Loco moco

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A loco moco plate lunch, with fried saimin (left) and macaroni salad (right)
Hamburger loco moco at Aqua Cafe, Honolulu
Fish loco moco

Loco moco is a meal in the contemporary cuisine of Hawaii. 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, linguiça, teriyaki beef, teriyaki chicken, mahi-mahi, shrimp, oysters, and other meats. Loco Moco is also the name of a Hawaiian-based restaurant chain that serves Hawaiian rice bowl dishes.

History and origin[edit]

The dish is rumored to have been created at either the Lincoln Grill or May's Fountain, two restaurants in Hilo, Hawaii, in the 1940s.[1][2] The most probable origin of the name is that "loco" is a variation of "local", while "moco" was added simply because it rhymed.


The dish is widely popular in Hawaii and now on the menu at many Hawaiian restaurants in the mainland. In keeping with the standards of Japanese cuisine, rice is used as a staple starch, finished off with the hamburger, gravy, and fried eggs to create a dish that does not require the preparation time of bento. Loco moco can be found in various forms on many Pacific islands from Hawaii to Samoa to Guam and Saipan, and is also popular in Japan.

This dish was featured on the "Taste of Hawai'i" episode of Girl Meets Hawai'i, a Travel Channel show hosted by Samantha Brown. The episode features the dish being served at the popular restaurant, Hawaiian Style Cafe, in Waimea together with the plate lunch, another Hawaiian specialty dish.[3]

The loco moco was also featured on a Honolulu-based episode of the Travel Channel show Man v. Food (this episode aired in the show's second season). The host, Adam Richman, tried this dish at the Hukilau Café, located in nearby Laie.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Loco Moco - Cafe 100, Hilo Hawaii". Cafe100.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  2. ^ "Loco Moco Recipe, Loco Moco History, History and Recipe of Hawaiian Loco Moco, Hawaii's Feel Good Food, Hamburger Recipes". Whatscookingamerica.net. Retrieved 2013-03-26. 
  3. ^ Girl Meets Hawaii - Taste of Hawaii (Flash) (Video). YouTube. December 15, 2010. Event occurs at 1:09 et seq. Retrieved January 17, 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Gimla Shortridge, Barbara; Shortridge, James R. (1998), The Taste of American Place: A Reader on Regional and Ethnic Foods, Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 0-8476-8507-1 . A reprint of Kelly's original paper.
  • Kelly, James (1983), "Loco Moco: A Folk Dish in the Making", Social Process in Hawai'i 30: 59–64 .
  • Hawaii Tribune-Herald article written by Gene Tao, staff writer. September 23, 1981 edition.

External links[edit]