Tony Matsuda and Ku`ulei Hanohano make some of the best acai bowls I’ve ever put in my belly. You can get the bowls by going to their food truck–called Mo Ono Hawai`i–at the Kahului small boat harbor. They have been bringing their truck to this location full time for the last two months, but they started their acai bowl business about four years ago.
“After eating a lot of acai bowls on Oahu, I had a craving for it over here,” says Hanohano. “But no one was selling acai bowls then. The craze hadn’t reached Maui. So we started making them for ourselves at home, trying different recipes.”
Matsuda and Hanohano both graduated from Kamehameha Maui High School, and having recently finished their undergrad at UH Maui College, they decided to devote their time to the truck. Their families pitched in to build out their really cute purple and yellow mobile acai kitchen, and they keep it bedecked with a flower arrangement and signage. There’s definitely a nice girl’s touch here.
“We developed our recipe on taste,” says Hanohano. “Our recipe tasted good to us. A lot of times when you go to get an acai bowl, it just comes with a set amount of toppings. For us, we start with our signature base and customers can choose what they like on top of it. A lot of times other acai bowls have a set mix, we think ours is a bit different, and that is what makes it ono.”
Their signature base ingredients are secret. It’s acai plus some special stuff that makes it good, according to Hanohano. The bowls come in three sizes: small 12-oz ($5), medium 16-oz ($7) or large 24-oz ($10). Then you can choose your topping–banana, strawberry, pineapple, coconut, almonds, granola and honey. You can choose everything if you like. Then you can get add-ons like lilikoi butter and Greek yogurt for a dollar more each. I ask the girls what’s the best, and they said that if you like everything, then you should try it with everything that because that one is the bomb. They were right–delicious down to the last spoonful.
They built up a following making their bowls for events and pop-ups even before they got their mobile truck going. But now that they plan to stay full time in it, there’s no telling how many more Mo’ Ono Acai addicts they will recruit. In face, in order for us to meet I had to come 15 minutes before opening because lately they’ve had lines form as they were setting up. And when I was there, morning traffic was non-stop and began as soon as the window opened.
“That is why our name is Mo’ Ono,” says Hanohano. “Because ono means delicious but it also means to crave something. A lot of times for our customers, they crave it, and we crave it, too. That is our motto. To satisfy your ono, that craving.”
To keep up with their schedules and specials they have a Facebook and Instagram page. You can also call them to order at 808-281-1259.