Loco Moco: A Taste of Hawaii in Every Bite


Everyday Culinary Delights

Calling all comfort food lovers! Get ready to embark on a delicious journey to the Hawaiian Islands with Loco Moco, a hearty dish that’s sure to tantalize your taste buds.

This isn’t your average burger. Loco Moco is a symphony of flavors and textures, featuring fluffy steamed rice as the base, a juicy hamburger patty, rich brown gravy, and a perfectly fried egg on top. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, perfect for a satisfying breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

A Hawaiian Tradition

Loco Moco’s origins can be traced back to Hilo, Hawaii, in the late 1940s. Legend has it that a group of hungry surfers requested a filling and affordable meal at a local restaurant. The owner, Ms. Nancy Inouye, whipped up a plate of rice, a hamburger patty, and brown gravy, and the surfers, in appreciation, named it after their friend nicknamed “Crazy” (Loco in Spanish).

Today, Loco Moco is a beloved Hawaiian staple, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

Let’s Get Cooking!

Before we dive into the recipe, let’s gather what you’ll need:

  • Tools: A mixing bowl, a nonstick pan, a spatula, and a whisk.
  • Serves: 4 people
  • Cook Time: Approximately 25 minutes


  • For the Burger Patties:
    • 1 pound ground beef (85% lean or your preference)
    • 1/3 cup finely diced onion
    • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 3 tablespoons milk
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • For the Gravy:
    • 2 cups beef stock
    • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon ketchup
    • 2 teaspoons sugar (adjust to taste)
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (adjust to taste)
  • For Serving:
    • 4 cups cooked white rice
    • 4 eggs
    • 2 stalks green onions, chopped (for garnish)

Chef’s Tips for Loco Moco Success:

  • Fresh is Best: While pre-ground beef is convenient, opt for freshly ground beef from the butcher counter for the most flavorful patties.
  • The Power of Panko: Panko breadcrumbs add a delightful textural contrast to the burger patty. If you don’t have panko, substitute with regular breadcrumbs.
  • Don’t Overmix: Gently combine the burger patty ingredients to avoid a tough texture.
  • Flavorful Gravy: Ensure the cornstarch is completely dissolved in the beef stock to prevent lumps in your gravy.
  • Sunny Side Up or Over Easy? Fry your eggs according to your preference. Sunny side up allows the runny yolk to mingle with the rice and gravy for extra flavor.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them:

  1. Underseasoned Patties: Don’t be shy with the salt and pepper! Season your burger patties generously for maximum flavor.
  2. Dense Patties: Overworking the ground beef mixture compacts it and results in a dense patty. Mix gently using your hands.
  3. Lumpy Gravy: As mentioned earlier, ensure the cornstarch is fully dissolved to achieve a smooth gravy.
  4. Soggy Rice: Cook the rice separately and keep it covered until serving to prevent it from becoming soggy under the other ingredients.
  5. Bland Gravy: Don’t be afraid to adjust the seasonings in your gravy to your taste preference. Add a touch more soy sauce for umami or a pinch of sugar for a hint of sweetness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

  • What does “Loco Moco” mean? The name is a playful combination of “loco” (Spanish for “crazy”) and “moco” (slang for “burger”).
  • What can I serve with Loco Moco? This dish pairs well with classic Hawaiian sides like macaroni salad, coleslaw, or kimchi.


Loco Moco is a delightful Hawaiian dish that’s easy to prepare yet bursting with flavor. So, gather your ingredients, fire up the stove, and get ready to experience a taste of the Hawaiian Islands in every bite!

Dive Deeper into Loco Moco: Variations and Substitutions

Loco Moco offers a delicious base to explore your culinary creativity. Here are some exciting ways to customize this Hawaiian favorite:

Protein Alternatives:

  • Loco Porko: Swap the ground beef with ground pork for a richer flavor profile. You can even combine ground beef and pork for a unique twist.
  • Turkey Time: Substitute ground turkey for a lighter option, perfect for those watching their calorie intake.
  • Vegetarian Delight: Create a vegetarian version using a portobello mushroom cap as the “patty.” Marinate the mushroom in your favorite marinade for added flavor, then grill or pan-fry until tender.

Gravy Twists:

  • Mushroom Gravy: Sauté chopped mushrooms with onions and garlic before adding them to your gravy base for an earthy twist.
  • Spicy Kick: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or Sriracha to your gravy for a spicy surprise.
  • Teriyaki Twist: Substitute soy sauce with teriyaki sauce in your gravy for a sweeter and slightly tangy flavor.

Beyond the Plate:

  • Pineapple Paradise: Add a slice of grilled pineapple alongside your Loco Moco for a sweet and tropical touch.
  • Spicy Mayo Drizzle: Combine mayonnaise with Sriracha or your favorite hot sauce for a creamy and spicy condiment to drizzle over your Loco Moco.
  • Pickled Accents: Offer a side of pickled vegetables, like ginger or onions, to add a zesty element to your meal.

Loco Moco for Every Occasion:

Loco Moco’s versatility makes it perfect for any meal of the day.

  • Hearty Breakfast: Enjoy Loco Moco for a satisfying and protein-packed breakfast that will keep you energized throughout the morning.
  • Quick Lunch Fix: Whip up Loco Moco for a speedy yet delicious lunch option. Leftovers can be easily reheated for the next day’s lunch.
  • Comforting Dinner: Serve Loco Moco for a comforting and flavorful dinner that’s sure to please the whole family.

A Culinary Adventure Awaits!

Loco Moco is a delightful introduction to Hawaiian cuisine. With its ease of preparation and endless customization options, this dish is a must-try for home cooks of all levels. So, grab your ingredients, unleash your creativity, and embark on a delicious culinary adventure to the heart of Hawaii!

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