Foodbuzz Challenge #2: The Sophisticated Loco Moco
The Loco Moco is classic Hawaiian comfort food. I went to the Big Island with my family 2 years ago. Before I left, I did what I always do before traveling and checked out some of the classic Hawaiian dishes. Of all the amazing food Hawaii has to offer, what caught my eye and my tummy was ‘The Loco Moco’. I did some research and found out that the Loco Moco originated on the Big Island in the quaint town of Hilo in 1949. In classic Hawaiian style, the Loco Moco is a fusion of Asian and American cuisine. The restaurant where it was created is called Café 100 and was said to have the best Loco Mocos known to mankind. There are many different kinds of Loco Mocos but only one is the original. The classic beef patty, gravy, sunny side up eggs and rice. I knew I would not leave the big island before I tried this delicious looking dish with the crazy name. Loco literally means crazy and Moco was chosen because it rhymes with Loco.
While I was thinking about what classic food I would make for this second challenge, I could not stop thinking about this unassuming comfort food. It was definitely something that I had never made at home before. I decided to go with my gut and feature this tasty Hawaiian dish. However, the execution of the Loco Moco is not complicated. Hmmm, this presented a dilemma for me. Then I thought, if I am going to do this I need to add a challenging component. I decided to take the Loco Moco up a notch and create the ‘Upscale Loco Moco’. I wanted to make something that could be served quite possibly in a fine dining establishment. Something that will take this dish into stardom. Here are my initial sketches.
As you can see above, I decided to make the Loco Moco using a cylinder form to build a rice tower with visible layers. Instead of hamburger, I used rib-eye steak which I needed to cook medium rare for flavor but also for easier layering. For the gravy I used the drippings from the bottom of the beef pan to make a gravy that was authentic and true to a traditional gravy. And finally, the eggs. How would I top this tower with your typical chicken egg? It then occurred to me…smaller eggs…quail eggs! I am not familiar with quail eggs but the challenge was to use unfamiliar ingredients so I went and bought these gorgeous speckled little eggs. The biggest surprise to me was how hard they are to crack open. No light tapping. By the final egg I was smashing them on the side of the counter with blunt force to open up the egg shell.
Anyway, I am sure there is a more professional way to crack them but that is what it did.
I also made the classic Hawaiian Loco Moco. I wanted to see the difference between the two and if I succeeded in sophisticating a simple dish. Lo and behold I think I did.
If you have never had a Loco Moco, or even if you have never heard of this dish, you won’t regret cooking yourself up a plate of my sophisticated aloha.