Nothing is more unique and iconic than Hawaiian Barbecue. If you have had it, you know what to expect. If you haven’t, you probably wouldn’t recognize it as Barbecue.
To understand what the Hawaiian locals call “the plate lunch,” you have to know the multicultural community known as the State of Hawaii. It is a region consisting of both indigenous Hawaiians, mainland Americans, and Asians. From Poki to Katsu Chicken to Cheese Burgers, Hawaiian Barbecue represents a wide landscape of cultures. The plate lunch it self feels like a merger of different groups through regular formula. This formula is always the same: two scoops of white rice, one scoop of macaroni salad, and one entree.
Entrees include one of the following: Hawaiian BBQ Chicken,Hawaiian BBQ Beef, Hawaiian BBQ Pork, Grilled Chicken Teriyaki, Grilled Beef Teriyaki, Chicken Katsu, Beef Katsu,Kalbi, and Loco Moco.
Katsu Chicken are chicken cutlets, bread and fried, common in Japanese menus and adopted by Hawaii. Kalbi is grilled short ribs, Korean style, that also have been adsorb into the diet Hawaiian locals. And of course, there is the Loco Moco.
The traditional island Loco Moco consists of white rice topped with two hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. The general understanding is that is was created originally in 1949 by the Lincoln Grill restaurant chain in Hilo, Hawaii.
The basic story told is that Richard and Nancy Inouye cooked it up when teenagers asked Nancy to put some rice in a bowl, a hamburger patty over the rice, and then top it with brown gravy. It was a big hit. The couple added it to the menu and later added fried egg to its ingredients.
In recent years, this style of barbecue has spread around the mainland United States as its popularity grew.
In terms of barbecue, it’s a simple shift in side dishes. You can grill whatever you want and serve it with rice and macaroni salad. You could even turn your Loco Moco into a burger. Not a bad idea though probably a little messy.