My name is Natasha and I have a major confession: I have a sweet tooth. No, not just a simple, little sweet tooth. I like to think of it as a monster sugar craving.
You’re probably thinking: what does this have to do with Japan?
During my travels here, I’ve seen wonderful places and participated in incredible events. However, none of these activities address my problem of needing sugar 24/7. Luckily, a konbini is never too far away and I can quickly purchase an ice cream bar. I definitely recommend a Meiji orange cream bar that tastes like a creamsicle dipped in white chocolate, or a monaka that’s basically a waffle ice cream sandwich. However, none of these delicious treats could satisfy my sugar monster for very long.
In addition to loving sugar, I absolutely adore anything matcha flavored. It could be matcha soap and I’d probably try to eat it. So, when I read about a place in Tokyo with the self-proclaimed, “strongest matcha flavored gelato in the world,” I had to eat it for myself.
The shop is located in Asakusa, only a few minutes’ walk from Senso-ji temple. It’s called Suzukien Asakusa and you may have seen videos of it on various forms of social media. Suzukien has six more matcha flavors as well, with each gradually increasing in intensity until reaching the premium “strongest matcha flavor.” Besides matcha, the shop has other tea themed flavors, like black sesame seed, roasted black tea, and azuki bean.
The shop is so popular, that the line used to snake down the sidewalk. Now, there is a waiting room a five-minute walk away, because the community members didn’t like the aesthetic of eager Instagrammers blocking the neighborhood. I don’t blame them.
When I arrived at the waiting room, the kind worker took my name. It was a great opportunity to awkwardly stumble through the few phrases of Japanese that I know! I was lucky enough to only wait for 20 minutes, whereas people on the internet have reported waiting up to an hour and a half on really busy days. Once the worker called my name, I received a laminated pass and walked to the shop. This pass is really important because the shop will not serve you gelato until you hand it to the cashier. The only way to get the pass is by going to the waiting room.
Finally, I reached the front of the line. I decided to get one scoop each of black sesame seed and premium no. 7 matcha (a.k.a. the strongest possible), as seen in the photo below.
I can’t say it’s the most intense in the world, as I need to have more matcha ice cream before coming to that conclusion. However, the gelato was indeed the richest matcha flavor I have tasted thus far. It had a very earthy flavor, even more so than a mouthful of grass and dirt. Yet, the subtle, nutty taste of the black sesame balanced out the bitter bite of matcha. I was in ice cream heaven!
While the gelato was a little expensive for an every day excursion, I think Suzukien is a great place to satiate one’s sweet tooth. If you love matcha or being adventurous with food, then I recommend you give it a try too!