Thursday, July 3, 2014

Imamura Housuien Kyoto 今村芳翠園本舗 : Matcha All-Rounder Since 1849


When one can't have time to travel to Kyoto, let it come to you. 

Imamura Housuien is an old matcha tea house from Kyoto which had been established since 1849 (near end of Bakufu period). It appears randomly every now and then at pop-up stores and food fairs in Tokyo. After taking a teeny weeny sampling of its matcha pudding, I knew this shop had the X factor of matcha sweets and I got to try more of its products.
What is great about Imamura is that does not only sell green tea products but also houjicha. 
Speaking of the matcha pudding and houjicha pudding, both looked as if they were churned out from someone's kitchen but it offered excellent texture and taste. They were complexly mellow, bitter but not overpowering.

The best part is they were not sweet at all, or perhaps even unsweetened. And they definitely count more like a pudding than Hal Yamashita's version, which seems more like a creamy dessert. 
It sells both Houjicha and Matcha Cream Puff and for once, I decided to ditch the matcha for houjicha. The crust might not match up to Beard Papa's formidability but the cream filling was earthy and well-tempered in sweetness. 

Is this a Parfait or a "Tall Cupcake"? Whichever name they called it, this was a neatly stacked concoction of 6 different layers. Starting from the base, there was Soy Milk pudding, matcha sponge, matcha mousse, red bean mousse, matcha jelly and red beans with specks of gold. The flavours of each layer was sharp and one can easily detect the matcha in less than 5 seconds, unlike some of the matcha sweets in the market.

Don't be deceive by the fruit jelly into thinking that this is a light dessert. In fact, it was dense but offered highly bold flavours of matcha. What makes it special is the middle dark green pudding layer that has a gelatine-like texture
The T-Roll is another item I would highly recommend as this is perhaps the fluffiest and softest matcha roll I've had so far. According to the staff, it was deliberately made into such miniature packaging so that one can enjoy matcha rolls on the go.

In fact, all the matcha sweets from Imamura left me so satisfied and impressed that I would not hesitate to visit the main outlet in Kyoto one day, not for the sweets but for a sip of the authentic brew. 

Imamura Housuien
Daily except Sundays 9am-6pm
35 Tanabekudo, Kyōtanabe-shi, Kyōto

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