May 31, 2012|
We usually blame America for introducing overly sized, overly fried, and overly greasy fast food to the world—so here is something healthy that we can genuinely be thankful for: the creation of froyo. Froyo, short for frozen yogurt, was first introduced in New England as a low-fat alternative to soft-serve ice cream. Today, froyo caters to dessert-lovers all over the world.
The boom of this tasty delight started in Hong Kong about a decade ago. One of the first and most notable froyo shops to open was Best Berry, which set up its flagship store in Sha Tin (now closed) in 2002. Other shops began to follow suit as the yogurty goodness had Hongkongers hooked. Nowadays, the stores range from big fancy café types to little stands in food courts. Some are self-serve, others are not, some have a billion and one toppings and feature flavors, others stick to the basics—the list is endless. Below, we put five popular froyo shops head to head for the ultimate taste test.
Tutti Frutti is a cute little corner shop at The One. We were almost lured by its recent promotion - paying $50 to fill a whole cup with an unlimited amount of froyo and toppings. But we eventually went for the pro rata (paying by weight) option. Everything is self-serve here: pick a cylinder-shaped paper cup, place it under the nozzle of the froyo machine to get the froyo and then take your pick of toppings at the next table.
Various shops, including the newest at Shop 4, LG1/F, The One, 100 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2427-6822.
Flavors: Original, green tea, red bean and chocolate (flavors are different for each branch and change occasionally)
Toppings: About 23 to 27 choices, including gummy bears, chocolate beans and jelly cubes
Price: $15 per 100g
Description: We tried the original flavor froyo, and added several toppings like the gummy bears and jelly cubes. The froyo was a bit watery, with a mild taste and a texture that’s more like fruit sorbet. The toppings are mainly processed and the fruits come from cans. We were disappointed not to see any fresh fruits!
Stroll along Causeway Road and eventually you will find a two-meter tall Fru:yo Factory poster with a cute cartoon elephant pointing towards the otherwise nondescript shop. Inside is a laid-back coffee shop setting with an elephant theme. The interior is nicely decorated, with wooden boards on the walls and high wooden bar stools off to the side. There’s some background music to create a warm and welcoming environment. Special toppings like pure honey, wheat germ and cheesecake are on the list—the crumbly, processed toppings are displayed in beautiful glass jars while the fresh fruits are all covered in protective plastic film, making the shop the most hygienic of the lot. Fru:yo Factory also serves a variety of sweet treats like cakes, smoothies and coffee.
Various shops, including the newest at 24 Causeway Rd., Causeway Bay, 2808-0410.
Flavors: Original, rose and passion fruit (three flavors a day; changes biweekly)
Toppings: About 30 choices, including fresh strawberries, brownie, cheesecake, mochi, popcorn, pure honey and wheat germ
Price: $24 for small size (140g)
Description: The thickness of the original froyo was just right and was more on the sweet side, with a refreshing aftertaste. In fact, compared to the other froyos we tried, there was hardly any hint of acidity. The strawberries we had for toppings, on the other hand, were a bit on the sour side—but this only meant that they weren’t dipped in sugary syrup (a trick that many other shops use to keep their fruits sweet). The strawberries also balanced the sweet yogurt very well.
Crumbs is the only one out of the five we tried that sells original-flavored frozen yogurt alone (no extra flavors). The claim to fame here is that the froyo isn’t diluted with water or ice. That, and their signature “crumbs” topping, of course. Only some of the branches, like the Jordan one, have seats (CWB does not).
Various shops, including 6 Cannon St., Causeway Bay, 2838-5500.
Toppings: About 25 choices, including fresh fruits like banana and blueberries, green tea mochi and signature “house crumbs”
Price: $20 for kiddie size (120g)
Description: Crumbs probably serves the creamiest froyo in the city. The yogurt had a dense and heavy texture and stood as firm as ice-cream. The texture was irresistibly fine and smooth. There was a zesty, citrusy aftertaste that might not be everyone’s cup of tea. We definitely recommend crumbs, their house topping, which consists of apple crumble-like sweet crisps with a strong cinnamon flavor—it’s the perfect balance with the froyo itself. Word of warning: it’s a bit on the heavy side, so make sure to go light (kiddie cup) after a big meal.
A one-minute walk from Kwun Tong MTR station will bring you to Triple Milk at Kwun Tong Plaza, an obscure little complex with mainly computer equipment stores and a few local restaurants. The young staff here greet patrons with a warm smile, adding a friendly touch to the place. To complement their froyos, Triple Milk also offers macaroons and drinks.
Shop G9, Kwun Tong Plaza, 68 Hoi Yuen Rd., Kwun Tong, 2344-3788.
