hawaii foodies: loco moco in honolulu

Old Apr 10th, 2003, 02:43 AM
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hawaii foodies: loco moco in honolulu

i was born and raised here, and never once in my life eaten loco moco. can't even recall seeing one. now a friend from japan is coming, and is specifically asking to eat loco moco.

i've asked around, and done a search here, and the only recommendations are sam choy's blc and alan wong's pineapple room. i don't care if it's breakfast or lunch, i don't care if it's high-end or low-end: WHERE IN HONOLULU HAS THE BEST LOCO MOCO?
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:07 PM
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topping
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Old Apr 10th, 2003, 05:15 PM
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I couldn't say if it was the best, since we had nothing to compare it to, but we had it at a small local, very low key type place, on the south loop of the island, just past a beach entrance [maybe 20 - 30 min. or so past Hanauma Bay] on the right side of the road. There was a 7-11 on the corner on the same side of the street, right before it. Over all, we enjoyed the experience, and it was very inexpensive [Im thinking $4 or $5] We actually went back for a plate lunch another day, when we were in the area, and took it to the beach to eat.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 01:10 AM
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Omigod, Mari, you are going to have to sample! I think Grace's has some good loco moco. Nuuanu YMCA used to have REALLY good loco moco but the cafe changed owners. Try Sidestreet Cafe too (they are open for lunch) or even Harry's Diner (between Pensacola and Ward on a side street parallel to Kapiolani--behind McKinley Car Wash). In fact, that whole area in Kakaako should have good loco moco.

I'm actually not a big loco moco eater so I'm just going on looks, you understand. ;-) Hey, how about the Kim Chee restaurants? Like Kim Chee II or III?
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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howzit? I can't exactly respond to your question, because I haven't eaten loco moco in ages. However, I must refer you to Uptown Cafe, close to the intersection of Liliha Street and School Street (on the mauka-ewa side of the corner). Very interesting breakfast presentations with Japanese aesthetics, Okinawan cooking, and LOCAL portions.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 07:21 PM
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EEK! Mari, that last post was my brother posting under MY profile. Good grief. But he has a good point, the Liliha area isn't a bad place to start.....support the 'hood......
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 10:41 PM
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 10:44 PM
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THE 'HOOD! still laughing. didn't realize i came from a 'hood. thanks for the suggestions, melissa, melissa's brother and lois. some questions:

--is that side street inn, on the little street btwn kapiolani and kona by ala moana?

--u saying the kim chee restaurants have loco moco?

--the liliha thing, that's the corner where the service station is?

will do some scouting. feel like such a kotonk!
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 10:52 PM
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hee hee das right, home grrrl! I just talked to some coworkers and they said Liliha Bakery has the best. something about the quality of the hamburger steak & gravy?

Yup, Sidestreet is off Pensacola ... right after Kapiolani Blvd. I am not sure about the Uptown Cafe my brother described.
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Old Apr 11th, 2003, 11:10 PM
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liliha bakery! even more in the hood!
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 06:02 PM
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This is Melissa's brother. Uptown Cafe
is just ewa of the service station. Their loco moco is one patty, two eggs over rice with gravy, $3.95. Same size as Hungry Lion, but half the price! I haven't tasted it; I had their ma'a san, which is a three egg omelette over rice covered with your choice of beef stew, beef curry, or brown gravy. with white rice, $5; with fried rice, $6.30. It came garnished with Japanese pickles and was just lovely, considering the hole-in-the-wall ambience.

For loco moco, sam choy ($6.50) and alan wong ($13.50) have the reputation that's hard to beat. Another might be Kakaako Kitchen, as I can't imagine Russell Siu risking his reputation with lousy loco moco. His is $6.50. What's with all these chinese guys serving hamburger?

Three other Kakaako places are I Love Country ($4.99), Karen's Kitchen ($5.95) and Cooke Street Diner. Cooke Street gives you two patties, two eggs, two scoops of rice, special gravy with onions on top, all for $6.50. Worth checking out, yah?

Harry's Cafe, also in Kakaako, is $5.25.

For atmosphere, Don Ho's, but only one patty for $10.95! (pssst... another chinese guy!). Still less than Pineapple Room.

Way up in Kaimuki, you have Big City Diner with one egg, one patty for &5.25.

In summary, Uptown is the bargain.
I can't see paying more than $7 for hamburger, unless you want a view of Honolulu Harbor from Don Ho's.

