Friday, May 29, 2009

CLOSED! dessert/frozen yogurt: i strongly recommend YOFROYO


at Shida Night Market
No.9, Ln.59, Shida Rd.
Jhongjeng District


MRT: Kuting



Kid friendliness: lots of free samples and kid pleasing marshmallows, mochi and sprinkles!

Visit reviewed: 5/18/2009

Everyone in LA has heard of Pinkberry. Maybe even heard of Red Mango, Yogurtland and the Frozen Yogurt Wars.

But in Taipei, the frozen yogurt wave is just beginning... there were some attempts here and there, but none that really seemed that they would take off until now. A few years ago, I even daydreamed to open a Yogurtland-berry-ish froyo place here and eat free frozen yogurt whenever I wanted, the way I wanted, but luckily for us, the founders of YoFroyo actually went ahead and did it.

YoFroyo is located in an alley off of the busy Shida Night Market, across from Subway. I would have never ventured there but for an email invitation letting me know about their Grand Opening. I couldn't make it then, but the call of tarty frozen yogurt (or fro yo, for short, hence the name YoFroYo) was too strong to let me wait too long to check it out.

And I'm glad I did. First off, next time I'd come with an empty stomach to the Shida Night Market since there are so many alleys full of street eats to sample, such as "gua bao", pan fried dumplings, crispy fried chicken cutlets or "G-pai" and sausages, just to name a few.

But if you are headed just for the frozen yogurt, you have a lot to choose from. There's an array of toppings, flavors and combinations. Most importantly, there were berries, or at least strawberries, and mango. They also have other confections- gummy bears, marshmallows, crumbled cookies, diced fruits, chocolate chips and even baby cream puffs to decorate your dessert. They also have freshly made baby mochi balls to choose from and quite a number of flavors (original, guava, taro, black sugar, blueberry, mango and lychee) to match whatever yogurt flavor you choose. The combinations ar endless. It's probably easier for locals to get the concept, since it's quite similar to picking and choosing your sweet toppings on shaved ice, which also comes in a plethora of colorful shapes and sizes.

If you've never had Pinkberry, the whole phenomenon came from the frozen yogurt being tart and sweet, rather than just overly sweet. Being a "healthy" dessert with fresh fruits, Pinkberry was even nicknamed "Crackberry" for its addictiveness. From that sprung entrepreneurial copycats with a twist, such as Yogurtland, which provided "pay as you weigh" and self service with 8-12 flavors of froyo to choose from. YoFroYo borrows a few elements from each and makes it own hopes of an Asian franchise- a shiny and hip plastic white and silver decor, a range of six tart to sweet yogurt flavors that can appeal to all ages and tastebuds, and putting an Asian influenced spin to it.

And it works. I really liked the green tea frozen yogurt with a dash of azuki red beans sample that I had. I liked the soft and squishy bite sized mochis that I tried.

All the choices can be a bit overwhelming and with all the signs to read (thankfully in both English and Chinese), I was a little overwhelmed at what to order.

But they try to make it easy for the newbies by giving you large samples and providing a list of wryly named Froyo creations like Tokyo Reverie, My Blueberry Night, Barbie Doll or Cookie Monster if you can't decide (which maybe would be easier to drool over if there were pictures to look at like Coldstones?)

But maybe most importantly, the portions are sizeable and the prices are great (perhaps a happy result of needing to be competitive with other night market eats and being near a university). A regular at NT$55 is totally shareable with 2 or 3 people, or large at NT$75 if you're really hungry.

And if you're not a fan of the tart or fruit flavored frozen yogurt (they currently have original tart, mango, blueberry, lychee), then you can get chocolate.

They even have a suggestion box for future flavors. I'd put a vote for peanut butter or strawberry, and white chocolate chips or yogurt chips toppings and of course, raspberry or blueberry toppings when they are in season. The founders are from UC San Diego and set on making it So-cal authentic.

As the weather gets hotter and word of mouth spreads, I'm sure we'll see more signs of a Taipei Yogurt War. Maybe you can be the "cool" one in your group to help your friends discover tarty frozen yogurt the next time you're tired of shaved ice.

What do you think? Is Taipei ready for tart froyo? Will you be checking it out?

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EatTravelEat said...

Wow...this looks great! So many different toppings and flavors to choose from, and very clean too. But what I feel is different is that these cups seem very narrow and more tall compared to in LA. Or is it that I have been brainwashed by the huge fat cups that places at Yogurtland provide???

Anonymous said...

awesome! this works for ice cream lovers too, i think, since cold stone and hagen dazs are just so expensive...coldstone is the only place i can get raspberry topping though; most taiwanese dont know what raspberries are!!!

ProtocolSnow said...

I've missed out on the whole fro-yo craze apparently, since the first time I had it was at some random store in the San Gabriel Focus Plaza. I was definitely surprised how tart it tastes. YoFroYo looks amazing, I hope to try it someday.

kirbie said...