Flavors: Original, chocolate, green tea, strawberry, mango (flavors change bi-weekly)
Toppings: About 34 choices, including fresh fruits like strawberries and blueberries, brownie, apple crumble and water melon mochi. Six types of sauces, including kiwi, caramel and raspberry are also available. It’s the only shop out of the five we tried that offers sauces.
Price: $15 for small size (150g)
Description: The froyo here did not have a creamy texture; instead, it was more sorbet-like, was not too watery and was just right in its firmness. The original flavor was light and gave a slightly acidic aftertaste. The temperature of the froyo was quite chilly, although it melted in the mouth instantly—a word of caution for those with sensitive teeth! The raspberry sauce (which kind of reminded us of the sauce on top of the strawberry sundaes at McDonald’s) that we chose matched perfectly with the froyo and our fresh strawberries both in flavor and color. The sauce was definitely the icing on the figurative cake.
The gigantic red “O” sign along Wellington Street marks Red Mango’s first Hong Kong branch. The international chain has over 250 branches worldwide. Red Mango is committed to using all-natural ingredients for their froyos. The Wellington Street shop has a bright and warm interior, complete with cushy seats. The red-uniformed and golf-capped stewards are also most willing to help you out.
71 Wellington St., Central, 2907-1199.
Flavors: Original, mango and strawberry, plus a weekly special
Toppings: About 30 choices, including fresh blackberries, pomegranate and blueberries, apple jam, mini mints, almonds, hazelnuts and chopped up English toffee and chocolate bits
Price: $39 for junior size (120g)
Description: Red mango is probably the most lavish—and expensive—froyo shop in town. Patrons are allowed to add as many toppings to their yogurt as the cup allows. And yes, you can bet we were greedy with our toppings. The froyo itself was light and smooth, just like you’d expect a healthy yogurt-based dessert to be. There was a tinge of acidity to the yogurt that wasn’t overwhelming. It was a perfect balance to our delicious and innovative crunchy and chewy toppings of fresh blackberries, crushed M&M’s and English toffee and chocolate bits.
Flavors Toppings Price Price per 100g
Tutti Frutti Original, green tea, 23 to 27 $15 per 100g $15
red bean, chocolate
(flavors are different
for each branch)
Fru:yo Original, rose, About 30 $24(small, 140g) $17.1
Factory passion fruit (three
flavors a day; flavors
Red Original, mango, About 30 $39(small,120g) $32.5
Mango strawberry and a
Crumbs Original About 25 $20(kiddie,120g) $16.7
Triple Milk Original, chocolate, About 35 $15(small,150g) $10
Frozen green tea, strawberry,
Yogurt mango (flavors
Can’t get enough of the delicious cold treat? Here are more froyo shops to choose from:
Shop L308, The One, 100 Nathan Rd., Tsim Sha Tsui, 2817-3800
From the weekly new flavors to the myriad toppings, Tuttimelon has a lot of froyo styles on offer. For the decision-challenged, the store recommends different combinations for their differently flavored yogurts. For example, the strawberry yogurt supposedly goes best with fresh strawberries, mocha, kiwi and fruity pebbles. Happy picking!
8D Yim Po Fong St., Mong Kok, 2771-7577
This Panda-themed parlor serves, in our opinion, the most reasonably priced froyo in town. Each 100 grams costs only $13 and allows you to choose as many toppings as you wish, bearing in mind your cup doesn’t completely overflow. To adhere to its health-conscious roots, Panda House doesn’t offer any funky flavors. The taste is not overly creamy but still filling, with a refreshing zing that materializes as soon as it enters your mouth.
UG/F, Malahon Centre, 10-12 Stanley St., Central, 2147-5711
Originally from San Francisco, Yoppi now has many stores dotted around the city and is known for its original flavored yogurt. Patrons can opt for healthy toppings such as acai berries and organic pumpkin flax granola, or fun ones like tasty American cereals such as Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’ N Crunch.
Taikoo Shop, Shop F20, 1/F, Kornhill Plaza, 1 Kornhill Rd., Quarry Bay, 2535-5800
Jubi is a self-serve bar that lets customers help themselves to the toppings of their choice, which is then weighed and charged at $16 per 100g. A decent serving with a generous helping of toppings usually comes to around $25 to $30.
Shop 7E1, LCX, Level 3, Ocean Terminal Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, 2543-8335
Berrygood is perfectly located for a mid-shop snack. Whether you need a Quick Fix (at $30 with one topping), an Indulge (at $45 with three toppings), an original, a flavor of the day or a swirl (mix of two flavors), you are guaranteed a scrumptious and creamy energy boost at Berrygood.
G/F, 96 Electric Rd., Tin Hau, 2566-2003
Silly Boo is sort of the dark horse in the frozen yogurt race, located pretty far out in Tin Hau and not really advertised or written about much. The taste is light yet creamy, with a distinct yogurt punch. There are topping options available, but this yogurt tastes best in its natural goodness, perhaps with some fresh fruits mixed in.