Mondo Juice: A Place to Find Great-Tasting and Genuinely Healthy Smoothies!

I’m a fruit lover. Not only do I eat most kinds of fruits, I also enjoy having them on top of pastries and in beverages. Ask me what I’d like to drink and I’ll choose something made of fruit rather than go for a soda because I believe that taking care of our bodies includes watching what we eat.

Recently, some of my friends and I visited the Mondo Juice branch in SM Megamall. It was my first time to try their smoothies and I was very glad I did! We even got to chat with one of its owners, Mr. Jonathan Kui, who gave out a lot of fascinating tips and trivia about their products. Here’s sharing some of the things I learned …

10 Reasons why you should also try (and love!) Mondo Juice:

1. The smoothies are made with PURE FRUIT – “We don’t add stuff that’s not supposed to be in there,” revealed Mr. Kui. “If you look at the stickers on your cups, there's an ingredients list like mangoes, strawberries, nectar, or cranberry juice. Whatever we put in the sticker, that’s it. We don’t add anything, we don’t disguise anything.”

Trivia: A Mondo Juice smoothie packs at least 1/3 pound of fruit in each cup and offers a rainbow of fruits spanning the spectrum from mangoes, oranges, pineapples, and bananas, to strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cantaloupes, and watermelons. Oh, and don’t forget to read the stickers on your cup! You’ll find them very informative as well as entertaining.

2. The fruits come only from PRE-APPROVED FARMS – Mondo Juice is very strict when it comes to quality control. They ask farms abroad to send them a fruit’s chemical analysis that tells them what variety it is, how sweet it is, what’s the size, the color, the nutrients, even the things inside the soil. “For example, in strawberries, there’s a special bacteria that’s needed in the soil to get it extra sweet,” illustrated Mr. Kui.

When the analysis passes the requirements, Mondo Juice would approve shipment. “When the shipment gets here, we have a machine to confirm if everything’s okay. For example, we order 100 cases. If 3 cases failed, we send it back. We only had that happen once with raspberries,” he recalled. “Ever since they realized that we will actually send the stuff back, they’ve been a lot careful. That’s the reason why we can make the stuff without added sugar or syrup – because we’re strict about it. For the local stuff, we go to the farms straight, and then we get a middleman to ensure quality.”

Trivia: There are over 200 varieties of strawberries. “Baguio strawberries are for decoration. The reason is, it doesn’t get cold enough here. Strawberries are very picky. It has to be cold, for example, at day 20 all the way to the end. Baguio isn’t cold enough,” explained Mr. Kui. “Among the 200 varieties, we [at Mondo Juice] can only use 10 kinds. Most of them are used for baking and, even then, you can only use 15 kinds. The fresh ones, the really good ones you eat, there’s only 6. So it’s not like ‘Oh it’s a strawberry, I’m gonna eat it.’ Some of them are good for pies, for syrups, for puree. So it’s not simply getting a strawberry and putting it in a blender. We have to study the genus, we have to study everything.”

3. Mondo Juice uses IQF (or Individually Quick Frozen) FRUITS – “We don’t use fresh because fresh is not [good enough],” Mr. Kui pointed out and further explained that mango, for instance, matures in 120 days and that it takes time to get to the supermarket from wherever farm it came from say Zambales or Guimaras. “So what the farmers will do is that at 110 days, they will pick the mango then put it in a container, or jeep, or bus. They would spray chemicals on them to force the mango to ripen. Then, when it gets to the supermarket, they will store it for 3 days before putting it on display,” he enumerates. “By the time you actually get your ‘fresh’ mango, at least 20 people have touched it and it has been squeezed and prodded and everything else.”

With IQF, fruit is instantly frozen. Mondo Juice instructs farmers to allow the fruits to tree ripen. “So we only select farms that are 10 minutes away from our facilities. [After] they pick the fruit, they send it to the facility [and] the facility would then process the fruits. By process, we mean peel and cut. Then it goes onto this conveyer belt and liquid nitrogen would spray out and freeze [the fruits] just like that,” portrayed Mr. Kui. “The reason why we use liquid nitrogen is because fruit has to freeze at the fastest way possible to ensure the quality and the taste doesn’t disappear. When the fruit it mature, it tastes a lot better.”

Trivia: A normal home freezer would take 4 hours to freeze a mango cheek. Commercial freezers would freeze it in 2 hours. An IQF machine would only take one second. Additionally, fruits at Mondo Juice are carefully monitored using sensors and the freezers are checked twice as often as a normal freezer.

4. The smoothies HAVE NO ADDED SUGAR – Mr. Kui described that part of the reason why they serve the smoothies in clear cups is that they want to show off the color. “If you add things like sugar or syrup, it dulls the color because sugar has a grayish tint and produces muddy shades of yellow, orange, purple, or red. Ours don’t have that. We don’t use syrups, stabilizers, binders, emulsifiers or any artificial sweeteners.”

“One of the ways you’ll know we don’t add sugar is if you taste the different flavors, there are varying degrees of tartness. For example, Blushing Mango will be a bit more tart than, let’s say, Blueberry Bonanza or Midnight Mango will have a different kind of sweetness than Blueberry Bonanza,” compared Mr. Kui. “The reason is [each smoothie’s taste] completely relies on the sweetness of the fruit and the sweetness of a blueberry is different from the sweetness of a blackberry. Because blackberry has lycopene and lycopene, when it reacts with the sugar in the blackberry, it creates a different taste altogether. That’s also why it’s different colors. The colors have to do with the enzymes inside [each fruit] and affect the overall taste. If we put syrup, they’ll all taste the same because, what happens is, the backbone [becomes] the syrup.”

