Archive for the 'Loco Moco' Category

Mister D’s Loco Moco

Friday, February 10th, 2006

After having a great steak plate from Mister D’s lunch-wagon, I had to come back to try their loco moco, so I went out today to go back. It broke my heart to see that there was another lunch-wagon in its place (MJ’s lunch wagon). I knew Mister D’s was out there, somewhere.

I drove around aimlessly around Hilo, trying to find Mister D, until I turned a corner and saw the sign “Lunch? Steak Plates $6.50″!

Lunch? Steak Plates $6.50

I was overjoyed. The lunch wagons must have some kind of rotating schedule, so if you can’t find Mister D’s near Blane’s industrial, make sure to check on the intersection of Kilauea Ave & Puinako St, across from KTA in the lot of the Kai Store.

In the same corner lot, I usually see a Poke Wagon called “Poke To Your Taste” and a stand that sells wonderful fresh sweet corn.

Poke Stop and Sweet Corn Stand

I have yet to try the poke here, but the corn is very delicious!

Here’s the front of Mister D’s Lunch Wagon again.

Mister D’s Ono Steaks Lunch Wagon

I ordered a double loco moco ($5.50) and a steak plate ($6.50) for a co-worker. He started frying my sunny side-up eggs.

Frying my eggs

Here is the double loco moco:

Mister D’s Double Loco Moco Mister D’s loco moco close-up

I’ll use my loco moco rating system again, testing out a new points based system. Maximum points add up to 100, and the burger and gravy have higher weight than the eggs and rice, since I think those are the two most equally important items in a loco moco.

Burger: Pre-made, mushy texture, bland tasting mystery meat which hardly tasted like hamburger (9 out of 35pts)
Gravy: Average tasting regular brown gravy, but a little saltier than normal. There wasn’t enough flavor to balance out the saltiness, though. (20 out of 35pts)
Egg: Good buttery tasting egg, cooked well, but maybe a little too fast. (13 out of 15pts)
Rice: Good rice, cooked just right. (14 out of 15pts)


Sad to say, the burger really brought this one down. I believe that the burger was the same one I had in the loco moco at the County Fair.

Stick with the steak plates here!

Itsu’s Kim Chi Burger & Loco Moco

Saturday, January 28th, 2006

Last month I went to Itsu’s and had one of the most onolicious plate lunches, so I had to come back to try their other goodies, especially their famous Kim Chi Burger. I also had to further investigate their loco moco, which they have a very “interesting” way of preparing!

First, the Kim Chi Burger ($1.50).

Kim Chi Burger Kim Burger Open

Looks good doesn’t it? I’ve never had anything much like it before and it was so delicious!

Here’s a closer look:
Itsu’s Closeup

The kim chi must’ve been homemade. It wasn’t the type of kim chi you would see at the stores and it tasted so fresh. It was drier, crispier, and the chili peppers tasted fresh with a nice kick. There was also a yellowy mayonnaise type of sauce smothered on the soft bun. Both the kim chi and the yellow sauce complimented the burger perfectly. The burger was a premade type of burger, but it was very tender, moist and tasty. I’m usually not a fan of this type of burger, but for some reason, this unique combination worked perfectly for my taste buds.

The loco moco ($2.50) was a bit of a different story. I was already uneasy about ordering one when my friend told me how they prepare it: they use a microwave to cook the egg! I guess since they don’t have a grill on hand, that’s the only way they can do it.

Here’s what it looks like:
Itsu’s Loco Moco

Unfortunately, the gravy and burger couldn’t save this one. The egg was completely rubbery and tasteless (1 out of 15pts). The gravy was bland as well (15 out of 35pts). The burger was the same type of burger as the one in the Kim Chi Burger, which was not that bad for a premade burger (20 out of 35pts), but when tasting it with all of the other elements, it still tasted bland. Rice was normal (14 out of 15pts).


The wonderful Kim Chi Burger made this visit still worth it. Also be sure to try their plate lunches. Just stay away from the loco mocos!

Itsu’s Fishing Supplies Inc
810 Piilani St Hilo
(808) 935-8082

Cafe 100 Revisited

Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Cafe 100

Why oh why do I keep doing this to myself? Why do I keep coming back here for a bland loco moco in hopes of it one day being better?

