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Açaí & Me: The Scoop On My Favorite Bowls

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

Açaí bowls: smooth spherical scoops of blended açaí tinted with the perfect purple pigment. Layers of fresh strawberries, thinly sliced bananas, tiny coconut flakes, and crunchy granola pieces circle the bowl and cushion the soft drizzle of sweet honey. A dash of cinnamon and a sprinkle of chocolate chip flakes top it all off. Absolutely, incredibly, 100% delicious. The first time I indulged in this sweet treat was on my first day of classes at VCU. Intimidated by the plethora of food options on campus, I decided to visit the first place I stumbled upon – Shake Smart. Some may call it a coincidence, but I call it divine timing – after just one spoonful of an açaí bowl, I was sold.

In the hot August sun of first semester, there was nothing I wanted more than to eat an ice-cream-like dessert disguised as breakfast food every morning. I remember telling myself to only eat açaí bowls in warm weather… there was no way I could handle the icy taste in the winter. But, fast forward to mid-February, and I’m standing in the Shake Smart line as snow falls outside with a smile on my face and credit card in hand. 

I have spent countless swipes, dining dollars, and minutes customizing toppings to create my favorite order. However, the aspect I love the most about açaí bowls is their versatility: it isn’t just about substituting peanut butter for blueberries or adding extra chia and almonds to my overfilled bowl. Rather, it is about the protein-filled meal after 6 a.m. gym sessions, the positive reward after finishing my exams, or the late night pick-me-ups after bad days. It’s about talking to one of the workers about her favorite eyeshadow palettes and sending pictures of my aesthetic bowls to family – feeling less homesick after every “Yummy!” or “Good Job Serena!” text message I receive back. It’s about the moment I lost a bet with my friends on the proper pronunciation of “açaí” and found myself walking to Shake Smart two minutes before closing to buy everyone a bowl. Açaí bowls have fit every occasion of mine – from celebratory to reminiscent to motivational. They are there for me during breakfast, lunch, dinner, snow, rain, and shine. 

Most importantly, however, are the people I have shared an açaí meal with – people who I’d talk to for hours on end with in our designated little corner of the food court, remaining seated even after the contents of our bowls were long gone. Our bowls would keep us company as we’d discuss life goals, passions, and hopes – our stomachs and minds more at ease after finishing the last few bites. Some may call açaí bowls my comfort food, but they are so much more than that: they represent perseverance through low moments, rejoicing during high moments, and showing up for myself during all the moments in between. 

Thank you all for joining me on my little açaí bowl journey. Although my credit card balance may disagree, I’m all ears if anyone ever has any bowl recommendations! I hope to see you in the Shake Smart açaí line next ;) 

Serena Goyal is currently a first-year Biology major and Chemistry minor in the Guaranteed Admissions Program for Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University. As a Girl Scout for numerous years and a podcast founder/host, Serena has worked to empower women at local, national, and global levels. She is excited to now join the Editorial team for Her Campus to combine her love of writing and her passion to make a difference. In her free time, Serena enjoys going to the gym, trying new foods, and traveling the world!