Friday, January 23, 2009

Red Mango: the real fro-yo deal

Yesterday, after attending a meeting at TriNoma, I took some time out of conducting store visits to drop by Red Mango, the newest and perhaps most notable addition to the passel of frozen yogurt purveyors in the country. I say "notable" because Red Mango has the distinction of being the pioneer fro-yo chain from Korea that spawned many copycat chains in the US. What sets Red Mango apart and above the rest is that its frozen yogurt is all-natural, non-fat, and not powder-based (most fro-yo brands pass off the powdered stuff as "yogurt" when it actually doesn't contain the live, active cultures natural yogurt has).

With the fro-yo fad taking the US by storm, it was only a matter of time before it hit our shores. I've noticed nowadays frozen yogurt is becoming an increasingly popular, healthier alternative to sinful ice creams and decadent desserts
(my friend Yang and my student Rach are self-confessed fro-yo junkies). With its arrival in Manila, Red Mango is bound to raise the fro-yo phenomenon to the next level. Now, I would cut off my left arm before I'd ever forsake ice cream, but I must say, of all the frozen yogurts I've tasted so far, Red Mango is the only one that could make me consider replacing my favorite sweet treat. I sampled both the Original and Green Tea variants of their frozen yogurt, and they were surprisingly, delightfully creamy (and I mean creamy, not your run-of-the-mill soft-serve stuff). They also hit the ideal balance of tart and sweet, and as I licked my spoon clean I thought, hey I could seriously get hooked on this. I preferred the Green Tea yogurt, and ordered a 4 oz. cup topped with strawberries and mangoes. The mangoes were a little too sour for my liking, but the strawberries were perfect, just like the yogurt.

Pricing is pretty reasonable, given the excellent quality of the product. A small cup (4 oz.) is P80, medium (6 oz.) is P115, and large (8 oz.) is P150. There's also a "family" size for P220 (12 oz.). Toppings come at P20 for one, P30 for two, and P40 for three. Red Mango offers an impressive assortment of fruit toppings (there's even pomelo!), as well as cereal, chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers and nuts to jazz up their frozen yogurt.

If I hadn't been in a hurry it would have been nice to have had my fro-yo served in one of Red Mango's pretty bowls and with one of their cute dessert spoons. Also, I would have loved to try the Banana Almond Waffle (topped with yogurt cream cheese, yum). I will have to make more time during my next visit to TriNoma just for that! The design and set-up of the open dining area are inviting, and the red chairs are very comfy-- making it even more tempting to just sit for hours and enjoy multiple servings of fro-yo.

I'd also like to commend the service of Red Mango's counter staff. Not only did they cheerfully and thoroughly answer all my pesky questions, while I was waiting they invited me to take a seat and offered me a drink of water.
They're only on their soft opening, but the operations seemed to be as smooth as the frozen yogurt they were serving.

Red Mango is on the 3rd floor of TriNoma,
in front of Fitness First and Toys R Us. They will soon be opening their second branch in Megamall building A (ground floor, beside Bread Talk), followed by a third in the new Eastwood Mall (2nd floor, right behind Arrow). Looks like I now have a good reason to look forward to store visits in at least three malls.

[photos courtesy of the multi-talented Mylene Chung]


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