With the creation of fusion cuisine, diners are able to get a taste of both the traditional and the modern. Chanoma Cafe in Regent Place, across from Town Hall - is a small cafe that opened earlier this year. Chanoma has a vast menu, boasting a blend of traditional Japanese flavours with Western meals. Chanoma is mostly known for its selection of experimental hot dogs, known as Japadogs, and its wide selection of green tea matcha drinks, that range from simple Green Tea Lattes, to more elaborate concoctions such as Oreo Matcha Frappes.
Chanoma Cheese Dog and Shaked Chips with chilli & garlic flavouring.
For diners not familiar with distinctions between different kinds of green tea, matcha is a powder form of green tea that is traditionally used in Japanese tea ceremonies. The use of matcha has become widespread internationally, and is now used to create green tea flavouring in cakes, biscuits, ice cream, and green tea lattes. In addition to being delicious; matcha is also highly praised for its health benefits, which is a contributing factor in its popularity.
Exterior of Chanoma Cafe, simple and chic.
We arrive at Chanoma around 12:45pm on a Friday. Luckily for us, there are plenty of seats available. On other occasions I have not been so lucky, and have been forced to get take-away when dining in would have been much preferred. Since the last time I've been here, the menu at Chanoma has increased to include to several dessert options. I order the Iced Matcha Latte ($5.50), Chanoma Cheese Dog ($5.90) and a side of the Shaked Chips with chilli & garlic flavouring ($4.10).
Fusion hot dogs, blending the flavours of East and West.
Aside from chilli and garlic flavouring, there are a variety of other options such as teriyaki, wasabi, and seaweed & soy butter.
Once you've ordered, you are given a small beeper that signals when your food is ready.
We decide to take a seat inside and after about 5 minutes; an attendant brings our drinks to our tables. For anyone who's never had matcha before, the taste is fairly different from a standard green tea. My Iced Matcha Latte is creamy and refreshing, and has a strong and distinctive green tea flavour, with a subtle sweetness. The drink is a vivid bright green in colour, which is a testimony to the quality of the matcha. If it's not a bright green colour, you can be sure that the quality of the matcha isn't top notch, and the taste may be bitter instead of sweet.
The extensive variety of drinks at Chanoma
We wait a mere 10 more minutes for our food, and collect it at a counter slightly to the side of the main counter where you order. The Chanoma Cheese Dog in appearance is plain and simple: a kransky sausage on a hot dog bun topped with cheese. When I take my first bite, I find that there are caramelised onions topped on the soft bread, which adds a mildly sweet flavour to the hot dog. I find that the Chanoma Cheese Dog lacks the Japanese characteristic of the other hot dogs. The melted cheese and caramelised onions add dimension to the kransky sausage, which is mild in flavour. Apart from this, I find the Chanoma Cheese Dog an average; but not anexcellent hot dog, and probably wouldn't order this again if I returned.
In contrast, the Shaked Chips with chilli and garlic are tasty, with a mild kick of spiciness that the chilli adds. I don't notice much garlic taste however. On this occasion, I notice that the chips are packaged in a smaller serving than the previous times I ate here. It's a relatively small serving, probably the same size as a McDonald's small serving of chips.
Interior of Chanoma
As the food was quite average on this visit, the highlight of Chanoma on this occasion was the Iced Matcha Latte. It's one of those drinks I can finish in a few gulps, and will be left wanting more after I'm done. However, at $15.50 for a hot dog, fries, and a drink: there's not much value in my purchase. I like Chanoma Cafe a lot for the service, and delicious and excellent quality of matcha drinks that I won't find elsewhere else - however, I wouldn't order the Chanoma Cheese Dog again. There are a number of different hot dogs that are vastly more appealing.
Where: Chanoma Cafe, in Regent Place across from Town Hall station.
Why: For the novelty of Japanese hot dogs and green tea matcha drinks.
Cost: Ranges from $5.90-$6.90 for hot dogs and drinks start at $4.20.
When: Good for a meal during lunch or dinner, or even in between.
Good for kids: Yes, depending on whether they like Asian desserts.
Take away: Yes