Loco Moco, A Traditional Hawaiian Breakfast Recipe
You don't have to be in Hawaii to enjoy loco moco for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!
Call me crazy, but I love loco moco!
Loco moco is the name of a popular breakfast meal served in restaurants in the state of Hawaii. It's a true breakfast in a bowl, a meal high in protein, perfect for storing up energy before hitting the surf (or school, or even the office)!
I'm not a surfer, but I know a thing or two about breakfast - and this is definitely an unusual breakfast food, at least in all places besides Hawaii. Turns out that back in 1949 a group of guys requested that the owner of their local favorite restaurant in Hilo, Hawaii, create a cheap meal for their breakfast. They requested a bowl of rice with a hamburger on top, covered in gravy and crowned with a fried egg. Their wish was her command and the rest, as they say, is history. The breakfast dish was so crazy they decided to call it "loco." "Moco" made a nice rhyme and loco moco was born.
These days you'll find loco moco on the menu at many eateries in Hawaii and it's as popular as ever. If you can't make it to Hawaii for breakfast, you can do as I do and duplicate the dish at home. My version features brown rice, although the original has the sticky, white variety. If you prefer vegetarian, choose a veggie burger. If you can't do breakfast without ham or bacon, toss them in instead, or use a sausage patty instead of the hamburger. Oh, and don't limit loco moco to breakfast. It makes a great lunch or even a nice, easy supper meal-in-a-bowl.
No matter how you stack it, loco moco is a great-tasting, very filling, totally Hawaiian comfort food meal. I love it!
P.S. We've also included a recipe for Hawaiian macaroni salad, often served alongside loco moco. Don't miss it!
Loco Moco Recipe
Loco Moco, Hawaiian comfort food for breakfast or anytime! This is a good way to use leftover rice or hamburgers. I often plan for it in advance by cooking extra rice or a couple of extra hamburgers a day or two before. When it's time for the Loco Moco, it's quick and easy to heat the leftovers, fry the egg and heat the gravy, then assemble. Vary the ingredients to satisfy your own taste.
- Cook time: 30 min
- Ready in: 30 min
- Yields: 1 (easy to adapt for more hungry people)
- 2 scoops of rice
- 1 hamburger patty
- brown gravy
- 1 fried egg
- sliced green onion for garnish
- Note that the time specified includes time to cook both the rice and the hamburger. If you're using leftover rice, hamburger, or even gravy and those items are already ready to just heat and serve, you can assemble your Loco Moco in mere minutes.
- Scoop the cooked rice into a bowl; top with the cooked hamburger patty. Ladle the gravy over the hamburger. Top with the fried egg (cooked over-easy or to your taste). Garnish with some sliced green onion.
- Serve with a side order of Hawaiian style macaroni salad (recipe below) if you like. Enjoy!
- Variations: Use sausage, ham, even Spam, or maybe a turkey or vegetarian burger instead of the hamburger.
POLL: What do you think about loco moco? - Participate in our poll, please!
What do you think?
February is Hot Breakfast Month
Loco moco is filling and delicious. A perfect choice for a hot, family breakfast!
Kona Coffee from Hawaii to You
Authentic Hawaiian coffee, perfect with your loco moco.
Never Lose Your Loco Moco Recipe. Enjoy your Kona coffee in this great mug!
Serve Macaroni Salad With Your Loco Moco
... if you want to be authentic!
Order a plate lunch of loco moco or anything else in Hawaii and you'll likely get a scoop of Hawaiian-style macaroni salad on the side. I asked my online friend and amazing cook, Smine27, who happens to have grown up in Hawaii, if he knew why macaroni salad is so popular there. He didn't know, but he did some research and came up with this newspaper article from the archives of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that covers the topic well.
What did they find out? While there are many theories, it seems no one has a definitive answer, but it's a great article, well worth a five-minute read, especially if you're interested in Hawaiian culture.
Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad Recipe - . . . to make your plate lunch (or breakfast) complete.
Macaroni salad is a staple with any Hawaiian plate lunch, as well as with loco moco. There isn't anything much simpler than basic Hawaiian-style macaroni salad. In fact, three main ingredients plus a little milk and a shake of salt and pepper will get it done for you in no time.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes
Serves: A family
- Large elbow macaroni - thoroughly cooked
- Shredded carrots - about 1/4 cup
- Mayonnaise - Best Foods or Hellman's - no substitutes - about a cup
- 1/4 cup milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook the macaroni well, drain, then gently stir in the shredded carrots, the milk, and the mayonnaise until well coated. Salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve a scoop of macaroni salad with your loco moco for an authentic Hawaiian breakfast meal.
Loco Moco Facts
Loco moco is a dish native to Hawaiian cuisine. There are many variations, but the essential loco moco consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. Variations may include chili, bacon, ham, Spam, kalua pork, Portuguese sausage, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters, and other meats.
How About a Hawaiian-Style Cookbook for Your Collection? Choose this charming bestseller to broaden your home-cooking horizons.
Family-style dining is back in style and has been re-imagined by one of the most prominent chefs in Hawai‛i, James Beard Award nominee Beverly Gannon.
Down-to-earth recipes with a Pacific, Asian, and Southern flair combine with out-of-this-world location photography for a cookbook that a busy home cook can really use.
Click here to find more cookbooks featuring Hawaiian cuisine
Hawaiian Loco Moco - How did "Loco Moco" get its name? Here's a short video which includes a history of the origin of loco moco and how it's made.
"The kitchen sink of meals"
Have you tried Loco Moco?
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© 2009 Susan Deppner