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By Nylene Garcia

It’s hard to remember a time when acai bowls were not available on almost every corner in most Southern California cities.

Originally from Brazil, acai was brought to America in the early 2000s by two brothers Ryan and Jeremy Black, and their friend Edmund Nichols. The trio tried acai on their trip and were determined to bring it back. Now, acai bowls are perfect for beach days, as a study snack or just something good to eat.

Here are some must-try places you can find in Orange County and Los Angeles, recommended by students at CSUF.

Protein Lab

Founded in Orange County, Protein Lab only has two locations — Brea and Buena Park. In addition to acai bowls, they also offer pre-workout, smoothies and protein shakes.

The acai bowl is a customer favorite and includes an acai base mixed with strawberries and bananas. Using the same blend of the acai bowl with the addition of peanut butter and chocolate soy milk, the Hermosa is a perfect choice. For fans of tropical flavors, the Laguna offers a tasty blend of acai, banana and pineapple, with added toppings like coconut and raw agave.

You can find the locations at 2500 E. Imperial Hwy, Brea, and 6960 Beach Blvd. Buena Park.

Blue Bowl Superfoods

Founder, Teauge Savitch, thought of creating an acai shop when working overseas for the U.S. Army. He was looking for something energizing, small, fast and healthy.

Blue Bowl acai mix is made out of organic acai, agave nectar, coconut palm nectar and coconut water.

Customers enjoy the customizable bowls and the options for an acai base or a pitaya base. Also, you don’t have to pay extra for toppings!

Blue Bowl Superfoods has seven locations across Southern California and Orange County: Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Long Beach, Orange Circle (Old Towne), Orange (Main St.) and UCSD.

Acai Republic

Acai Republic was founded by Andriano Nasal, a Brazilian native who came to the United States in 2006 to teach Jiu-Jitsu.

“In Brazil, we have a variety of fruits and vegetables available pretty much everywhere and my favorite pre/post-workout meal was always an acai bowl. After a few years in the U.S., I still struggled with finding a fruitful and flavorful acai, so I decided to open my own place and offer the authentic Brazilian acai bowls,” Nasal said.

Customer favorites include the Madly Mango bowl and the build your own acai bowl.

The company has opened up 12 stores across Southern California with two that reside both less than three miles from campus. Locations can be found in Fullerton, Newport Beach, Laguna Niguel, Corona, Huntington Beach, Tustin, Placentia, Torrance, South Corona, Redondo Beach, Wilshire (Los Angeles) and Lake Forest.