Powering Up at Makai Açai
I had a chance to visit Hawaii a few months ago and found time to take surfing lessons. Even though I work out every day and consider myself a strong woman, a one-hour surfing session turned me into an old rag doll. I couldn’t help but wonder how those surfers could surf tirelessly all day long. I reckon the secret might be in those small açai smoothie bowls that are served in many cafés throughout Honolulu.
Originally found in the Amazon rainforest, the açai berry, a small dark purple fruit from Brazil, has been hailed as “superfood” for a long time because people believe it is good for their health. With a rich flavor and a hint of dark chocolate and wild berry, this purple berry contains ten times the antioxidant concentration of blueberries, and has plenty of omega-3, 6 and 9. Research shows the fruit helps heal exercise-induced muscle injuries, promotes heart health, and optimizes cholesterol levels for people of all ages.
After trying a bowl of açai smoothie in Hawaii, I was completely hooked on it and even yearning for more. To my amazement, I’ve found a place serving just that here in Bangkok.
“MAKAI AÇAI & Superfood Bar” maintains a variety of açai menus. Owners, Marcus and Bang (they preferred to be called by their nicknames), have been friends since high school days. While living in Hawaii for many years, Marcus learned about açai on the menus all over Waikiki beach and through an introduction from his Brazilian roommates. Once back in Thailand, he in turn introduced the açai berry to his friends, and hence the beginning of MAKAI AÇAI & Superfood Bar.
“Our aim is to bring new products into Thailand, and it was good that we started with açai as it was something new and not so many people knew about it,” said Marcus. “I think people would like it because it tastes good and it’s very healthy.”
Having set up an import company, Marcus and Bang initially started importing frozen açai berries and sold them to restaurants and cafés in Bangkok. After the word spread, they decided to open their very first shop on Soi Prasarn Mit (Sukhumvit Soi 23). On the back of rapid business expansion, a new branch opened its doors on Silom Connect at BTS Chong Nonsi station (exit 4).
“We have a totally different character, and each brought in something different into this business, but one thing we have in common is that we make sure we bring all the fun into this shop,” Bang said, referring to his partnership with his friend. “Whenever we have a business meeting, it’s more like hanging out with friends, and we’ve portrayed that vibe into the shop, too.”
Makai is Hawaiian for “by the sea” or “towards the sea”, so at this cozy smoothie bar, there is a big surfboard welcoming guests on arrival right up front. Aiming to bring Hawaii’s casual beach vibe to the city, the bar is set in a chilled-out atmosphere with well-polished concrete walls, wooden counters, and a scattering of tropical trees, which altogether adds to the venue’s sense of fun.
The menus here show the owners’ sense of humor. On the signature menu are items like “Tickle My Berries Bowl”, an açai smoothie (served in a coconut bowl) that perfectly blends sweet and sour tastes and comes topped with strawberries, blueberries, goji berries and crunchy homemade granola. For something a little bit creamier, try “Butter My Coco-Nuts Bowl”, which is an açai smoothie topped with peanut butter, banana, and guarana. They also add cocoa, strawberry, and
blueberry to balance the taste.
Customers who are on the adventurous side can customize their bowl by choosing the original blend of açai, banana, blueberry and strawberry and selecting any toppings to their liking to add in the mix. Besides the bowls, you can also order a smoothie to go. Try the “Pop Eye Smoothie” that comes with chia seeds, which will definitely kick off your day with a boost.
AKAI AÇAI & Superfood Bar
64 Soi Prasarn Mit, Sukhumvit 23