REVIEWED: Hello Red Mango…
I might not be the first, but I’m definitely one of the few to actually sample the American version of Red Mango before their first store even opens.
If you haven’t yet heard of Red Mango, you will soon. Red Mango is the original Pinkberry. Red Mango has over 140 locations in Korea and has been operating since 2002. Ten Red Mango locations will be opening in 2007 with the first in Westwood, CA by the end of June. Although many people in the states will think Pinkberry was the first of its kind, rest assured that Red Mango is in fact the one that started it all. You can now prove your friends wrong when they try to convince you its the other way around.
Today I was taken to the Red Mango headquarters in Culver City to try what turned out to be the most delicious Pinkberry-style yogurt I’ve ever had. And this stuff IS actually yogurt, unlike Pinkberry. Red Mango yogurt is made with pure and natural ingredients, and loaded with live and active cultures.
If you haven’t heard, Pinkberry is dealing with some legal trouble over the fact that their yogurt might not actually be yogurt. They’ve been forced to drop the word “yogurt” from their cups and signage. That said, I still have much respect for Pinkberry and will be enjoying it until the first Red Mango location opens. But back to the taste test…
I was given a bowl of fresh Red Mango original flavor, plain, in the amount of what a small size would be in stores. It’s as creamy as gelato but not nearly as icey as Pinkberry.
But the taste? Well, let me say this. I’m actually a fan of Pinkberry. A very big fan. I find it to be delicious and refreshing without being disgusting full after I’m done eating it. The taste is a little tart, but still better than most other frozen yogurts. But that said, Red Mango is even better. It’s a bit tart, but not overly tart at all.
SIDE NOTE: For as many people as I’ve turned on to Pinkberry, that many have also been turned off due to the tartness of the stuff.
With Red Mango, that overly sour tart flavor is much less. Hardly noticeable. What is noticeable, however, is the creaminess of the yogurt. If you’ve had gelato, you know what I mean. Although it does come out of a high tech soft-serve machine, it tastes like it was just whipped up in the back of the store. No after taste is left (unlike Pinkberry), and (like Pinkberry) you don’t feel like you’ve just had a bowl of ice cream when you’re done.
The nutritional expert was also on hand working out the nutritional facts of the yogurt and enlightened me to the fact that Red Mango is not only healthier than Pinkberry due to the yogurt elements but also less in calories (about 20 calories in 1 ounce, compared to Pinkberry with 25 calories.)
If you live in LA you’ve probably noticed the onslaught of Pinkberry’s on almost every corner, not to mention the copycats like Kiwiberry, Snowberry, and various others. Well Red Mango has a copycat as well. California Roll & Sushi has been claiming to serve Red Mango yogurt for a while now, but be assured it is not. It’s just another rip-off trying to make a buck. To be sure you’re eating Red Mango, make sure you visit the Westwood location when it opens late June, and look for the Red Mango “O” logo like the one above.
Original and green tea flavor will be offered in various sizes, but only original was available to try. Green tea is being tweaked and they’ll be using high quality matcha. As for toppings, they’ll include granola, nuts, fresh fruits, cereals, chocolate chips and the like.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I went back for seconds.
FINAL VERDICT: Get in line now. It’ll be worth the wait.
Red Mango Locations: Westwood Village – Westwood/Pico – Las Vegas – Culver City – Northridge – Koreatown – Bellevue Square (Washington) – San Diego (Mission Valley)
Information for this review taken from the Korean American Journal and from Red Mango employees directly.