Remember the song do the locomotion with me?
Well, this ain’t it!
I’m talking about Hawaii here folks.
And a old type Diner dish from about 1949!!!
I know, 1949….this is really an old recipe.
Grab a cuppa what ever and I have a story to tell.
Not my story mind you, but a legend type story from the Island of Oahu….Honolulu in particular.
(Please forgive my IPhone photos, I am having issues with my camera.)
We will start with the name Loco Moco!
Loco Moco (loh-koo moh-koo) is Hawaii’s original homemade fast food and can be found at just about any fast food joint, roadside diner, mom and pop restaurant or lunch wagon in the Islands.
This dish is truly unique to Hawaii, and it is a comfort food, or “local grind,” of the Hawaiian Islands.
Local food is not the cuisine that is served in upscale hotels and restaurants of Hawaii.
It is a basic structure was established soon after World War II – the best fast food or mixture of cuisines from many Pacific rim countries, with a special Hawaiian twist.
Loco Moco is meal consisting of white, sticky rice topped with a hamburger patty, a generous amount of brown, spicy gravy and an egg, usually a Sunnyside-up egg.
There is a unique way of eating this all-in-one-meal, other than eating each food separately.
The Hawaiians suggest that as you eat a bite of egg, you then blend a bite of hamburger, egg, rice, and gravy on your fork together and this will provide you with a taste of paradise.
Hmmmmmm…I don’t know about that, but I do know that it is good and tasty.
I have found the egg does not have to be sunny side up, if you prefer your egg cooked a little bit more, which is the way I like an egg fried.
As with most foods, there are many people who claim to have invented the Loco Moco.
Most agree that it was around 1949 and it was either the Cafe 100 Diner or the Lincoln Grill Diner.
According to the story, the one dish meal was created for teenagers who wanted something different from typical American fare and less time-consuming than Asian food to eat for breakfast.
The nickname of the first boy to eat this one dish meal was Loco.
Moco rhymed with loco and sounded great, so Loco Moco became the name of the dish, which is similar (with the exception of the egg) to the more common hot beef sandwich of the mainland Diners.
According to John Penisten :
“Rudy Legaspi, former member and unofficial historian of the Tropi-Ties (also recently retired Executive Assistant to the Mayor of Hawaii County and admitted loco-moco fanatic) says “The loco-moco had its origins with the Lincoln Wreckers Athletic Club, an informal organization for local teenagers, in the late 1940’s. The group used to hang-out at the Lincoln Grill Restaurant across the street from Lincoln Park in downtown Hilo.
The Lincoln Wreckers, who played in the local “bare-foot” football league of the time, had some success on the field, but its main claim to fame was their creation of the loco-moco. The popular local dish has become a staple on restaurant menus throughout the islands and is a recognized cultural cuisine icon, as much as a taco is to Mexican fare or a pizza to Italian fare.
The loco moco story began in 1949, after Richard and Nancy Inouye opened the Lincoln Grill Restaurant. The teens used to hang-out at the eatery, playing the pin-ball machines, cards, dropping nickels in the Wurlitzer jukebox and constantly feeding their hungry appetites. And in those days, when teens didn’t have much money in their pockets, the standard fare was a bowl of saimin noodles or a hamburger, things which didn’t quite fill the always hungry teens. So the club devised a plan to ask the Inouyes to create a special dish just for them, something filling and affordable. For the task, the Wreckers nominated a guy nicknamed “Crazy” for his wild and madcap play on the football field. “Crazy” approached the Inouyes with the club’s request and the rest is history.”
Regardless of who invented this dish, it is so good and the gravy variations include mushroom gravy which makes the dish sort of a smothered hamburger steak….with egg.
To put the dish together is easy.
Make sticky rice and set aside.
Make hamburger patties with chopped onion and fry in a skillet.
Meanwhile, add chicken stock to a sauce pan, add the spices and bring to a boil. Thicken with a cornstarch roux.
(Or you can make the gravy from the drippings in the skillet used to fry the hamburger patties).
Fry the eggs in the same skillet (before the gravy making) or fry them in separate skillet.
Assemble by placing a helping of white rice in a large bowl, top with one (or two) hamburger patties and a ladle or two of gravy.
Slip the egg(s) onto the gravy meal and serve.
Printable Recipe Below.
Have you ever been to Hawaii and tasted the Loco Moco?
There are signs advertising this Hawaiian delicacy in and about Hawaii….you can’t miss them.
Folks, this might be an alternative to left over turkey.
I am going to try to get my camera photos edited and substituted for the IPhone photos in this post…but until then, no your eyes are ok, it is my photos that are blurry. LOL
Hugs and Blessings.
- White Rice
- 1/2 # ground beef
- finely chopped onion
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger,
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp tomato puree
- 1/8 cup of chili oil (optional but really so good)
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs, runny yolk preferred but anyway you like it will work.
- Make sticky rice of your choice, add a lid and set aside.
- Mix finely chopped onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper into the ground beef and form patties, then begin frying in heavy skillet until desired doneness (no pink showing)
- Meanwhile, add chicken broth to sauce pan and bring to a boil.
- Add ginger, garlic, tomato puree and chili oil and worcestershire sauce
- After boiling for about 3 minutes, make a roux of cold water and cornstarch (thickener) and thicken gravy to desired constancy
- salt and pepper to taste and keep on low heat
- Meanwhile fry egg to desired doneness
- Assemble by placing a serving of white rice in large bowl or plate
- Top with hamburger pattie(s)
- Add ladle of gravy over the top of hamburger and rice
- Finally, add egg(s) to the top of the hamburgers and serve
- Hawaiians suggest placing a piece of egg on fork, followed by piece of hamburger and scoop of rice and gravy for optimum flavor.