THE 5 Most ‘Onolicious’ Açaí Bowls in Hawaii

11 July 2016

Aloha!

Hawaii is a land filled with pristine tropical terrain and boasts a nonstop growing season, meaning fresh fruit and vegetables are always on the menu! One of the many onolicious (a colloquial Hawaiian word meaning delicious) recipes that has come to be a staple in the Hawaiian diet is the açaí bowl (pronounced “ah-sah-ee”).

Driving along Kamehameha Highway on Oahu’s North Shore, it’s difficult to drive past without stopping at all of the small private honour system stalls and crates filled with fresh avocados, bananas, macadamia nuts and papayas. It's no wonder the açaí bowl, which is traditionally stacked with fruit and granola, caught on with the Hawaiian people.

 The definition of Onolicious. Image: Haleiwa Bowls.

 

Despite being a common meal in Hawaii, the açaí bowl was created by the Brazilians where the açaí berry has been a staple in the diet of the Ribeirinhos (river people) for thousands of years. The berry grows much like a weed through thousands of hectares of the Amazon River delta and was only in recent history imported.

But wait, what’s actually IN the antioxidant dense super-food?

Usually the base is made up of either frozen açaí or açaí powder pureed with banana and strawberries, topped with as much chopped berries, granola, shredded coconut and honey that will fit on top. The pro tip however is to ‘duke it up’ with fresh peanut butter. Yum!

Now for the inside scoop; where is THE best açaí bowl in Hawaii? See below for our top picks to enjoy on your Hawaiian holiday:

1. Waialua Bakery & Juice Bar

 Waialua Bakery's bright and happy signage shows off the atmosphere inside. Image: Waialua Bakery.

 

Hands down, this is it. The best açaí bowl in Hawaii. Maybe in the world! It’s a big call but this little bakery has the bananas to back it up. In this family-run cafe, aloha vibes are aplenty and that comes through in the food. Bonus points for a Kelly Slater sighting if you’re there during the Billabong Pipe Masters surf competition, both of which happened while this writer was there in December.
66-200 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

2. Haleiwa Bowls

 Who wouldn't want to order their acai bowl from a roadside grass shack? Image: Haleiwa Bowls.

 

This little grass shack (yes, it is really a grass shack) serves up some serious bowls and is conveniently located across the street from the famous Matsumotos Shave Ice. Kill two birds with one stone and hit up both places to get a serious dose of traditional Hawaiian fare.
66-082 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

3. Lanikai Juice Haleiwa

 Mmmm bucket sized bowls at Lanikai Juice. Image: Yelp.

 

Don’t be put off by the slight fast food vibes emanating from the yellow walls of this spot. Lanikai Juice is the place to go when you’re starving and looking for the biggest açaí bowl a small amount of money can buy. Don’t forget to ask for peanut butter but beware, it’ll be a nice fat scoop of the delicious stuff.
66-215 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712

4. Diamond Head Cove Health Bar

Now before you decide to hike up Diamond Head, make sure you stop in here and fuel up big time. You’re going to need all the antioxidants and energy you can get for that climb. Health Bar is on the list of every açaíi bowl aficionado hanging out on the south side of Oahu. Local honey and cinnamon-infused granola combined with the old school black and white surf posters on the walls also make this a top spot. 3045 Monsarrat Ave #5, Honolulu, HI 96815

5. Tropical Tribe

 Tropical Tribe's bee pollen speckled 'Tropical Topping'. Image: Oahu Star Advertiser.

 

If you’re waking up in the heart of Waikiki, this should be your first pit stop of the day. Be sure to get the ‘Tropical Topping’ on your bowl, it comes complete with organic granola, banana, strawberry, blueberry, raw organic honey and wait for it...bee pollen. Mmm onolicious. Suite 101, 1778 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI 96815

Fun Fact:

The word "ono" (with the okina) in the Hawaiian language means "delicious", with "onolicious" being the colloquial joining of the two words by Hawaiians to describe especially top notch grub.

 

  Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick ✔️ #acaibowl #acai #Hawaii #granola #waialuabakery #northshore #shaveice #waimeabay #sunset   A photo posted by Sam A Aldenton (@samaaldenton) on


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Sam Aldenton

Sam Aldenton is a travel writer, digital content creator (read: takes photos/videos with her iphone and sometimes a real camera) and former retail and youth trend forecaster. When she's not off discovering the world’s best pizza (an obsession picked up from her 4-years in New York), she makes her home in Brisbane, Australia. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram at @samaaldenton.