Glad to see that they have a good fro-yo place in Taipei now. I'm surprised it took so long! I'm so used to these trends hitting Taipei before hitting the US..

Anonymous said...

This trend was starting to explode on the east coast (US) just as I was leaving to come to Taipei this past January. I started to get addicted to this "healthy" frozen yogurt (even though i'm not sure how healthy it is...better than ice cream at least). This place does it well and I love the variety of toppings they offer! Can't beat fresh mango and kiwi. I hate to admit it but I've already been about 5 times! It is on my walk home from work and hard to resist after a long day of kindy teaching. Anyway-worth checking out for sure!

momo said...

Yay it's open! I've been walking by it everyday on my way to class hoping it would open soon.

It looks so tasty! Hopefully I will get the chance to eat there really soon.

joanh said...

EatTravelEat: I think you're right.. it's slightly taller and narrow.. but they also piled the toppings up a little higher than Pinkberry. The cups at Yogurtland are just TOOO huge!

Carly: true! ice cream here is really expensive. I guess you're right.. probably won't see raspberries or blackberries here. :(

ProtocolSnow: the tartness definitely grows on you..

kirbie: yeah.. i guess there is a lot of competition in the frozen dessert sector with shaved ice and fresh fruits cost more, so it took a few tries to get it right.

Baylym: hi! thanks for writing. i think it's slightly healthier than ice cream, depends on what toppings you get. hahah. is it crowded when you go?

momo: cool! let us know what you think!

Pauline said...

mMmMm!! :)

dennis said...

here in australia we have BerryBliss, which is basically the same type of business. they offer 3 flavours of frozen yoghurt - original, green tea, and mango. a smaller selection of toppings. but their product really is quite delicious.

Michael said...

Next time you go to the Shida Night Market try Evans' Burger. Some of the best burgers in Taipei!!

Eli said...

Is this where that gross frozen yogurt comes from? Ugh. It seems to have made its way to my hometown of Seattle, where I ordered it expecting it to be, you know, frozen yogurt. Instead I got a bowl of sour stuff that tasted like expired frozen yogurt.

I predict this trend won't go far in the US. We like our frozen yogurt to taste more like ice cream :D

Anonymous said...

hey when you have time ... try the new froyo place on zhongxiao e. road... zhongxiao dunhua MRT stop, behind the MingYao department store. It's called Yogurt Art. It's self-serve, priced by weight. I had it yesterday and it was pretty good; i'm curious as to how it compares with the Shida YoFroyo?

ramblingmandarin said...

I wouldn't say it's ever "crowded" when I go but they do have a steady stream of business. There are always a handful if not more people in there. But I try to stay out of that area on a Friday or Saturday night bc it is too crowded so maybe they are busier then.

Thanks so much for this blog! I have lived here for about 7 months and stumbled on your web site in search of some good mexican food. I checked out Yuma which you suggested and had some delicious fajitas! Bayly

Anonymous said...

Eli - I know you are entitled to your own opinion and about tarty frozen yogurt and you may think it to be "gross," but for your information.. The frozen yogurt trend has been huge.. HUGE.. in the US. Give tart flavored frozen yogurt another shot!.. I thought it to be weird the first time I had it about 3 or so years ago.. but now I am in love with it!

Anyway, yofroyo also offers chocolate flavored frozen yogurt which is nontart!--and more traditional for those who do not enjoy a bit of refreshing tart!--and yumyum delicious.

Summer said...

Yummy!! I hope I can try it soon. I wont miss it! haha~

LIN said...

Mmm I'm going there tonight...I've been craving for original tart for so long since I got here!

joanh said...

Pauline: :)

dennis: thanks for commenting! i want to go to australia someday! :)

Michael: I have heard a lot about them! Will definitely have to remember to try them.

Eli: they have sweet flavors too, and actually the trend has already exploded in the states, or at least in LA.

hellobeebs: hi! thanks for the heads up. yes, I've tried them and they were good, but I didn't get any pics of my yogurt, so i have to go again before I can post about them. LOL. YoFroYo is a better deal but Yogurt Art is self serve.

ramblingmandarin: thanks! I'm glad I could help. Hope to hear from you again.

Anonymous: :) thanks for commenting!

Summer: let us know what you think if you try it!

LIN: did you make it? did you like it?

Maddie said...

Freaking MMMMMMMMMM. I checked this out from this review, and I love it! Chocolate with cookie dough the first time, original with banana and brown sugar mochi the second. I liked the second combination best, but found they seemed to skimp out on the toppings that trip. :/

I'm so glad I'm going to be spending most of my days at the NTNU campus, hehe.

Anonymous said...

They recently launched a new flavor, Acai berry. LOVE IT. It's got more depth of flavor than original tart but isn't as fruity-floral-sweet as blueberry. Goes great with pomegranate mochi!