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Ali Carte
Ali Carte

Staying True to Acai

By Ali Resich
December 23, 2012

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Even though you probably already have a favorite spot for acai bowls, you have to trust me when I say that you’ve never had one like the bowls offered at Tropical Tribe, one of the latest food trucks to hit Honolulu’s streets. With a clear mission to introduce Hawaii to an authentic, Brazilian acai experience, owner Andre Alves de Moraes skillfully crafts the purest blend of this “super berry” around.

“The first time I came to America, I visited Florida about 10 years ago,” says Alves de Moraes, who is originally from Sao Paulo, Brazil. “I had an acai bowl and realized how different it was from the acai we have in Brazil.”

According to Alves de Moraes, American versions of the popular fruit dish are watered down and clouded with other ingredients that not only mask the taste of pure acai, but also diminish its plenitude of proteins, vitamins and antioxidants. After moving to Hawaii in 2010, the owner researched how to offer traditional acai bowls in the Islands, a process that eventually led him to open his food truck on Kapiolani Boulevard this past summer.

Tropical Tribe’s menu presents the most refreshing of smoothies, drinks and bowls made from healthy ingredients imported directly from Brazil.

If there’s one dish you have to try, it’s the acai explosion known as a Tropical Tribe Bowl ($8, regular; $9.50, large). Based on traditional preparations cultivated in the Amazon region of Brazil, this bowl features a simple fruit base: Slightly bitter acai is mixed with sweet guarana — another Brazilian superfruit — for a perfectly balanced flavor only nature could come up with.

“The original recipe is basically just acai and guarana — nothing else. I don’t even mix ice,” explains Alves de Moraes. “It’s a very, very pure blend.”

As a result, each serving is a bona fide feast of acai flavor, mirrored in the unaltered, deep-purple color of the blended berries. Once bedazzled with a harmonious combination of strawberries, blueberries, bananas, honey and locally made granola, this dish is genuinely amazing!

“Tropical Tribe is the only place in Hawaii that follows the original recipe,” says Alves de Moraes. “As soon as people started tasting the acai, they fell in love. I have a lot of really loyal customers, and it’s growing.”

Tropical Tribe

1637 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu (across from 24-hour fitness)
Monday-Thursday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Fridays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Closed Sundays