Cute box

Well, I can get an “ok” loco moco and a small chili for well under 4 bucks… the chili was pretty good actually, not bland at all. It scored extra points to make up for the loco moco, which still has a thin strange tasting burger and bland gravy… let me just say, it’s amazing what a lot of shoyu can do to a bland loco moco. :)

To be fair, the gravy was actually thicker and tastier than the last time I’ve reviewed this place.

And isn’t it cute how they package everything so neatly into a small box? It’s just fun to do take out here.

Loco Moco Loco Moco Close up Chili

Dear Cafe 100, I still have faith in you!

Kandi’s Drive Inn

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

It was another weekend night, and we were hungry at 4:30am. Ken’s, Verna’s, 7-11, or…Kandi’s? Yup, Kandi’s opens at 4am! That was good news because I’ve come here many a time between 8-9am and their fried rice breakfasts were usually sold out. Not happening to me this morning. *grin*

Kandi’s Order Window Kandi’s Drive Inn

Kandi’s serves all the traditional local comfort foods at great prices. There were about 5-7 other people hanging out in the drive inn’s small eating area.

Here’s their breakfast and daily specials menu:

Breakfast menu Daily specials

I asked the lady taking our order, “You guys still get fried rice?” She laughed, and said yes, mentioning that it always gets sold out by 9am.

There are three different fried rice breakfasts: Fried Rice Special ($3.75 – fried rice topped with egg and hot dog), Fried Rice Omelet ($3.50 – fried rice wrapped in eggs w/2 slices of spam), and Fried Rice Hash & Eggs ($3.95 – fried rice, corned beef hash, and topped with an egg).

I ordered the Fried Rice Omelet w/spam.

Fried rice omelet Fried rice omelet closeup

This was so good and is such a great deal at $3.50. The fried rice in this egg omelet had a great texture, firm yet moist, which absorbed lots of the wonderful crunchy bacon and ham goodness. It was a bit oily, but it just made it taste better. I loved how some of the rice grains were burnt crisp just a little, adding to the great flavor. The two slices of spam were thick and cooked gently, which kept them moist and sweet. Serious homestyle comfort food.

My friend ordered a Teri Loco Moco and added a ton of ketchup.

Teri loco moco Teri loco closeup

A teri loco moco is the same as a regular loco moco, with added teri sauce to the burger. I had one bite and it tasted just ok. The teri sauce added a nice sweetness to it, but the burger was thin and didn’t taste that good… might’ve been premade. The gravy was basic, but it had a full flavor and wasn’t watery. Egg was cooked well. I didn’t get to try the mac salad, though. Overall, it was just an average loco moco.

Another friend ordered toast, eggs and hash browns, which I didn’t get to try. He seemed to enjoy it, though.

Toast, eggs, and hash stick

For a cheap and very tasty breakfast, I would highly recommend this place. They also offer lots of plate lunches and bentos. I’ve tried their beef stew and teri beef plate, which were both very good and tasty (sorry, no photos).

Kandi’s Drive Inn
56 W Kawailani Street
Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 959-8461

Koa Pancake House

Wednesday, November 16th, 2005

in Aiea, Oahu

I used to come here more often in the past, but have stopped going for a while… until I sampled a bite of their loco moco, I had to come back for further investigation!

Koa Pancake House has 3 locations I know of (Aiea, Waipahu and Kaneohe). They look like they are doing great since they are constantly busy, especially during breakfast. We went to the Aiea location which is right next to McDonalds.

Koa Pancake House Aiea

It was about 11am and the place was packed with people eating mostly breakfast items. Lots of pancakes, waffles and eggs… I also saw lots of burgers too. The inside has a very warm koa theme with koa walls and decorations, giving the restaurant a nice mellow ambiance.

Koa interior Koa Pancake House menu board

I had to order the Fried Rice Loco Moco ($5.95).

Fried Rice Loco Moco Loco Moco Close-up

A generous portion of fried rice with ham and crisp green onions topped with a tender grilled burger, tasty thick brown gravy, and two eggs. This loco moco tasted great, but there was something different about it. The problem was that it didn’t really taste like an authentic loco moco. It might’ve been the gravy: thicker than usual, tasting more like a salisbury steak type of gravy. Good stuff, but I wish it were less thick so that it would mix better with the rice. On the plus side, they did everything else great: the fried rice was very delicious , the burger was very tasty – slightly charred, and the eggs were nicely cooked too.

