Experiments with Matcha

English: Matcha Tea or green tea powder

Matcha Tea or green tea powder (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Anyone interested in Japan has probably, at some point, come across matcha, the green tea powder that seems to get used in sweets quite often.

In case you haven’t, it is very green and VERY caffeinated…actually, on second thought, maybe it isn’t that strong, but I am certainly affected by it more than coffee.  Even if it’s in sweets, it gives me a serious buzz.  The last time I was in London I went to Japan Centre and had a piece of mochi that was covered in it…next thing I knew I was sitting on the Bakerloo Line, tripping out.

So I bought some.  After all, it is technically legal.

Yesterday morning I tried to make a latte out of it.  I used about half a teaspoon of matcha (I didn’t want to go too crazy to begin with!) and mixed it with some almond milk I had heated in the microwave.  (We have an espresso steamer wand but I couldn’t really be bothered with it first thing in the morning.)

What I ended up with was sort of  a pale pea-soup colour.  It tasted all right, but it needed sugar – the sugar in the almond milk wasn’t enough.  And I probably should have used more powder (the stuff’s expensive, but oh well).  Also the almond milk separated a bit in the microwave, so by the end there were quite a few green chunks at the bottom of the cup that I stirred up and downed in one.  Appetising, I know.

I plan to do more with my tiny expensive jar of the stuff.  I’ll let you know how I get on.

Local Life (sort of) Part 2: Yo Ji, Weston-Super-Mare

Weston Pier. The old one burnt down and they built a better one.

Earlier I spoke of a Japan Club that meets in a restaurant in Bristol.  There is, however, a Japanese restaurant closer to my house, and that’s Yo Ji in Weston-Super-Mare.

Although it is actually the closest to Taunton, according to Siri (who is supposed to know about these things), it’s still a bit of a drive (30-40 minutes, and we go in my kind husband’s car).  I guess that’s sort of a good thing – the last time I was there I went on a sushi binge and spent soooo much money!

I’m not really one to give extraordinarily helpful reviews of restaurants.  I ordered food and they brought it and it was tasty.  Also I can’t compare it to authentic Japanese food because I’ve never been there.

The bottom line is this:  if you live in Somerset, there’s a Japanese restaurant in Weston-super-Mare.  Go eat there.  (Also check out the new pier, it’s pretty awesome.)

Pocky and Mikado are the Same Thing

I tried Pocky for the first time a few months ago. I pretty much had to – those flavour-coated biscuit fingers certainly do get a lot of hype. I’ve even seen Japanese people on TV eating them. So I bought some at HyperJapan (milk chocolate and salt, sort of like a chocolate-covered pretzel).

Mikado (United Kingdom)

Then I found a geeky card shop in Taunton that sells it.  That time I got strawberry.  I gave some to a friend to try.  He said – “This is like Mikado but better.”

Well, then I was at a sleepover (never too old for them, you know) and we got some Mikado from Sainsbury’s.  Guess what?  It’s the same thing, made by the same company (Glico).

That sort of explains that weird advert with the Japanese chick on the photocopier. Sort of.

Anyway, I can’t tell a difference, and it’s cheaper at Sainsbury’s, just with fewer flavours.

Treatise over.