It all started with these:
Fresh Manapua from the Chun Wah Kam Noodle Factory in Honolulu. My cousin was in town visiting and brought these fabulous fresh treats – Thank you thank you thank you!! So Ono (delicious)! It’s one of those things like New York pizza or a Chicago style hot dog, it has to be from the place of origin to taste it’s best.
Manuapua is a Chinese influenced treat the Hawaiians adopted and reinvented. The Chinese version, char siu bao, was often sold by food vendors back in the day when a large number of Chinese immigrants settled in Hawaii. Nowadays, Manapua is often sold in food trucks all over the island. Manapua is short for mea ono pua’a (“mea ono” for cake or pastry, and “pua’a for pork).
So dinner plans changed, the only thing I wanted to share this plate with was Loco Moco. Loco Moco was said to have originated in Hilo in the 1940’s. It is considered Hawaii’s first attempt at “fast food”. An attempt that is still very popular in the islands. When it was first introduced to me at Zippy’s (Hawaii’s version of Denny’s) someone called it a Hawaiian style hamburger. I was so confused when it didn’t come with a bun or ketchup. Anywho, here’s what it is:
A layer of white rice, a beef patty, and a fried egg on top. Then you cover the whole thing in gravy. It may sound odd but it is GENIOUS!! There are tons of different variations you can get in the islands but here’s how I make mine at home.
- Cook rice – 1-2 cups per plate
- Cook your beef patties – season and grill them just like you would for a hamburger. If you want to get extra fancy Hawaiian style, finely dice some onion and mix into beef patty. Adding a slice of cheddar just like you would for a burger is pretty darn delicious too!
- Make your gravy – Typically it’s made with brown gravy, but I’ve also seen it done with country gravy. I make 2 packets of brown gravy and then add 1 cup of beef broth, a table spoon of flour and a few dashes of worcestershire sauce to pep up the flavor a bit.
- Cook your egg – traditionally it’s served sunny side up, but I prefer over easy.
- Assemble your food: rice, a little gravy, beef patty, egg, more gravy!
PS. Manapua dipped in egg and gravy is onoliscious!!