Bev ordered a “Lite Bite” which included 2 pancakes, 2 link sausages, and 1 egg ($3.75). Really good deal!

Lite Bite

The pancakes tasted good and were very light and soft… but the inside was a bit too soft to me and Bev (probably a little undercooked?). Still, it tasted good. I also wished that the outside of the pancakes were a bit crispier too, but they weren’t. The link sausages were good and crisp (tasted like Farmer John’s). Good deal for $3.75.

Koa Pancake House has good food for a great price, although not the best you can get. Service was very friendly and everybody had smiles on their faces, including the customers, who seemed all very friendly. I would probably come back again for some breakfast or try some of their lunch items.

99-115 Aiea Heights Drive #256
Aiea, Hawaii 96701
488-8805, 488-8816

Verna’s Drive In

Saturday, October 22nd, 2005

So it’s 4am in rainy Hilo, you’re partied out, and you got major munchies. Where to go? “Ken’s!”, you may say. Others say, “Verna’s!”

I lived in Hilo all this time and only recently, with the guidance of some friends (I’m a sheltered boy), did I realize that Verna’s is open 24 hours on weekend nights. This experience really opened my eyes… finally some variety after midnight on the weekends!

Verna’s is located right across Ken’s on the other side of the street corner.

Verna’s Drive Inn Verna’s order window

Another picture during the day:

Verna’s taken from day time

At this hour there were a bunch of rowdy people hanging out in the parking lot, possibly eating some Verna’s food, and a few people ordering and waiting for their food.

Here are the menus posted on the front window (click to zoom). They get some real local kine grindz!

Verna's specials!Photos of menu itemsThe menuMore menu photos

I was advised that the teri burgers are good here, which made me overjoyed since I love teri burgers. Teri burger ($1.70) it is!

Verna's teri burger

I’m not sure if it was the beer, but this burger tasted simply amazing! The burger patty was nice and thick, cooked just right, very moist and tender, and the teriyaki flavor went throughout all of the meat like they marinated it. Just the right amount of mayo and one piece of lettuce was applied to the burger, which worked really well. The bun was nice and soft, soaking up all the teri-goodness. Only thing that would make this burger better was if it was flame-broiled.

I also managed to steal some fries. Hey, it’s some fries and a shaka.

Fries and a Shaka

Fries are to a teri burger like rice is to pork adobo. They are essential to have together! Although these fries were good, they could’ve been more crisp on the outside. I wasn’t complaining though.

After a great teri burger experience, I had to come back to Verna’s to try some of their other food…

Verna’s Loco Moco ($2.95)

Verna’s Loco Moco Overcooked egg

I had high hopes on this one, especially since the guy in front of me ordered two loco mocos. Unfortunately, this loco moco was very bad. The burger was overcooked, and somewhat dry, with not much flavor. The gravy was very basic, too salty, and uninspiring. The egg was overcooked (the yolk was partially hardened). The rice was slightly overcooked too. Bummers.

Chicken Katsu ($5.70)

Verna’s Chicken Katsu Chicken Katsu close up

This was a different style of chicken katsu, which uses a different kind of breading, more similar to fried chicken. It tasted good, but it felt like I was eating cut up chicken patties instead. On the plus side, the chicken was moist and flavorful. The sauce was also ok – not too sweet. I don’t think I would order this again, just because I prefer panko breading.

Kamuela Special ($5.95)

Kamuela Special

The Kamuela Special consists of fried noodles with teri beef and mac salad. Nice concept, but the noodles tasted a bit bland and the teri beef was too sweet and over-flavored. The mac salad was not bad, though.

So, what’s the verdict? Ken’s or Verna’s? That’s a tough one since I have more eating experiences at Ken’s. It also depends on what you want to eat. Burgers? Verna’s. Loco Moco? Ken’s. Low on cash? Verna’s! Want real local style drive inn food? Verna’s.

I’m sure Verna’s has a lot more to offer than the dishes I’ve tried, and I will definitely go back for the teri burger and other offerings.

Verna’s Drive In
1765 Kamehameha Ave
Hilo HI 96720
Phone: 808-935-2776