Hojicha ほうじ茶 (sometimes also spelt as “Houjicha”) is a type of Japanese green tea which is roasted, whereas most Japanese teas are steamed.
The tea is fired at a high temperature, altering the leaves from green to reddish brown colour. Upon drinking, you would find that characteristic smooth and mellow-roasted flavour.
Another interesting aspect is that Hojicha has low caffeine content (Hojicha has only 0.13 g of caffeine per 100 g, compared to approximately 3.2 g for Matcha), so you would find it ‘safe’ drinking in the later parts of the day.
Here are 10 Hojicha Cakes & Desserts you can find in Singapore:
Hvala – TripleOne Somerset
111 Somerset Road, Singapore 238164
Opening Hours: 11am – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Houjicha Petit Gateau
Hvala’s Japanese teahouse is what I would describe as a little oasis in busy downtown. Not many people would know of its existence (yet), just footsteps away from the busy Somerset MRT station.
I think Hvala has managed to carve out a niche for themselves, in finding that sweet spot between offering quality Japanese tea with some modern interpretation.
And you hear this here first: Hvala will open another outlet soon at Keong Saik.
(They used to have a Houjicha sliced cake but that has been taken off the menu.) Their Houjicha Petit Gateau ($8.80) is actually made used hojicha rated in Wazuka Japan – roasted to Hvala’s specifications.
This results in a blend of roasty aroma and fragrant nuttiness.
Each mouthful brings quite a contrast of varied textures from the layers of mousse, crumble and sponge – both moist and creamy.
I enjoyed that there was this strong houjicha flavour, plus not overly sweet.
Matchaya – The Cathay
The Cathay, #01-08/09, 2 Handy Road, Singapore 229233
Opening Hours: 10am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Salted Caramel Coco Houjicha Roll Cake
While many Japanese Cafes in Singapore are imports, Matchaya is a home-grown brand that has enjoyed quite a following.
For Houjicha lovers, they serve up Houjica Choux Pastry ($4 per pc, $22 per box of 6) and Salted Caramel Coco Houjicha Roll Cake ($6 per pc, $28 per roll).
The roll cake includes houjicha, Chantilly creamed and salted caramel dark chocolate embedded in chocolate sponge, surrounded by fluffy sponge.
If you like that roasted green tea earthy taste, you get a lot of eat in this cake, though some find feel it is on the slightly rich and bitter side due to the amount of powder dusted around.
Keong Saik Bakery
33 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089140
Opening Hours: 7:30am – 6:30pm (Mon – Fri), 8am – 8:30pm (Sat – Sun)
Houjicha Roll Cake
Keong Saik Bakery showcases glimpse of traditional vibes through their contemporary bakes and coffee. And congrats to their recent move down the road to a bigger space with expanded offerings (however, no dine-in yet).
Their Houjicha Roll Cake ($7.50) makes a return for takeaways.
What you get is hojicha chantilly cream rolled in fluffy hojicha sponge, topped with hojicha ganache and further dusted with hojicha powder.
Bakery Brera & Fine Foods
8 Empress Road #01-05 Singapore 260008
Tel: +65 6492 5428
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Hojicha Burnt Cheesecake
Bakery Brera & Fine Foods located near Empress Road Food Centre has gained quite a following for its artisanal breads and creative pastries.
I had quite a number of Basque Burnt Cheesecake in Singapore, but Brera’s classic Basque Burnt Cheesecake ($7.30) has just the right amount of molten-ness and richness in terms of cheese.
My main qualms for most Burnt Cheesecake is that it is not soft enough in the middle, but the texture of this was meltingly soft and satisfying.
Rich and ‘cheesy’, this is made with three different types of cheeses.
While I thought that the Hojicha Burnt Cheesecake ($8.00) was a tad sweet because I was expecting the tea flavour to be more pronounced, there was still nuances of the tea that differentiated this out of the average.
Dopa Dopa Creamery
29 South Bridge Rd, #01-01, Singapore 058665
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 12pm – 10:30pm (Fri – Sat), Closed Sun
Dopa Dopa Creamery located at South Bridge Road has been earning generally positive reviews with its gelato churned from scratch, included with natural ingredients such as nuts, fruits and tea leaves.
What worked for me was its consistency. You could tell as the server pulled (or scraped) the contents out from the tub – the gelato was creamy, slightly sticky.
The colours also looked right, close to the ingredients used to make them.
The flavours were slightly more ‘intense’ than the usual ice cream. For example, there would be that slight roasted tea aroma as you savour your Hojicha gelato.
The only thing I found that could be worked upon was its sweetness, perhaps it could be a tad lower (like 10%) because it ‘covered’ the natural flavours of the nutty variant.
53 Tras Street, #01-01, Singapore 078992 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Opening Hours: 12pm – 10pm (Fri – Sat), 12pm – 6pm (Sun)
Konichiwa Hōjicha Cake
For lovers of roasted tea taste of Hojicha, get your hands on the Seasonal Cake of Konichiwa Hōjicha ($65 for 16cm, sliced cakes available in store).
