Freelance writer and blogger living in Brisbane's inner city. Follow my social media, photography, technology and food blogs at www.acarrick.com
Published September 12th 2016
Refresh with Japanese drinks and desserts
Do you like matcha, the Japanese fermented green tea dessert and drink style? Maybe you're curious about it but have never had it before? Brisbane's Asian population lends itself to a good selection of Japanese tea and dessert places to suit every taste.
I've been a fan of matcha green tea desserts since I went to Wagaya with some friends many years ago. Further to that experience, since I came back from Korea a few years ago I've been on the hunt for green tea frappes like I had at a cafe in Seoul. Following are what I have come up with so far. Have you found any more?
NeNe Chicken Myer Centre
NeNe Chicken at the Myer Centre sells both matcha flavour and red bean flavoured ice cream in cones. Their matcha flavour is subtle, probably a good choice for someone who's never had matcha before and might be uncertain of the sometimes bitter flavour.
NeNe Chicken of course also sells great tasting chicken snacks and Korean comfort food. See my full review linked above for the tasty chicken great salad available!
Mr Curry Toowong Village
The matcha at Mr Curry Toowong Village is slightly stronger than NeNe's is, in a slightly larger cone and what I would say is a more interesting presentation. On the other hand, Myer Centre might be more convenient from the city rather than heading out to Toowong. Keep in mind that the Mr Curry in Post Office Square doesn't sell ice cream as they tend to cater to the lunch crowd. The Japanese curries at both stores are the same variety and good quality. Mr Curry Toowong sometimes also sells matcha ice cream at the Japanese markets and festivals throughout the year.
The fancy presented cone from Mr Curry!
I've previously written about Teppanyaki King in the Myer Centre and their food and drinks. They do impressive red bean and matcha drinks, usually with cute extras like a little waffle stuck in the top of the drink. Both their service and serving sizes are good too. Be sure to check out my full review linked above if you're interested in the healthy Japanese food on offer at Teppanyaki King.
Delicious matcha drink with red bean from Teppanyaki Lovers Myer Centre
The red bean matcha at ChaTime is of quite good quality with blended and coarsely ground red beans mixed in with the iced matcha tea. The two traditional Japanese flavours complement each other well on a warm day. There are several ChaTime shops around Brisbane so for sheer convenience and speed of service ChaTime would have to be a stand out option. I would recommend ChaTime for their speed and convenience. There are a few stores around the city (Myer Centre and Queen's Plaza), one at the University of Queensland, and others around the major shopping centres.
Refreshing matcha with red beans from Chatime Queen's Plaza
Wagaya Fortitude Valley
My all time favourite would certainly have to be Wagaya in Chinatown Mall, Fortitude Valley. They serve both green tea ice creams and green tea milk drinks - with very nice presentation - a matcha flavoured wafer straw stuck in the ice cream! The matcha here is noticeably stronger than the others, it's a good ratio of matcha to sugar, wasn't overpoweringly sweet or bitter, still a good flavour. I came here with some friends during summer one evening - I think we ended up getting more than one each, it was that good!
A delicious bowl of green tea ice with a slice of strawberry and wafer straw!
Surprisingly, Starbucks even sells matcha drinks! For afternoon tea once, I got a Green Tea Frappe which was a crushed ice green tea type drink. It was very sweet, as is common at Starbucks, though at least I could taste some green tea. I would say the Starbucks in The Myer Centre or Queen's Plaza would be a good choice for convenience and could be a good option due to their later opening hours than smaller outlets.
Starbucks' green tea frappe was quick and easy.
One of my more memorable green tea or matcha experiences would have to be at the Japanese burger casual dining restaurant, MOS Burger. I got an iced green tea latte in the evening, but the tea was so strong I couldn't sleep until 2am! On the plus side, this experience tells me that MOS Burger uses real green tea for their green tea lattes, instead of powder. It was also noticeably bitter so I definitely only recommend this one if you know you like your Japanese green tea strong and caffeinated!
Take Home Packs and Asian Supermarkets
If you'd rather eat ice cream at home, many of the Asian supermarkets sell matcha and red bean ice cream in small tubs. I've also seen them sold at Danda Japan on Adelaide Street and occasionally some of the bubble tea shops or Japanese restaurants and take away stores.
Another option would be to buy the straight matcha powder to make your own milk drink, tea drink with water, or mix it into yogurt or homemade ice cream. Daiso Japan in the Myer Centre or Adelaide Street would be an easy option, or a local Japanese supermarket. In Buranda Village there is a Japanese supermarket called Fuji Mart. The Korean supermarkets in the city may sell matcha powder though it varies between stores.