Trivia: A smoothie is basically 75% fruit plus any kind of liquid like milk, water, or juice. If you put additional syrup, it becomes a shake.

5. Mondo Juice has a special technique in making PERFECT SMOOTHIES – “We have what we call a 10 second swirl which will tell us when the smoothies are perfectly blended,” said Mr. Kui. A good smoothie should not be runny (too watery) or chunky (pours out in clumps) but instead should ‘build’ or ‘mound’ when being poured. “Then we’ll know the fibers are still intact.” In addition, “Every single smoothie has a different blending time. Again, it has to do with the temperature, the handling, if it’s sitting out for 30 seconds, it will blend different from something that’s freshly out of the freezer. We blend them straight frozen. No thawing.”

Trivia: The difference between the smoothie and the chunky is only 3 seconds while with a smoothie and a runny, 2 seconds. “So it actually takes a month to learn to get it properly. It’s not as simple as sticking fruits in a blender,” claimed Mr. Kui whose staff members are trained for two months to ensure that they serve only velvety, properly blended smoothies.

6. Mondo Juice smoothies are GENUINELY HEALTHY – In fact, there are special blends and boosters that improve strength and vigor. For example, the Proteinzone is an appetizing concoction of raspberries, bananas, nectar, cranberry juice, and soy protein that helps repair muscles, especially after an intense workout. Power Up, on the other hand, is a brew made of strawberries, pineapple, nectar, and orange juice to perk up the senses and protect against sickness. And then there’s Detox, which my hubby ordered and which I also tried and enjoyed because it is loaded with mangoes, pineapples, nectar, and orange juice. This is as tasty as you can get to flushing out toxins and cleansing the body!

Aside from smoothies, you can also buy fresh-pressed juices from Mondo Juice that combine the goodness of fruit with a medley of vegetables including carrots, sugar beets, spinach, and green pepper. Also available is wheatgrass juice which is rich in anti-oxidants that help increase the number of red blood cells, lower blood pressure, and protect the body from health risks, including cancer.

Trivia: Blackberries and raspberries have thick skins that are impossible to peel but the skins are actually the healthiest parts of the fruit. Have some of the healthiest drinks by ordering the Raspberry Rush, Blushing Mango, or the Berry Blitz. They’re the nicest smoothies with berry skins that you can get. I already tried the Berry Blitz and loved the texture, the color, and the taste!

7. There are NO FLAVOR MIX-UPS at Mondo Juice – Staff members wash each blender jar with purified, sterilized water after every use to ensure that a mango-pineapple smoothie won’t taste like blueberry. “What if you have a strawberry allergy and we made a strawberry smoothie before you ordered?” asked Mr. Kui. “If we use the same jar without washing it, we just killed you. So we’re very strict.”

Trivia: The SM Megamall branch has 30 jars to ensure that customers are not kept waiting very long for their smoothies.

8. Mondo Juice smoothies are MOM- AND KID-APPROVED – I brought two of my boys to Mondo Juice last Sunday after watching a movie in Megamall. The friendly staff made us try small servings of Blueberry Bonanza which Son #2 ordered in mondo size. Son #4, who loves everything with bananas, naturally ordered Banana Mama also in mondo size. (Boys are so expensive to maintain!) Forever strawberry lover that I am, I got myself the Quench which has strawberries, watermelon, cranberry juice, and nectar in solo size. What a refreshing drink on a hot afternoon! My kids and I took sips out of each other’s cup and liked each and every variant. After we left the store, they had me promise to bring them back there again which made me wish Mondo Juice would have a branch in Alabang soon!

9. They serve delicious BREADS AND DESSERTS there too! – Of course, snacking is more fun when you have something to eat while having a cup of marvelous smoothie. Choose from various tummy-filling snacks, jello, cookies, and sandwiches made with all-natural ingredients which include grilled chicken breast, capicolla ham, and smoked turkey breast served on a bed of fresh vegetables.

Trivia: Mondo Juice bakes its own breads to ensure that there will be no preservatives or chemicals in them.

10. You will definitely COME BACK FOR MORE – Since Mondo Juice has so many items on their menu, I want to try them all because I honestly like everything there that I’ve tried so far. I’ve tasted shakes and smoothies from other stores before and there were times I regretted ordering some of them because they tasted really bad. You can’t even distinguish the individual fruit flavors anymore because the concoctions were either too sweet or too sour. Mondo Juice smoothies are able to balance the sweet and sour tastes so well and the flavors are so lip-smacking, I always find myself draining each cup to the last drop.

By the way, the store's name came from the Italian word “mondo” which means world. Mr. Kui told us that it had to do with the fact that it took them a year and half to prepare for the store’s opening because they really went around the world to try all the brands there are and make sure that Mondo Juice would taste better. I have to agree. This store is where the freshest and most delicious smoothies can be found!

Love to drop by for some healthy sips? Visit Mondo Juice in SM Megamall, Robinsons Galleria, and Alimall Cubao, like their Facebook page and follow @mondojuice on Twitter.

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