From The Straits Times    |

If you love matcha, you will love hojicha, which is essentially roasted Japanese green tea. It is rich, earthy and nutty with a smoky aftertaste that gives it an incredible depth of flavour. This superstar flavour has been featured in desserts in a creative number of ways. We list 10 to get you started on this delicious trend.

Hojicha Crème Brulee at Tart by Cheryl Koh


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Blending the creaminess of crème brulee with the slight singed flavour of hojicha could go wrong on so many levels, but not when it’s done by Cheryl Koh, the doyenne of desserts. The Western and Asian flavours blend smoothly, with a soft – but not overly so – pudding-like texture.

1 Scotts Road, #01-12 Shaw Centre, tel: 6235 3225.

Hojicha Macaron at Matchaya


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Matchaya is known mainly for their soft serve, which also includes a hojicha option – but it is dependent very much on their supplies, which they source directly from Japan. So the next time you’re at their kiosk and they are not selling their hojicha soft serve, we say go for their hojicha macarons to satisfy your cravings instead. While macarons can be quite sweet, these are not. Instead, the roasted flavour of hojicha punches through with its intensity.

12 Gopeng Street, #01-72 Icon Village, tel: 9767 9811.

Hojicha Roll Cake at Tsujiri


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If you are not the sort to fancy light and airy cakes, this dense roll cake should be right up your alley. But while dense, it is very moist, made even more so with the considerable amount of flavoured cream.

Various outlets including 176 Orchard Road #01-101 The Centrepoint, tel: 6238 8224.

Hojicha Parfait at Tsujiri


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Besides roll cakes, Tsujiri also serves up delicious parfaits which feature either matcha, vanilla or hojicha soft serve. You can choose to top it up with chocolate wafers, a chiffon cake or shiratama dango (a mocha-like Japanese sweet). The hojicha flavour is only available at Tsujiri’s Centrepoint outlet.

176 Orchard Road #01-101 The Centrepoint, tel: 6238 8224.

Hojicha Pancake at Les Patisseries


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Topped with berries, ice cream, edible flowers, matcha spread, chia seeds and hazelnuts, this pretty pancake is not only a treat for the eyes. With toasted edges that complement the soft, pillowy centre, the pancake has an intense hojicha flavour that is lightly sweet.

222 Upper Thomson Road, tel: 9744 0504.

Hojicha Pancake at Miam Miam


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For a denser pancake, try the one at Miam Miam. The pancake is topped with a dollop of sweet hojicha whipped cream, azuki red beans and chewy dango balls coated with a soybean mix. The different textures and tastes in this dessert help to make this less cloying. Best eaten with a drizzle of brown sugar syrup.

Various outlets including 200 Victoria Street, #02-14 Bugis Junction, tel: 68370301.

Hojicha Swiss Roll at To-gather Café


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Unlike the roll cake at Tsujiri, To-gather Café’s hojicha swiss roll has a milder taste, perfect if you’re trying the flavour for the first time. The swiss roll is served alongside a thick shot of hojicha latte, which you are supposed to sip in between bites of the cake, to receive the full impact of the flavour.

84 Bedok North Street 4, #01-25/27, 6445 1011.

Roasted Tea Pudding at Café & Meal Muji


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While we would have liked the pudding to have a firmer texture, the smoky flavour of hojicha is amazingly addictive here. The layer of tea syrup adds a bittersweet depth to the delicate, creamy pudding. Served with a crispy sesame wafer.  

252 North Bridge Road #02-020/22 Raffles City Shopping Centre, tel: 6264 4189 and 290 Orchard Road, #04–36 to 40 Orchard Paragon, tel: 6735 0123.

Hojicha Soft Serve on Waffles at Twenty Grammes


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This insta-worthy dessert features a large swirl of hojicha soft serve sitting atop crispy waffles. It is bedecked with chewy brownie bites, sprinkled with edible flowers, dusted with matcha powder and pierced with a Pocky stick. Hojicha flavour could use a little more punch and smokiness, but otherwise, this was delicious.

753 North Bridge Road, #01-01, tel: 6717 1733.

Hojicha Ice Cream at The Flourist


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This new-ish heartland gelato shop serves up an array of flavours, including hojicha. On the creamy side, it has just the right amount of fragrance and smokiness. Have it in a cup, cone or waffle.

Blk 824 Tampines St 81, #01-36.