HAWI, HI - DECEMBER 17:  The King's View Cafe is located across the street from Hawaii's King Kamehameha birthplace as viewed on December 17, 2016, in Kapaau on the Kohala Coast, Hawaii. Hawaii, the largest of all the Hawaiian Islands at 4,000 square miles and growing, features active volcanoes, large cattle ranches, unusual flora and fauna, waterfalls, rainforests, and occasionally, snowcapped mountains. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
Food - Drink
The Origin Of Hawaii's Most Popular Meal
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.