Loco Moco from Hawaii

Loco Moco from Hawaii

The very name Loco Moco seems to have been the name of just about anything ranging from a kid’s product to a traditional dance, but not a cuisine! But, very surprisingly, it is one of the very famous dishes that is representative of the place it was first cooked. With a name that sounds like a Mexican food drive-in or a designer brand it would be quite a guess to arrive at the fact that this dish with such a fancy name hails from chain of volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. And yet, those who relish it and love it claim that Loco Moco is a dish that could only have been invented in Hawaii.


Loco Moco is one the very famous dishes of Hawaii and is enjoyed by one and all as a relishing delight. One look at the dish and it looks like the Japanese boxed lunch cuisine but the truth is, it is far easier to make and much quicker to prepare for in that sense. The cuisine seems to have been born out of the “plate-lunch” a relatively recent modern Hawaiian cuisine concept. The Loco Moco has a whole legend attached to its origin! It is believed that the Hawaii islands’ comfort food was brought into being in 1949, when a group of hungry teens arrived at a restaurant named Hilo’s Lincoln Grill and ordered the owner to cook something cheap yet filling. The inventive, creative and experimental owner then supposedly put together white rice with a beef patty and let it float on brown mushroom gravy, and thus, the Loco Moco was invented. As for the fancy name, it is suggested that perhaps Loco was just adopted from a slight informal abbreviation of the word “local” while Moco seems to have been added just for the sake of the rhyming effect it puts on the name.


The dish is very famous with the people of Hawaii and very frequently ordered by the tourists. It features as one of the prime local dishes on the menu at many Hawaiian restaurants that serve local food. Giving it the Japanese-ness, the dish is cooked keeping with the set standards of a Japanese dish where rice is almost always used as the staple food. Loco Moco can be found in various tastes and with various ingredients from Hawaii to Samoa. Quite obviously, it is very popular with the Japanese as well.

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This dish has been popularized in the media through various programmes that have explicitly shown the Loco Moco as a delicacy of Hawaii.  Loco Moco first got a place on the show titled – “Taste of Hawaii” episode of Girl Meets Hawaii. This was a popular show  telecast on the Travel Channel show and was hosted by Samantha Brown. The show’s episode showed the Loco Moco cuisine being served to customers in the Hawaiian Style Cafe in Waimea. the Hawaiian Style Cafe is a very popular restaurant and serves Loco Moco as one of the main dishes famous in and born in Hawaii. The Loco Moco also made a place for itself on another show of the Travel Channel which was based on Honolulu. The show Man v Food in its second season with the host Adam Richman showed the host enjoying the cuisine in the Hukilau Cafe in Laie.


Over the time several variations have crept into the making of this dish. The Loco Moco has begun to be served with chilly, ham,, bacon, teriyaki beef ( a cooking technique of Japan in which foods are grilled with soy sauce, mirin and sugar). The common dolphin fish called mahi-mahi, oysters, shrimps and other varieties of marine animals have also begun to be served. The name has gained so much popularity with local people of Hawaii that today, a very famous and successful local chain of restaurants that runs across Hawaii and serves all the local dishes dear to the people, has been named the Loco Moco chain of restaurants. It is majorly famous for selling most of the rice-bowl dishes which are immensely enjoyed by the people.

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Though the dish has started being sold with quite large variations, many of them have begun to be cooked with two hamburger patties, two eggs, three whole scoops of jasmine rice, onions, fish and mushroom gravy.  The main issue is that these this dish, though very cheap and filling, is also a great source of fat and so the research of the dietitians and scientists reveals a startling figure! When the contribution of fat is observed individually in the main ingredients, the two hamburger patties contain 32 grams fat, two eggs have 10 more grams of fat, and a serving of mushroom gravy has about a gram of fat, all of which when combined together, almost reach the daily recommended limit for fat and thus, label this dish among the World’s Most Fattiest Foods.

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