Had enough of bubble tea, whether Thai or Taiwanese? Bored with the kakigōri (shaved ice) boom? Perhaps it’s time to investigate the Vietnamese alternative, known simply as che, which combines tropical fruit, nuts and jellies with plenty of coconut milk in colorful, refreshing blends.
That’s the premise for Che 333, a bright new sweets stand that opened earlier this summer close by Gakugeidaigaku Station in Meguro Ward. Initially, it has seven different offerings, four types of che topped with shaved ice, and another three blended into smoothies. Either way they provide a cooling, comforting boost of sugar energy that works wonders for midsummer heat malaise.
Che 333 — the number is pronounced “ba-ba-ba,” just like the iconic Vietnamese beer brand — is an offshoot of a small business that imports ceramics, textiles and craft items sourced directly from Indochina, and occupies part of the showroom, allowing you to browse as you sip.
Although it’s separate from the brilliant Stand Banh Mi sandwich and noodle restaurant just a short stroll away, Che 333 makes an ideal stop-off for an after-lunch sweet or an early evening cup of Vietnamese coffee. Between the two operations, this corner of southwest Tokyo is flying the flag for Southeast Asia.
Takaban 3-18-3, Meguro-ku, Tokyo 152-0004; 03-6412-8866; che333.jp; open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. (and occasional late evenings); che (desserts) from ¥650; nearest station Gakugeidaigaku; nonsmoking; major cards; English menu; English spoken
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5