Who Came Up With Loco Moco?: A Tasty Investigation of a Hawaiian Specialty

March 4, 2018

Who came up with Loco Moco, and how can we give them proper thanks? This iconic Hawaiian dish is a favorite at Hula’s and it’s no wonder why. The classic Loco Moco is served up on a bed of white rice that is topped in a savory mushroom gravy, burger patty and sunny side up eggs. It is a classic mashup of Western and Asian cuisines and can be found on menus across regions around the world, from the Hawaiian Islands, Samoa, and right here in Arizona. 


The First Loco Moco 


There are dozens of people who claim to have invented this classic dish. However, most agree that the Loco Moco was born in 1949. Although the timing is generally agreed upon, who came up with it first is still widely debated. Two Hilo restaurants are typically credited with its invention, Cafe 100 or Lincoln Grill. It is said that this meal was thought up to serve crowds of teenages who wanted something different than the typical American sandwich, but less time consuming to prepare and eat at breakfast time than an Asian meal. 


According to legend, the nickname of the first boy to eat this ensemble of hamburger patty, gravy, white rice was “Loco,” or “crazy” in both Hawaiian pidgin and Portuguese. Loco rhymed with Moco, and it was catchy, so that became its official name. It wasn’t until later when the egg was added to top off the dish. 


The Epitome of Hawaiian Cuisine 


Whoever came up with it and whenever it was first made, the Loco Moco epitomizes Hawaiian plate lunch fare, and serves to feed the hunger of surfers and as a cure for the hangovers of weekend fun seekers who may have had one too many Mai-Tais during a rambunctious night out. The Loco Moco is considered a favorite at Hula’s, and ours is served up in classic Hawaiian style, with white rice, gravy, burger patty, and of course, the sunny side up egg. 


Are you a Loco Moco purist? Share your foodie photos with us and make sure to follow us!


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