A South Perth food truck selling a superfood from the Amazon is the only Perth vendor featured in the new Lonely Planet cook book, Around the World in 80 Food Trucks.
The Acai Corner, owned by Maddie Russell and Andrew Moyes, features alongside 11 Australian food trucks including Sydney’s Cantina Movil, Melbourne’s Greek Street Food and Adelaide’s Sneaky Pickle.
The book includes the recipe for The Acai Corner’s best-selling Detox Acai Bowl.
“We are really excited about it,” enthuses Maddie Russell.
“They have done a great job of including a really great mix from around the world.”
Acai is a purple berry, about the size of a blueberry, that grows in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.
Russell and Moyes had been working in Perth in recruitment and market and social research respectively when they decided to pack it all in to go travelling for a year.
“We decided all of our friends were getting married and having kids, so we decided to buy one way tickets to Cuba instead and then just went backpacking around the world,” Russell explains.
“We got to Brazil, fell in love with acai, just thought, ‘this is the most amazing thing’ and decided to start a small business off the back of it.”
The couple went from not having any idea how to say acai — it is pronounced ah-sigh-ee — to spending time in the Amazon with harvesters.
The Acai Corner has been operating for 2 1/2 years, initially in Margaret River, and now at the Coode St playground in South Perth, where it opens Tuesday-Sunday from 8-2.30pm.
“We are a seasonal business so we tend to close over winter, or wind down a little bit and we generally trade from September all the way through to June/July, it depends on Perth winters,” Russell says.
“If you come down on a Sunday morning or a Saturday, you will see umbrellas, beanbags and picnic lounges and there are kids running everywhere playing and parents relaxing.
“During the week we see a lot more mothers groups as there is plenty of room for the strollers. It is so cute seeing them eating their healthy acai bowls and the bubs lying on the blankets together.
“We are so proud of the vibe, people are barefoot and happy and it is so Perth.”
The Acai Corner has recently opened a second venue in Welshpool that is proving popular with tradies looking for something healthier than what is served at the average lunch bar. A third outlet is on the cards.
The secret to The Acai Corner’s acia bowls, which are smoothie bowls topped with fresh fruit, homemade granola and healthy topping, is they use what the Brazilians call ‘especial’ — the highest possible grade of acai, with higher doses of antioxidants.
“Out big point of difference at the moment is we are one of the few places that offers it natural as opposed to sweetened,” says Russell.
“A lot of places will add a sweetener into the mix which is fine, some people love that sweetness, that sugary kid of caffeine hit.
“But we are fans of full disclosure, we offer it natural or sweetened on every bowl that we do.”
Lonely Planet spokesperson Chris Zeiher was proud to see Australia punching above its weight in the book.
“The food trucks chosen for the book were nominated by Lonely Planet’s global network of authors, researchers and photographers, who are based in cities from Athens to Zurich. Our publishing team in London then curated the list to ensure there was a good geographical spread of food trucks from around the world, as well as ensuring their chefs were happy to participate and share their signature recipes with readers.”
For more details see theacaicorner.com.au or shop.lonelyplanet.com.