What is the point of you?
You are green tea; why do you insist on trying to be more than that? Why do you want to ruin everything, and infect every Instagram post with your incessant, intolerable shade of goblin-vomit green?
Nothing Good is Green
Type “green things” into Google images and you’ll see the first problem. Green things, in general, tend to suck.
Broccoli and the Starbucks logo? Check. Venomous reptiles and the most irritating of all The Muppets? Check. And nobody ever threw a party themed around avocado, the bane of good breakfasts and nemesis of any millennial at the foot of the property ladder.
A latte should be a magical thing; a caffeinated cup of bliss, where rich, brown espresso meets white, foamy milk, perhaps bedecked with a lopsided leaf or wonky heart.
Thanks to places like Urban Station (2B Pham Ngoc Thach, Dong Da), you can now get a matcha latte, an abomination which looks like Shrek has sneezed into it. No thanks.
It’s still summer, so maybe an iced drink would be more appealing. No dice, I’m afraid; matcha has stuck its grubby little claws into that refreshing retreat, too.
Bubble tea from Coco (19 Le Dai Hanh, Hai Ba Trung), or an iced tea from Hanoi Sandwich House (8 Tay Ho, Tay Ho) were once things we could look forward to. But no longer, as their matcha bubble tea or iced matcha are now yours to enjoy; if anyone can enjoy a drink which looks like it was made by mixing water with the Hulk’s dandruff.
The Dessert Destroyer
The matcha invasion goes to show that nothing is sacred anymore. Crème brûlée and tiramisu, two classic staples of the French and Italian dessert menus, have now been tainted by that pointless powder.
If you don’t believe me, I invite you to torment your taste buds with the matcha tiramisu at Xofa Café (14 Tong Duy Tan, Hoan Kiem) or the matcha crème brûlée at Jouri Dessert and Tea (10 Khuc Hao, Ba Dinh).
Even ice cream hasn’t gone untarnished by the gross green brush. I agree that gelato can come in all flavours and colours. I just don’t agree that one of those flavours or colours should be Yoda’s Ballbag. If you disagree, then head to Gelato Italia (31 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho) and try their matcha gelato.
Less creamy than gelato, but equally vile, the good name of ice cream has been desecrated at Fanny Ice Cream and Sorbet (2 Hang Bai, Hoan Kiem) where you will find matcha ice cream sitting alongside the proper flavours, thinking it belongs there.
The popular Korean import, patbingsu, or “snow ice cream”, is traditionally made with shaved ice and red beans, while other varieties made with fruit or cookies are known as bingsu.
However, if you’d prefer to try a variety of bingsu, which is to desserts what Scotland is to football, then check out the matcha bingsu at Pow Pow Snow (166E Doi Can, Ba Dinh) or Swaffles House (20 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem).
Just like everyone knows that Bulbasaur, that unloved green mutant, is the worst of the grass-type Pokemon, it’s about time everyone knows that matcha is the worst variety of Kit Kat.
Kit Kat have had some cracking varieties and special editions over the years; orange, mint, white or dark chocolate, peanut butter and strawberry have been some of the highlights.
The indisputable low point, however, can be found on sale at most Circle Ks or big supermarkets, and is of course the loathsome matcha Kit Kat.
As a semi-professional fat man, cake is one of the most important things in my life. Unfortunately, The Grinch has sprinkled his evil into the mixing bowl, resulting in the repulsive matcha cakes you can find almost anywhere around town.
Give a Gift of Hate
I’m sorry matcha, but I will always hate you. The next time someone I despise has a birthday, I will buy them a matcha birthday cake from Madame Huong Dessert (39 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem) and laugh as they cry into it, wondering why it’s not chocolate or another real flavour.
So in the meantime, matcha, keep gathering your strength at one of Hanoi’s many matcha cafes, such as Kool Off (54 Hoang Ngoc Phach, Dong Da), Yamamoto (65 Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem) or Matcha Coffee 2NE1 (6 Le Van Huu, Hoan Kiem), and I will keep rallying individuals of more discerning taste to my cause. The Matcha Crusade is coming.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect those of Word Vietnam
Photos by Julie Vola