The cake consists of Hōjicha Ganache and Hōjicha Chantilly in between layers of Hōjicha Soufflé Chiffon Sponge, topped with Hōjicha Tea Specks.
Enjoy the smooth creamy cake with the rich, roasted tea flavour with a hint of sweetness.
Kyushu Pancake Singapore – Holland Village
25 Lor Liput, Singapore 277735
Tel: +65 6352 6265
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Tues – Sun), Closed Mon
Hojicha Tiramisu Pancakes
The Kyushu Pancake Mix is made from 7 different finely selected grains including wheat from Oita Prefecture and Pressed barley from Saga Prefecture, 100% homegrown in Kyushu Japan, free of emulsifier, artificial fragrance, additives or processed starch.
This time I had the Hoji-cha Tiramisu Pancakes ($16.00), served with mascarpone cheese, hojicha sauce and jelly, with a side of vanilla ice cream.
Starting with the pancakes, it was soft and not too sweet (without adding the sauces and ice cream) – good for the palates of the health-conscious, though there was a certain denseness that perhaps some may find too filling after a few bites.
Sweet Thoughts by M.O.D
50 Hougang Ave 1 #01-00, JForte Sportainment Centre, Singapore 538885
Tel: +65 9738 6648
Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm (Tues – Fri), 12pm – 11pm (Sat, Sun), Closed Mon
Houjicha Shaved Ice
Known for pushing his boundary and creating visually captivating edible-art desserts, an extensive menu of 15 hot and cold desserts is created by Chef Francis to interpret “tong shui” (糖水).
In Singapore’s climate, the Shaved Ice is usually a popular choice and comes in 7 different flavours such as Hojicha ($6.90), Peanut ($6.90), Mango Sago Pomelo ($7.50), Black Sesame ($6.90), Taro ($6.90), Kaya Pandan ($6.90) and Mao Shan Wang Durian ($9.90).
The Hojicha Shaved Ice ($6.90) is my favourite, with fresh Hojicha tea leaves (instead of the powder) in the soft and fluffy shaved ice and is extremely aromatic and oishii.
The toppings are definitely worth a mention, with Azuki red beans, Konjac jelly and soya powdered muah Chee that is so soft and chewy.
Ramen Champion – Bugis+
201 Victoria Street, Bugis+ #04-10 Singapore 188607
Tel: +65 6238 1011
Opening Hours: 11am – 10.30pm (Mon – Fri), 10:30am – 10:30pm (Sat, Sun, PH)
This Japanese dessert, Kakigori, is made with soft and fluffy shave iced, flavoured with syrup and a sweeter, often condensed milk.
At Ramen Champion, they offer kakigori is 4 flavours: Hojicha, Royal Milk Tea, Strawberry and Milo.
The Hojicha Kakigori ($12.80) and the Royal Milk Tea Kakigori both comes with grass jelly, mochi, fresh whipped cream, and either hojicha or royal milk tea ice.
Fans of chocolate will love the Milo Kakigori, filled with Milo nuggets, Milo powder, Malteser chocolates, fresh whipped cream, and milk ice.
Emma – 100AM
100 Tras Street #02-10 Singapore 079027
Tel: +65 6443 1727
Opening Hours: 11am – 9:30pm (Sun – Thurs), 11am – 10pm (Fri – Sat)
Kuromitsu Houjicha Latte
Emma known for its soft serve made with premium Hokkaido milk, has introduced a new Japanese-style bubble tea range with a difference.
The drinks are also included with “Kuromitsu” which literally translates to “black honey” – a thin and dark syrup made from Japanese unrefined kurozato (“black sugar”) often used in the making of Japanese sweets.
The Kuromitsu Houjicha Latte ($4.50 for hot, $4.80 for cold, add $1 for boba pearls or soft serve) contains slight caramelised sweetness and roasted undertones, though I felt part of it could have been ‘covered’ by the richness of the milk.
This is for those who like a balance between the roastiness of Japanese green tea and creaminess from the milk.
53 Amoy Street Singapore 069879
Opening Hours: 12pm – 6:30pm (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 4pm (Sat – Sun)
Hojicha Tiramisu (to be introduced Oct 2020)
LUNA, the patisserie down Amoy Street spoiling customers with its mouth-watering cakes and pastries, has launched number of new cakes in their menu.
The Hojicha Tiramisa ($8) which is to be officially launched from 8th Oct 2020 onwards, comes wrapped with a plastic sheet.
Once removed, be prepared for a ‘waterfall’ of the lava top later.
Other than being dramatic in terms of the presentation, I think this dessert delights the senses due to the mixture of textures.
There is the rich and creamy mascarpone mousse with soft-fluffy hojicha-flavoured chiffon cake, accentuated with a crunch from a hojicha feuilletine base.
A dusting of the toasty tea powder completes this delicate pastry.