Monday, November 1, 2010

OMG a Recipe: C'mon Baby, do the Locomoco

I send my Aloha wishes to all who didn't totally ditch this blog after I was gone, like for-evah, the last couple of weeks while I was visiting my family in the Maholla-back state of Hawaii. Have no fear -- the Prime is BACK!! There was sun, sand, surf and I saw none of it because I was too busy stuffing my face with comfort foods. I promise to share more details very soon, but until things get organized, here's a little at-home taste of local cuisine, the Hawaiian equivalent of meatloaf: The Locomoco!

The hell with your pineapple-covered creations, THIS is the taste of Hawaii! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

The Locomoco epitomizes local eats in that it's simple, hearty and plenty salty if you use the Hawaiian rock salt seasoning in the hamburger. You can get this dish in nearly every restaurant, including fast food chains who have adapted their value meal purgatory to local tastes. Yes indeedy, the Golden Arches has it, but I'd just assume get the fried rice version at Hilo's own Kuhio Grille. I've heard different stories about where the Locomoco originated from. I'd like to believe the rumor that it came from the Big Island, right in Hilo Town, inspired by a need to feed the local football team, the Lincoln Wreckers, quickly and without much fuss. I'm of course biased because Hilo is the city where my father is from and he played on that team. But much like the origin stories of Marvel superheroes, the genesis of the Locomoco is subject to change, alternate universes spring up out of nowhere, and before you know it, we're all eating gravy-doused burgers with Adamantium forks growing from our X-Factor mutant hands. And yet I still think the Locomoco would taste just as  good.

So, Wasabi, how the heck do you make a Locomoco? Easy enough because here's the recipe: steamed rice, hamburger, fried egg, brown gravy. Done. That's it. There's been variations using fried rice, different gravy, poached or scrambled egg instead of fried, Portuguese sausage instead of hamburger, or no gravy at all, just a drizzle of shoyu (soy sauce). There's no real "secret ingredient," but if you can get a hold of the Hawaiian seasoning, which is a mix of big chunks of local rock salt and dried peppers, ginger and garlic, it adds a nice extra zing. Plus it's a non-liquid so TSA doesn't hassle you if you're bringing bottles of that stuff back with you. I don't normally use the powdered packet gravy, as the title alone is dubious at best -- "Brown Gravy Mix." What the hell -- do you take one part "brown" and one part "gravy" and mix? Insanity. But who am I to challenge tradition, as that's what a lot of people used for their quickie Locomoco meals, including Wasabi Mom.

I vow to revisit the classic Locomoco and try to make it a little more dressy, maybe with a bit of risotto, some caramelized onions and a poached egg, but still try to remain true to its homeskillet delicious charm. Until then, stay tuned, I promise to share some photos of the recent trip my stomach took on its last visit with the Wasabi Parents for the year. Till then, fry up a hamburger, steam some rice and Locomoco to da max!!

Putting the Loco in Locomoco - Photos by Wasabi Prime

Bookmark and Share


  1. OMG. I want a locomoco now! We tried making it a few months ago (with brown gravy mix) and it was pretty dang good, but not quite the same as eating it at home (in Hawaii). We're going to Kona soon for a friends wedding, and too bad we're so busy or I'd drive over to Hilo to Cafe 100 for their loco mocos!

  2. This will be my dinner tonight- it's settled. Yum.

  3. OMG is right. I feel like one of the lucky haole to have had a Locomoco at Cafe 100 right there in Hilo. It was a well-deserved bomb after a hard day's work and I followed it up with a nap on Saddle Road on the drive back to Kona. No, I was not the driver. That's a great photo, by the way, you captured the essence of the beast.

  4. Omigawd, my mouth is watering. Big mistake to read your blog at dinnertime, when all I've got in my cupboards is top ramen...


Commentary encouraged. Fresh baked cookies, super-encouraged. (hit the 'post comment' button twice, sometimes it's buggy)