Food - Drink
The Origin Of Hawaii's Most Popular Meal
By HOPE NGO
While Hawaii has many unique culinary dishes, the plate lunch has become the state’s most iconic meal. The plate lunch consists of two white rice servings, a side of macaroni salad heavily covered in mayonnaise, and a protein entrée that comes in many different varieties, depending on the cultural population.
Its origins can trace back to the fruit plantations that were Hawaii’s economic driver and had a mix of workers from all across the world. The laborers brought leftover rice and other items like teriyaki sauce, cold pork, and canned meats for lunch, with macaroni salad joining the dish later.
Even after the plantations closed, the plate lunch continued to be served in food trucks in the 1930s and in restaurants by the 1950s. The iconic dish is still evolving and adapting for more health-conscious diners, with some offering brown rice substitutions and healthier salad alternatives instead of macaroni salad.