We might have found one of the best matcha dessert shops around in Singapore. We’re talking about 108 Matcha Saro, a high-quality matcha dessert shop that originates from Hokkaido. This is the brand’s debut in Southeast Asia and Singapore.
Speaking to Avenue One, Mr. Masato Yamamoto, CEO and founder of 108 Matcha Saro, said there’s a difference between high quality matcha and the matcha powder you get from express sushi restaurants to make your own tea.
The difference is in the quality of tea leaves and the parts of tea leaves that are used to make the matcha. Authentic matcha uses only the leaves (without the veins on the leaves nor stem, which can have an unpleasant bitterness to it). Mr. Yamamoto describes good quality matcha as sweet, smooth, and tasting almost like a broth.
The matcha expert told us that 108 Matcha Saro uses only high quality ingredients. It uses Uji Matcha powder from Kyoto made in collaboration with traditional tea masters using ancient blending techniques and the highest grade of quality tea leaves.
The picked tea leaves are first steamed and dried in a Ro, a unique furnace designed for this process, resulting in a tea-base called Tencha. The leaf stems and veins from the Tencha is then removed, and the remaining tea leaves are stone-ground to a fine powder for use.
Another interesting ingredient used in their desserts is the Wandan red bean from Pingtung, Taiwan, featured in its Obanyaki and Parfait.
Many may be surprised that an authentic Japanese dessert shop uses ingredients from Taiwan, but Mr. Yamamoto said that he believes in curating ingredients that taste best for his desserts. Wandan red beans are known for their rich and distinct flavour, and the paste that’s produced for 108 Matcha Saro is further customised so that the sugar level, consistency, and texture for the most optimal taste.
In fact, Mr. Yamamoto told Avenue One that he wouldn’t rule out sourcing for Southeast Asian ingredients to be put in his desserts. He said that he has been trying desserts in Singapore and is particularly intrigued by the nine-layer kueh.
All items on the menu are made fresh on site daily. Mr. Yamamoto explained that the quality of matcha is compromised when it is exposed to heat and humidity. As such, they invest in good storage methods and make desserts fresh every day in order to retain the quality of their matcha.
This is why one of the highlights at the 108 Matcha Saro store is watching the staff “live” in action, making the Obanyaki and Warabi mochi from scratch.
What to try at 108 Matcha Saro
The best-selling item is the Obanyaki (from SGD2.90) and they come in five flavours: Red Bean Paste & Matcha Dough, Red Bean Paste & Original Dough, Matcha Custard & Original Dough, Custard & Original Dough, and Red Bean Paste with Warabi Mochi & Matcha Dough.
Mr. Yamamoto told us that the Obanyaki is the most challenging item to make in his menu, because the control of heat can be tricky and will affect the taste of the Obanyaki tremendously.
His personal favourite on the menu is also the Obanyaki, especially the one made with Matcha Dough and filled with Red Bean Paste and Warabi Mochi.
After trying some of the items in the menu, our favourite is the Warabi Mochi. These are handmade fresh daily and you can opt for either eight pieces (SGD4.90) or 24 pieces (SGD12.90). We absolutely enjoyed the chewiness and tenderness of the mochi and how it melted in our mouths leaving behind the fragrant taste of its ingredients.
The matcha ice-cream is another great treat that we loved, which we recommend that you enjoy it in the Matcha Parfait Deluxe (SGD8.50). This is served with Warabi mochi, Red bean paste, and White mochi.
In celebration of its first outlet in Singapore, 108 Matcha Saro has specially created a limited edition Obanyaki – the Double-Choc Obanyaki that comes in Matcha dough and double, high-grade chocolate filling made with chocolate-flavoured custard and French Premium Dark Chocolate from Valrhona – specifically Caraibe 66%. It has a perfect balance of smooth chocolate and roasted dried fruit notes with a slightly oaky finish. These are priced at SGD3.50 each.
108 Matcha Saro is located at #B1-K05, Suntec City Mall.