Where It’s Always Berry Good

Columns Veg'n Out

January 5, 2014

Story By: Andy Beth Miller | Photos by: Nathalie Walker

“Oh-oh-oh it’s magic… you knooooooow!” The catchy tune from the musical group Pilot pops into mind as I begin this week’s interview and am regaled with fascinating stories of ancient Amazon lore, glorious guarana … and acai. Yes, from the tropical forests deep in the heart of South America — to the bustling streets of Oahu — it seems magic berries have been on the move.

Andre Alves de Moraes is the owner of Tropical Tribe, a popular smoothie and acai bowl establishment here in Honolulu. Alves de Moraes began his business from a simple mobile lunch wagon, luring tourists and locals alike with the promise of a personal introduction to two exotic and succulent “super fruits” from paradise. And after hearing more about acai and guarana, I am totally convinced. These berries really may as well don capes and spandex as far as I am concerned, they are so impressive — and that’s no stretch (Armstrong or otherwise).

“We are really the only place that can say we make and offer the real type of acai bowls just like they make them in Brazil,” explains Alves de Moraes. “Also, from Brazil, I bring in such high-quality acai that there is no need for additives or other non-natural ingredients for the smoothies and bowls like companies with lesser quality acai use.”

Acai, chock full of immunity-aiding antioxidants, is also known to prevent against aging and to promote cell growth. Guarana is a superfood in its own right, being a natural energy booster. Once people discovered the dynamic flavors and huge health benefits of these berries, business began booming for Tropical Tribe — prompting it to roll on down the road (OK, not literally) to a storefront in Discovery Bay Center.

“The truck was reaching its capacity,” explains Alves de Moraes. “We also needed a storefront where it was easier to keep a controlled temperature consistently.” And it looks like the move was a smart one — even parking is no problem here, as Tropical Tribe customers receive a special rate: $1 for 30 minutes and 30 minutes of parking is completely free when purchasing $20 or more.

Here are just a few Tropical treats making magic this week:

• Tupi Tribe ($6): A smoothie of acai, Yerba Mate tea and guarana berry extract sure to refresh you after a long day at the beach.

• Tropical Twister ($4.50): A delightful blend of apple juice, honey, strawberry, pineapple, mango and peach — this smoothie satisfies.

• Tropical Bowl with Tropical Topping (regular $9.20): A smooth, cool concoction of blended acai and guarana berry juice perfectly paired with fresh banana, strawberry, blueberry and granola before being drizzled with raw honey then dusted with a layer of bee pollen. “By far our best-seller,” says Alves de Moraes of the dish.

After sampling these refreshing and exotic offerings, that darn Pilot tune continues to trill in my head — because you know what? It is magic. So let’s take a vote: All in favor of a light meal that satisfies without leaving you feeling like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day float — say “aye!” And the final verdict for this tribal council: a unanimous yes — because this cafe is good … berry good.

Contact Andy Beth Miller at diningout@staradvertiser.com

Tropical Tribe

1778 Ala Moana Blvd. Ste. 100, Honolulu
Tuesday-Sunday, 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Honolulu, HI 96815

Hawaii's Best
Hawaii's Best