I was in Hong Kong recently for some much needed R&R. The last time I was there was in 2006, so I was eager to check out all the new shopping and dining hotspots that have opened since then. I treated myself to a new Galaxy Tab, bought a few pieces from Lululemon, and had my fill of dim sum, congee, suckling pig, and all the good stuff I love to eat in Hong Kong. But what I’m most excited to share with you today is my discovery of a really superb frozen yogurt shop, with a product line that I haven’t seen anywhere else.
Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar is an upscale frozen yogurt shop with 2 locations in Hong Kong. The one I went to was in K11, a swanky mall in the heart of Tsim Sha Tsui. You will notice that the shop is tiny compared to a typical Yogurtland or Menchie’s location. Unlike most frozen yogurt brands, Smile is not targeting families with young kids or even health conscious consumers. It’s a place for dessert lovers who appreciate indulgent treats presented exquisitely.
They don’t use the same kind of frozen yogurt typically found in self-serve fro yo shops in the United States. Smile’s frozen yogurt is a lot denser, richer, and creamier — very similar in consistency to Greek yogurt. (Incidentally, TCBY is coming out with their own line of Greek-style frozen yogurt next month. I wonder if they have a similar presentation in mind).
As you can see from the photos, Smile’s frozen yogurt is served like sundaes or parfaits. The frozen yogurt is layered between treats like fresh fruit, chocolate, meringue, granola, graham cracker crumbs, and more. Aside from their frozen yogurt creations, Smile also serves dessert cups (tiramisu, panna cotta) and pudding cups, which cater to the local clientele.
The stores are not set-up for self-service; everything is made to order by a staff of 2 people. Since there wasn’t a long line of customers, I got my order in 2 to 3 minutes.
They also sell a variety of packaged goodies like cookies and chocolate.
I visited the shop after dinner on a Thursday evening. Not a lot of toppings left, eh?
The lady in white is working on my order behind the counter.
That’s the menu board hanging on the wall. I really couldn’t decide what to get, so I asked for recommendations from the staff. The girl behind the counter said their bestsellers are Chocolate Lover ($7.60 USD) and Mango Fever ($8.37 USD). These were also the most expensive items on the menu. Most of the other options were priced at $6.15 USD, which I believe is still higher than the average ticket of most self-serve frozen yogurt shops in the US.
Since I only had one opportunity to eat at Smile during my trip, I decided to order the most expensive item on the menu, Mango Fever. It was an excellent choice — probably the most memorable and satisfying frozen yogurt experience I’ve ever had! I enjoyed the thicker consistency of the yogurt; it felt like I was eating a really decadent dessert.
This is Chocolate Lover, the next item on my Must Try list.
Very Healthy Mix
I often complain about the lack of differentiation among the frozen yogurt franchises operating in North America today. Smile’s unique take on frozen yogurt proves that there is room for innovation.
I don’t think Smile is franchising their brand and concept at present, but this may change in the future.
Thank you, Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar, for trying something different with frozen yogurt and for introducing a product that is truly memorable. I will be back.
Smile Yogurt & Dessert Bar Locations
G/F, 65 Lion Rock Road
Kowloon City, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel 2382 6669 Fax 2382 2385
Unit G15A, G/F, K11, 18 Hanoi Road
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong
Tel 2138 6210 Fax 2138 6213