While on the North Shore of Hawaii I hit up the CrispyGrindz Brazilian food truck as often as possible for Açaí bowls and Pitaya (dragonfruit) bowls. Don’t hate me, above is the view from the deck of our rental house with a CrispyGrindz Pitaya Bowl (on the left) and Acai bowl (on the right). Our place must have been very close to the beach cottage profiled in this Seattle Times article.
Note the fluorescent magenta of the pitaya bowl. That’s the natural color of dragonfruit. The açaí is naturally a dark brownish purple.
Odd color for a fruit, but then açaí is not your typical fruit. It’s in the palm family, so it’s a fruit in the same way that coconut is a fruit. It’s not sweet, in fact it’s a little bitter. It’s often sold mixed with guarana and added sugar to sweeten it. It’s a food mainstay among some Amazonian tribes and has potential health benefits, but is little studied so the benefits remain mostly theoretical. It’s received all kinds of internet hype, but I haven’t been on the açaí train up to now.
My recent binge on açaí and pitaya bowls while in Hawaii, though, has me nostalgically buying Sambazon frozen açaí smoothie packs at my local food co-op. My local Costco has them too, though Costco has the sweetened version while my co-op has the unsweetened packs which I prefer.
I find I need to add a whole banana to sweeten the açaí puree. I also add unsweetened almond milk plus crushed ice, the latter to get a thick enough consistency to make a bowl. A few toppings and I can imagine I’m back on the North Shore.
We’ll see whether I get out to the local Asian grocery store for dragonfruit. I’d love to see that glowing magenta of a pitaya bowl again.
- 2 3.5 oz smoothie packs of frozen açaí berry
- 1 ripe medium size banana (about 6 oz.)
- ½ cup unsweetened almond milk
- 1 cup crushed ice
- Your choice. Granola is pretty standard. Blueberries, strawberries, grated coconut or coconut chips, sliced banana, and chia seeds are possibilities. A light, puffy granola is better on the açaí bowl than a chewier, heavier kind. I usually sprinkle on a handful of granola and ½ to 1 banana's worth of sliced banana, as well as about a teaspoon of chia seed. For an especially Hawaiian touch add macadamia nuts!
- Run the açaí packs under hot water. Hit each pack in two places with the dull back side of a chopping knife to chop it into sections. If you skip these steps it's very hard to get the pack to blend evenly in the blender (it still takes some time and attention to get it blended smoothly).
- Add the banana, açaí chunks, and unsweetened almond milk to the blender. Blend.
- Add the crushed ice and blend again until smooth.