Come On Baby, Do the Loco Moco

Come On Baby, Do the Loco Moco

Breakfast! My favorite, though it seems I’ve been not so good at making different breakfast-y things. Other countries just don’t take it as seriously as I feel like we do here in the States.


In the morning, my heart belongs to the carbs. Oatmeal, sweet breads, pancakes, waffles, French toast…you get the idea. While in a perfect world I’d alternate bites of waffles with bites of bacon, I’d pick sweet over savory nine times out of ten.

While the above declaration is indeed true, my daily routine consists of eggs, eggs and more eggs, lately in the form of crustless quiches. I’ve been trying to mix up the variables: sausage with bacon, goat cheese with Manchego, broccoli with spinach, but I’m ready for a big change. Drastic. So…how about rice?

That brings us to breakfast in Hawaii. Loco Moco. I just like the sound of that.


Loco Moco is an original Hawaiian fast food creation. Yup, fast food. I don’t think I’ve made that yet. First time for everything. Anyway, according to legend, around 1949, either the Cafe 100 or the Lincoln Grill (both in Hilo, Hawaii) originated the dish. It was created when some teenagers arrived in the diner wanting something different from typical American breakfast sandwiches and less time-consuming than Asian food to eat for breakfast. The nickname of the first boy to eat this concoction was Loco (“crazy” in Portuguese and Hawaiian pidgin). Moco rhymed with loco and sounded great, so Loco Moco became the name of the dish. Today, it’s found at almost every fast food joint. Even McDonald’s jumped on that bandwagon.

The basic gist of this is white rice, topped with a hamburger patty, fried egg and brown gravy. However, variety is the name of this crazy game, and the components can be replaced with any number of things- SPAM, sausage, fried rice, etc.

I’ve always been leery of the “brown sauce” in any dining situation and despite the prompting of Yucca and Eggplant, I just cannot do SPAM at this time. Maybe at a later time, but for this week, the SPAM was staying in the can. With those two things off, I ran with another variation I read that substituted Linguica Portuguese sausage. Feeling that plain Jane white sticky rice would be too blah next to the wonderfully flavorful sausage and inspired by the flavors of the Portuguese dish Lombo de Porco of yore, I ended up “stir frying” some sticky rice with some tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice and smoked paprika. Topping the whole thing with some parsley, it reminded me of another favorite, the risotto cakes with tomato jam (I so need to remake that ASAP). Stick to my ribs indeed. It was all very, very good.


Portuguese-Style Loco Moco
Serves 4
Portuguese twist on a Hawaiian Classic
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
  1. ½ cup sticky rice, uncooked
  2. ¼ cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
  3. 1 tsp garlic, minced
  4. ½ tsp smoked paprika
  5. ½ tsp black pepper, or more to taste
  6. ¼ tsp salt, or more to taste
  7. ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  8. ½ lemon, juiced
  9. 1 link of Linguica sausage, divided into 4 and cut into thin-ish slices
  10. 4 eggs, fried sunny side up
  11. Parsley and Cholula to garnish and top
  1. Add the uncooked rice to a pot with 1 cup water. Alternatively, use a rice cooker. Cook until all the liquid is absorbed.
  2. When the rice is cooked, heat a non-stick skillet with about 1 TB olive oil. Let get really hot. Add the rice, tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and stir fry until crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice and parsley.
  3. Once the rice is done, assemble by placing a scoop of rice on the plate, top it with the sausage and a fried egg, one per person.
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