you aren’t the type to want to take the time to steep some hot tea, so that you can leisurely sip on it as your cat lounges on your lap, I have some other options for you. If that sounds interesting to you, read on… and that’s alright if your cat is on your chest kneading you like pizza dough as you read this.
1. Matcha and Hojicha Soft Serve Ice Cream
Soft serve is not your plain Jane scoop of green tea ice cream served to you for your birthday at your local sushi restaurant. Soft serve ice cream has less milk fat and more air than harder ice cream, so if you like it soft and love to lick, this is for you. Also, if you love matcha, be sure to try hochija which is roasted green tea.
There is ice cream, and then there’s soft serve.
- Tea Master Matcha Cafe and Green Tea Shop
450 E 2nd St, Los Angeles, CA 90012
- Matcha Love
5 locations scattered about from HI, CA, TX, to NJ.
665 Paularino Avenue, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
2. Matcha Latte
This is one of those things that Asians get right from the Koreans to the Japanese although if you want to go full Asian, I suggest adding red bean (azuki) to your matcha latte because that is the magic blend of beans and leaves.
- Cafe Dulce
134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall , Los Angeles 90012
- Shuhari Cafe
1522 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291
3. Matcha Crème Brûlée
This is one of those dishes that a few of my ex’s loved, and I avoided till I had the matcha version at Shin Sen Gumi (a yakitori-ya/restaurant). After I had it there, I now order it and seek it out because it’s that delicious, plus it fills that empty void in my stomach and heart.
- Shin Sen Gumi, 18517 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90248
Shin Sen Gumi Group (Gardena) menu
- Shin Sen Gumi, 18315 Brookhurst St #1, Fountain Valley, CA 92708 Shin Sen Gumi Group (Fountain Valley)
4. Matcha Cheesecake
As you can probably tell from this list so far, matcha is loved in the Asian community and it is in just about everything you can think of. Except cheesecake is its one true calling because the creamy savoriness of the cheese blends so well with the matcha (Japanese love savory over sweet).
- Seriously, aside from Cheesecake Factory, Whole Foods and some grocery store cheesecake, I typically have to resort to making my own.
5. Matcha Donuts
I have had matcha or other breaded goods with a matcha filling, but I really can’t remember if I had the ones specifically at Cafe Dulce although I have to have it on the list. Unlike a cream puff, it has the same custard fillings, but the reason why it’s on the list is because of the denser texture of the donut itself lends well to contrasting to the filling.
- Cafe Dulce, 134 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012
6. Matcha Cream Puffs
This is a Japanese chain from Japan with over 250 stores in Japan and 436 stores worldwide (33 in the U.S.), so you know they have a substantial following although I have only been a to few locations (Hollywood & Highlands which closed and the one in Little Tokyo).
- Beard Papa’s: touting themselves as “the world’s best cream puffs.”
7. Bottled Green Tea
Japan has one of the highest life expectancies and is considered one of the most fit countries in the world. The U.S. doesn’t even come close regardless of how many people wear yoga pants because every restaurant and vending machine in Japan is not filled with sugar laden sugar water.
- ITO EN North America – bottled green tea.
8. Matcha Ice Cream Sandwiches to Taiyaki
I like the typical ice cream sandwich even though I have no clue what that brown stuff is made of, but I still like them. Just like this sandwich with it’s protective honeycomb structure that is more like a packaging material, but I still like it. The green tea ice cream is really good and it’s priced right.
- Imuraya Monaka (the producer): Matcha Ice Cream Sandwich (this product isn’t listed on their US website)
- You can find this product at most Japanese markets in the freezer section (I get mine at Seiwa).
9. Matcha Mochi Ice Cream
The inventor of mochi ice cream is not only American, but Frances Hashimoto was also the CEO of her family’s company Mikawaya. Her product was so successful, it is currently sold in Whole Foods, Albertsons, Trader Joe’s, Ralphs, and Safeway.
- Mikawaya (company website): the inventor of mochi ice cream
- Mikawaya flagship store in Little Tokyo LA (click the link for directions): 118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles, CA 90012
10. Cha Soba (Noodles)
“Cha soba” when translated just means green tea (o’cha) and buckwheat noodles (soba). Something I thought was just a novelty, but it’s a product you can find in an Asian grocery aisle to ordering it off the menu at Aburiya Raku in Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
For some of you, “bukkake” has a totally different meaning (get your head out of the gutter).
- Aburiya Raku: 521 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048
- Aburiya Raku: 5030 W Spring Mountain Rd #2, Las Vegas, NV 89146
Two brands that offer cha soba.
11. Matcha Candy from KitKats to Pocky
This list isn’t in any specific order, but further down my own mental list of my favorites is matcha KitKats and Pocky. I say that because these are products (candy) where I feel the matcha flavor just isn’t savory enough.
- KitKat (Japan): can be found at Japanese markets and some Asian stores.
- Pocky: can also be found at Japanese markets and some Asian stores.
12. Matcha and Salt (Shio) Condiment
If you have matcha and salt (shio), you have yourself a great condiment for tempura and sashimi. One that is used by Japanese because they like to taste their food versus bathing everything in soy sauce (shoyu). If you have the same appreciation for subtle flavors, try it out on a white fish that is commonly used in tempura called kisu (鱚/Japanese whiting or sillago japonica for you latin speaking folk) to squid and scallops.
- Traditional Japanese Sushi Bars: if you are looking for one in Orange County, check out this list.
13. Barrel-Aged Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea)
How could I not include this one (even if it is SOLD OUT at the time of this posting)!? ITOEN has done a limited edition hojicha infused with the rich flavors & aromas found in Kings County peated bourbon whiskey barrels (earthy, slightly toasted toffee, roasted caramel, whiskey).
- ITOEN Barrel-Aged Hojicha: even though it’s sold out, it doesn’t hurt to keep checking in hopes they get more in.
There are a ton more dishes that incorporate matcha into it from waffles, roll cakes, to croissants, but I’m only including the ones that are easily accessible or stand out like a strung out crackhead.