Acai bowls and smoothies

At the market: Every Sunday in the Carpark

Contact: Aurora Lim

Call/text: 021 280 9190 

Instagram: @ohacai_nz

Aurora and Kenny's Story

Aurora Lim and Kenny Chen can often be found on Sunday morning selling their Açaí bowls and superfood smoothies

Where did you grow up?

Kenny: We were both born in Malaysia, but I grew up in Christchurch.

Aurora: I grew up in Malaysia, came here on a working holiday visa and was lucky enough to get a great job and settle down here. I love the lifestyle here - in Malaysia the work culture is intense and bleeds into private time.

How did you both meet?

Kenny: Through friends in Auckland. It was just before Covid, so the lockdown forced us to make some do or die decisions about where our relationship was heading. Luckily, we found that we make a great team. Aurora is a passionate cook and is full of creative ideas, while I take the operations role and keep us focussed on seeing ideas through.

Do you have day jobs as well as your Açaí stall?

Aurora: Yes, Kenny is an acupuncturist with a practice in Remuera. I work for a food supply company that provides a wide range of products to major supermarkets and Asian supermarkets. My day job means that I know where to get the best ingredients and what the latest food trends are.

How did you come up with the idea of Açaí smoothie bowls? 

Kenny: I went to an acupuncture seminar in Melbourne and Aurora tagged along. Aurora is a big planner, so she bumped into Açaí while she was looking for the best food places to eat. She found a “must visit” Açaí place online, visited, and was converted. We tried lots of different Açaí places while we were there - Açaí is very popular in Melbourne but less trendy here.

What exactly is Açaí?

Aurora: It’s a berry native to the Amazon rainforest - the Açaí bowl originated in Brazil. Açaí berries look like blueberries and are often called a superfood because they are rich in antioxidants, omega, and vitamins. They have a big seed with a thin layer of flesh, and it’s highly perishable so it is often sold frozen. We prefer the scoopable form to maximise the taste.   

How do you say that?

Ahh-sigh-ee – It can be a struggle to say when people have not heard it spoken and only read it.

How do you serve the Açaí?

Aurora: For the bowls, we top a scoop Açaí with gluten-free granola, seasonal fruit, and a choice of drizzle for extra creaminess and flavour. We want to cater to most dietary requirements so we opt for gluten-free and vegan ingredients for our menu when we can.

Frozen Açaí sounds cold for this time of year

Aurora: People seem to enjoy our Açaí bowls and smoothies no matter the weather, but we also make porridge for those who want a belly warmer. Slow-cooked oats in plant-based milk, layered with organic Açaí and creamy coconut yogurt, gluten-free granola, and fresh fruits, is popular on chilly mornings. It’s filling, vegan, and dairy-free – but not gluten-free.

What’s next?

Kenny: Aurora has lots of ideas about delicious superfoods but for now we are focussing on introducing people to Açaí. Although we couldn’t resist a couple of tasty matcha drinks – a refreshing soda drink with yuzu, and a creamy matcha latte in plant-based milk.

Do you manage to get any down time?

Kenny: Not much - I manage my own acupuncture practice and am the ambassador of Newmarket chapter of BNI (Business Network Institute) – I used to be the chapter President.

Not much free time for Aurora either - she is doing part-time MBA which keeps her busy with assignments. And she is still a quite a competitive table tennis player but she’s no longer pushing herself as much as when she was an Auckland region rep, in the top 10 in New Zealand.

We know that we need a bit more time off that movie nights, so we are trying to have one weekend a month off our markets.

As published in Ponsonby News : July 2024