Hailing from Hokkaido, 108 Matcha Saro (named after the building number in Asahikawa, Hokkaido where its first shop opened in 2013) has made a name for itself as a dessert shop selling matcha-based obanyaki, warabi mochi, soft-serve ice cream and beverages in Japan and Taiwan. But at its first franchised branch brought in by AC Hesed (they reintroduced llaollao to Singapore last June) in Singapore — a spacious takeaway kiosk at the refurbished basement of Suntec City — curious shoppers stand in line mostly for its freshly made obanyaki, a round Japanese pancake-like snack with sweet fillings like red bean paste and custard. It might have been the enticing aroma of the batter cooking in the pan or the perfect discs skilfully crafted by 43-year-old Masato Yamamoto, chief executive officer (CEO) of 108 Matcha Saro, but the store’s obanyaki were already selling like hot cakes when we dropped by less than a week post-launch. Another outlet will open later this month at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

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