The rise of health oriented eateries in Bangkok food scene has made superfoods more familiar to the locals now than ever
One of the more unfamiliar names in smoothie bowl and menu, açaí, is widely used as a base. Before ending up as smoothie, this ingredient can come in the form of powder or whole berry freeze-dried to maintain intact nutrients. It originally comes from palm trees native to Brazil and Peru. Its small round fruit or berry has dark purple to almost black colour and a kernel in the middle surrounded by the flesh (drupe). Although the preparation and recipe can differ depending on the location, açaí bowl or açaí na tigela is a Brazilian dish made of frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit served as a smoothie in a bowl topped with a variety of fruits, nuts and seeds, and granola or in a glass pure or blended with other fruits and vegetables. It is typical along the coast, beach kiosks, and juice bars.
Açaí is titled superfood due to its rich antioxidants, fibre, and heart-healthy fats content meaning it is a nutrient-rich food that promotes health and well-being. While side effects of overconsumption and disease prevention are debatable, it still has more antioxidants than most berries. The fair amount of fibre in one serving of açaí is about the same as carbohydrate and fat although compared to other fruits such as bananas and mangoes, it might contain less carbohydrate. The type of fatty acids found is also known to support low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol decrease in arteries and at the same time boost high-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol that benefits the heart in a long term. Apart from having high Vitamin C content, it can help regenerate energy and strength as a post-workout and guilt-free rejuvenating snack.
The taste of açaí berries, especially when puréed, is naturally sweet and mildly acidic with a hint of red wine and brine and a slight dark chocolate aftertaste. Classic recipes are vegan and gluten-free. The traditional açaí smoothie base consists of three ingredients: açaí, bananas and water or juice to enhance its texture and thickness. The toppings vary according to one’s preference. Places dedicated to açaí bowls and smoothies in Bangkok include Açaí Story The Superfood Café, MAKAI Açaí & Superfood Bar, and Snooze Atlas.