Written by: Tiffany Tolones (IG:@camille_abitofmonica)
Photos by: Patricia Mananghaya, Andrea Chen, and Patricia Jean Lao
Calling all matcha fans! Our “matcha-waited” matcha paradise in finally here in the Philippines! The famous 155-year old Tsujiri is now in the country and they are here to give us the best matcha experience we can ever get. If matcha gives you a taste of heaven then you might say that this place is paradise!
Tsujiri originated in Uji, Kyoto, the place where the matcha also originated. They invented the tea box, an insolated cabinet that preserves the freshness of tea so it can be transported to different parts of Japan. That changed the matcha game forever.
All with the freshest and finest ingredients from the Land of the Rising Sun itself, Tsujiri brings us a taste of Japan with its smorgasbord of food ranging from beverage, desserts, and pastries-–all infused with our favorite matcha. They are open to serve everyone from 10 am to 10 pm at Level 2, S Maison in Conrad Manila at the SM Mall of Asia Complex.
Tsujiri’s goal is to “widen, to spread matcha into the most parts of the world,” says the Tsujiri Global CEO Uchida Show in an interview with When In Manila.
The Global representatives performed the traditional tea ceremony for the new store in their traditional costumes.
It was about three years ago when the matcha craze took over the country. For the longest time, coffee shops reigned in the mainstream. But with the rise of milk tea shops, the growth of tea lovers increased dramatically and that led to the matcha madness we have today.
In 2017, matcha craze is staying strong-–more cafes and restaurants are now serving this flavor, each with their own touch of this classic.
Everything in their menu complements the taste buds of their Filipino market. Tsujiri presents a fusion of Filipino and Japanese culture through their pastries and desserts.
“[In] every country, Tsujiri has a different set of pastries,” says Sean Ponce, a Marketing Head for Tsujiri Philippines. The pastries they serve now is only exclusive in the country.
“Since we’re the ones making it, it takes influences from the Filipino culture. So, some of the taste here are very Filipino. It’s more of the Filipino taste. For example, the Lava Cake, it’s only for the Philippines because it’s very, very sweet,” Ponce added.
My first experience of the matcha is traumatic. I like coffee more than tea, and I like them sweet. Matcha tastes okay at first, but then it settles and leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. I was discouraged to try on more matcha infused food. I don’t hate matcha, it’s just (ironically), not my cup of tea.
“It’s very important to note–good matcha is not bitter. It has a very savory taste; it’s almost briny. It’s like seafood–briny, savory, with the hint of sweetness on it. And then the bitterness comes as an after taste. If you taste bitterness as soon as you taste it, it’s not good matcha,” Ponce remarked.
But then I tried the desserts and pastries of Tsujiri–it was far from everything I have experienced about matcha before.
The Tsujiri Sundae (Shiratama flavored) is a sundae that best introduces Japan to its eater. The flower is monaka (traditional rice biscuit), matcha ice cream, the white ball is shiratama (a kind of mochi), stewed chestnut, drizzled on top of that is kuromitsu (black sugar syrup), and kinako (soy bean powder). Further down comes the red bean paste and the genmai (roasted brown rice).
The sundae was smooth, and it is so fine that the soft-serve just melts in my mouth. It tastes earthy at first, and you can really say it is tea. But as it melts in your mouth, the flavor and spike of sweetness settles in your mouth. In an instant, you crave for more.
The lava cakes are also savory. The honey chiffon cake tasted like the classic kabayan mamon on neighborhood bakeries, but now filled with a lot of matcha. When you break the cake, overflowing matcha comes out.
I was immediately a converted matcha lover. Promise, it’s #matcharap!
If you want to satisfy your matcha cravings and experience the matcha paradise, Tsujiri’s got you, fam! Have a taste of their products and see for yourself.
What’s your best matcha experience? Let us know in the comments below.
2nd Floor S Maison, Seaside Blvd, Pasay, Metro Manila, Philippines