Nothing is worse than giving the cashier your order and then hearing them repeat it, only to realize you pronounced the name wrong. Like, how embarrassing is that? You can't help but just smile and try not to turn beet red while they hand you back your credit card and you slowly start walking away, vowing that you won't ever show your face there again. 

But what about when you go to that trendy smoothie bar and order an açaí bowl? You know you're going to want to go back, because it's just that good. So, how do you pronounce açaí? Do you walk up with confidence and say the first thing in your head or do you awkwardly start to say a mix of five variations of it and top it off with "yeah, that one!" 

Whether you're the person who owns it or waits for the cashier to say it for you, I'm here to get to the bottom of this debate and explain once and for all how to pronounce açaí. 

But first, what even is açaí?

milk, chocolate, milkshake, cream, ice
Olivia Heuiyoung Park

Açaí is a deep purple fruit that is grown in tropical Central and South America. It can be found growing on palm trees and is a vital source of nutrients for the indigenous people of the Amazon. 

It has become more popular in the United States within the past few years. Açaí can be used as a juice, powder, or even in tablet form. It is most commonly used as a juice base for smoothie bowls topped with fresh cut fruit or just smoothies in general.  

#SpoonTip: Check out this article to see where to get the best açaí bowl in every state.

So, how the heck do you pronounce açaí? 

wheat, nut, milk, sweet, corn, granola, muesli, cereal
Nikki D'Ambrosio

Is it "ah-sigh-ee," "ah-sai," or "ah-kai?" I think the only part everyone can agree on is that it starts with "ah." But that isn't going to help you when you go up to order and super cute Tom is working, now is it?  

The Cambridge Dictionary offers two ways of saying açaí, but like other words (i.e. soda) it's going to depend on where you are from and where you put the emphasis on letters. It seems that the UK tends to pronounce açaí with more of a higher "ah" sound while the US elongates the sound of the letter "a" to come out as "aa."  

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, you should pronounce açaí as "AH-sigh-EE."

How do you pronounce açaí the next time you order it?

vegetable
Taylor Berlinsky

There is no right or wrong way on how to pronounce açaí. Just like how you can say soda or pop or how some people pronounce "roof" as "ruff" (but I think that's just plain weird). This goes along the lines on how the UK writes "favorite" as "favourite." It circles back to where you are from and the different accents you've been exposed to. 

Think of all the other words that people pronounce differently on a weekly basis: caramel, gyro, Nutella, Reese's, and so many more.  

If you want to go along with the majority of açaí lovers, I would recommend pronouncing açaí "AH-sigh-EE." I've ordered my fair share of açaí bowls and have never been corrected after pronouncing it that way, so I think I'm going to stick to it. But, if you feel otherwise, go with your gut. Maybe having super cute Tom correct you won't be a bad thing after all!