Can you favor me with the results of your research? Contact me at:

[email protected]

Good Luck!
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 06:07 PM
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p.s. This is Melissa's brother again.

another respondent seems to be describing an eatery in Waimanalo.
My guess is that it is Keneke's.
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Old Apr 14th, 2003, 08:14 PM
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ANTHONY! Get your own profile!!
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 02:32 AM
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STOP BICKERING!

no, really, i understand melissa is a serious runner and runners can chow down and still fit thru a keyhole, but melissa's brother, given that u are probably the only person who can quote loco moco prices by district while still having a detectable heartbeat, do u, umm, look like sam choy?

i will let u know the results of my research. i will no longer weigh 99 lbs at the end, but i will let u know.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 09:53 AM
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Mari, you've seen my brother, right? He now looks like James Earl Jones (same voice etc. too).

--The Real Melissa
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 11:23 AM
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Good Morning! Melissa's brother, again. I would get my own profile if I knew how; as Melissa knows, I am email-challenged.

btw, I am not obsessed with this. As the food and restaurant columninst for Hawaii Roadrunner, I probably have the largest paper take-out menu collection in the state (mostly chinese restaurants). I also walk in neighborhoods every morning, so you can tell where I've walked by the restaurants that I name. On my walks, I walk up to bunches of cops on meal break and use them as a focus group.

So, back to the brown gravy! At the top of the price scale, you have Zippy's
($8+), Original Pancake House ($7+), Likelike ($7). In the middle, Yum Yum
Tree($5.50), Wisteria ($5,50, little salty), and Side Street ($5, opens at 10:30, on Hopaka Street, almost as famous as Melissa).

Harry's Cafe, also known as Christy's,
is $5.25, $5.95 with fried rice, but the fried rice/loco moco was on special this morning for $4.95!

Lucky Inn (mini, $3.50, regular $4.99),
Aikane Cafe (mini, $3.50, regular $4.75,
with a prime rib, two eggs, two scoops rice for $4.29!!!).

But you have to try this one: Kiyo's Okazu-ya on Nuuanu, run by two young ladies from catering families, mini $2,
regular $4; that's 2 scoops, two eggs,
two pattys with gravy! Hey, you support the 'hood, you support the sisterhood, and you save money all at the same table!! Of course, the test is in the eating, so spend two bucks and check it out. If it's good, you can also show your friend how okazu-ya have developed in Hawaii (Nuuanu Okazu-ya is 20 feet up the street). If not, at least you have a cost and taste base-line.

Please let me know what you find. I am
interested in the texture of the rice,
the taste and texture of the patty, and the spicing, color and texture of the gravy. As for the egg, not too much difference, I guess, but any diferentiation witll help. Allez Mangere!!!

Please don't forget to
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 04:49 PM
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ah, now i understand. takeout menus! collected by a chinese james earl jones. i'm thinking there's book material here.

that $2 mini by those 2 sisters in the hood sounds perfect for my loco moco debut. then maybe i'll work my way down liliha--liliha bakery, the place next to the svc station at the corner of school street, on down to sam choy's. will skip l&l and zippy's--wrong side of the street. then maybe next yr i'll head twd kakaako and points further diamond head. no way wisteria--too much salt on top of all that fat and cholesterol is a mortal sin. thanks for the warning and all the help. i'm printing this out and sticking it in the car.
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Old Apr 15th, 2003, 10:42 PM
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Hi Mari, I just got in from running and my friends recommended Big City Diner for a big appetite, or Kings Cafe (the old Kings Bakery) because they serve their loco moco with fried rice instead of white!

BTW, one year my sister and her friend ate out every Friday....the rule was, it had to be a different place along King St. As you know, King St. spans from Kalihi to Kaimuki, so you could take TWO years of Fridays doing that! (This could make a book to rival Donavan Delacruz!! You could be the queen of King.)
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 01:03 AM
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OMG. GREAT TITLE! somebody shd write a book. tell me if the highlight WASN'T alan wong's or mavro's. the suspense is killing me! and where did they end up--ted's drive-in (still there?)? or helena's?
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Old Apr 16th, 2003, 03:50 PM
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Oh, the gravy....I mean the plot..thickens!

Hey, my brother just emailed me and said, "I sacrificed my body for your friend and ordered a loco moco from Yum Yum Tree. Awful. Big mound of rice with a stiff hard hamburger, the whole thing just swimming in this light brown congealed gravy. I pushed the gravy off to the side before I ate the whole awful thing up." (I don't think anyone was FORCING him to eat it up.......)
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