Ah, the Loco Moco. Take white rice, plop a fried hamburger patty on top (usually well-done), pour brown gravy over everything, and then top it all with a fried egg. What hungry beast designed this dish?
According to the Wiki, "James Kelly, a University of Hawaii-Hilo professor writes that the loco moco dish was created in 1949 by the Inouye family, who owned the Lincoln Grill in Hilo, Hawaii in 1949. A group of boys from the Lincoln Wreckers sports club contributed to its creation."
The story goes that the boys didn't have much money, Nancy Inouye charged only $.25 for this... one of the boys was nicknamed "Crazy" which is "Loco" in Spanish, Moco rhymes with loco, and thus the dish was born. "Moco" means mucus or snot in Spanish, this was supposedly unknown when they named it, "Crazy Mucus."
I don't know if the Lincoln Grill still exists, but the Cafe 100 is now considered my most locals to be the most original and authentic Loco Moco you can get still in Hilo. This is where I had my first Loco Moco and I say that with pride.
You are taking already three of the richest foods: eggs, fried hamburger, and brown gravy - and sopping them all up with rice. When you break the yolk and it melts into the gravy and the rice, the umptiousness is profound. The hamburger adds substance. The entire thing contains virtually no vitamins A, B, C, E, D, or fiber.
At Cafe 100 they offer 17 varieties of Loco Moco on the menu, from the traditional Spam Loco Moco to the unorthodox Garden Burger Loco Moco; I chose the plain Loco Moco for $1.99. It is a total gut bomb, wrong on so many levels, but delicious nonetheless. It's one of those things where you once you become satiated, you continue to eat it for no natural reason.
I nearly finished it - but then I had to take a nap.
The picture above is from a recent trip to the Wailana Coffee House in Waikiki Beach, another absolute icon of Hawaiian eateries. This particular Loco Moco was ordered as a late-night snack along with a Bloody Mary. Apparently it makes for a quality ethanol sponge as well as a breakfast...