Not to sound like an old patriotic Korean man, but yes… It ALL started in Korea. Um yeah, you do completely sound like a patriotic old fart! But I guess context is key…
In 2002, Red Mango opened its doors in Seoul, Korea serving frozen yogurt desserts with fresh fruit toppings. This idea which derives from the traditional Korean dessert called pat-bingsu (shaved ice topped with red bean, mochi, fruit, condensed milk…hmm, recipe time?!) caught like wildfire with multiple chains opening within a year. This dessert idea was then adopted and brought overseas to California by Pinkberry. LA seems to be the perfect place for an idea like frozen yogurt to flourish as the image-conscious trendsetters finally had a healthy dessert option to combat the hot summer weather.
N and I first tried Pinkberry in LA and we were fascinated by the concept of tart and soft frozen yogurt with fresh fruit and unique toppings like cereal and mochi (dduk). I’m not much of a health aficionado but loved Pinkberry for the taste. The clean and “yuppy” decor and the catchy Pinkberry theme song on the website only helped further the cause “P-I-N…K-B-Eeee…PINKBERRY!” love this jingle! We became obsessed with Pinkberry to the point where when we visited NY one summer, we went 4 times in 5 days.
Fast forward to present day: We still love frozen yogurt however, we have a new #1. When we went to Vegas a year ago, we were introduced to a NEW chain called Yogurtland (Which also began in California). Since then, Yogurtland has become our favorite frozen yogurt chain and whenever N and I travel, we try to visit at least once.
Now what makes Yogurtland our favorite?
Their slogan is “You Rule” and their concept is true to their slogan. Yogurtland is a neatly decorated (with an upbeat, fresh and modern aura) self-serve chain that offers many different flavored yogurt machines that you can choose from. Basically, you take the cup, fill it with as much or little of whatever flavored yogurt you want (you can mix flavors). You then move onto the topping station where they have fresh fruit, cereal, mochi, cheese cake pieces, chocolate, syrups and many more. You can fill your cup with as much topping as you want. During my first visit, I made the rookie mistake of filling my cup with way too much yogurt that I didn’t have enough space for all the toppings I wanted. Umm… I still do this. I tell myself, “no N, you have enough Green Tea but ooh look! It’s Red Velvet!”
I just loved the concept at Yogurtland where they let the customers decide how much of each topping they want. (I love mochi and cheesecake but I don’t like too much fruit and now I don’t have to explain this to anyone as I can just help myself… and there goes the health factor of frozen yogurt! Sigh. Moreover, I assume this business model probably requires less employees while increasing output as the customers also doubles as the workforce. Huh?! Are we still talking about dessert? All I know is that it’s yummy in my tummy! And it’s pretty too! I liked the idea so much that if Calgary wasn’t cold 8 months of the year, I would have opened one myself. And then we would eat all the profits.
After you have completed “building” your yogurt, they put it on a scale and charge you according to weight. It should generally be under $5 but rumor has it that N has built an $8 cup which she was able to finish on her own. Don’t believe everything you hear! Wink!
Check out Yogurtland and tell us your favorite topping combinations and flavors!