i had a sneak peak of red mango yogurt today in their corporate office in culver city. like pinkberry, they have a plain and green tea flavor coupled with an assortment of dry and fresh fruit toppings. red mango is the original gangster of "italian" frozen yogurt- first founded in korea and now copycatted by the notorious pinkberry here in los angeles. all my friends who have tried both red mango korea and pinkberry have preferred the former, so we were all ecstatic to discover that red mango was going to open stores in los angeles.
i brought along 3 fellow pinkberry fans to the taste testing today. we tried both flavors while red mango president, dan kim, waxed poetic about the virtues of their product. apparently, because the korean version is so similar to pinkberry, they changed the american version to simulate more of an authentic yogurt experience. that's right, red mango somehow made pinkberry's frozen yogurt taste even more yogurty. whether that's a good or bad thing is up to the taster, i guess. i personally prefer the "crunch" texture of pinkberry, and apparently, it's due to the higher water content. i was pretty disappointed that they changed the original korean recipe since it's supposedly better, but i guess they figured that they wanted to take a different strategy since pinkberry has already captured so much of the market.
the green tea flavor, however, was much better, eons superior, to that of pinkberry's medicinal green tea concoction. this was immediately obvious to all of us as we took our first spoonful. i might even prefer red mango's green tea version to that of pinkberry's regular. however, if i want a cold green tea dessert, i will always prefer maeda-en or ciao bella green tea gelato.
pricing is about the same, though you are not psychologically finagled into buying a medium + 3 toppings. small is 2.50, medium 3.50, toppings are $1 for first and 25 cents thereafter.
red mango's marketed as being the "healthier" yogurt. it has more yogurt cultures and less calories (about 40 per serving). it's also going to be served in a more coffeehouse atmosphere (they hired coffeebean's designers) rather than the mini-MOMAs of pinkberry and its imposters. (btw: some of the pinkberry design replications are assaultive to the eyes). is this enough to give red mango a competitive edge? i don't think so. if i want a heatlhy yogurt fix, i'll buy dannon for 50 cents. a difference in 40 calories and some yogurt cultures isn't enough to make me a red mango groupie.
ultimately, it will come down to...parking. whichever store has better parking options wherever i happen to be in the city wins. if both are equal, i will probably choose pinkberry.
oh and the most important fact of all: red mango doesn't have mochi!!!!!!!!
if you're a blogger and want to try red mango, email Elizabeth@redmangousa.com. their westwood store is opening at the end of the month.
ps- in other news, my dad is teaching math to the police officers of the jail paris hilton is staying at. should i ask him to get an autographed black and white striped jumper? an autographed ball and chain?