Rokomoko ロコモコ Loco Moco

We were introduced to the Haikara-Style Cafe & Bakery when we went back to Malaysia last December. It is a Japanese-style cafe that specialises in charcoal roasted coffee and all sorts of delicious Japanese breads and pastries. I usually find the food other than the cakes and pastries at cafes and bakeries meh, but the food here did not disappoint. EVERYTHING, yes you heard me, everything is delicious. I would highly recommend the chicken katsu sandwiches, Haikara special curry with rice, a personal favorite of mine – mentaiko udon (it’s usually just pasta, the udon version is on the day’s specials menu), new year special udon (another “specials” item, you’ll probably have to wait till next new year’s day to eat it), wild boar’s favorite – rokomoko, which is essentially beef hamburger steak served with rice and a sunny-side up egg. The wild boar had the same dish every time he went, 3 times in a row! He’s been bugging me about re-creating this dish ever since.
Rokomoko ロコモコ Loco Moco 1
Rokomoko is more widely written as loco moco, which consists of white rice topped with a hamburger patty, a fried egg, and brown gravy. It is a popular Hawaiian dish that can be found at just about any fast food joint, roadside diner, mom and pop restaurant or lunch wagon in the Islands. There are many people who claim to have invented the dish, but it is generally agreed that the first loco moco was created in Hilo, Hawaii around 1949, either by the Cafe 100 or the Lincoln Grill.
Rokomoko ロコモコ Loco Moco
The dish was created for a bunch of hungry teenagers who didn’t have a lot of money but wanted something more filling and affordable than the usual bowl of saimin noodles or a hamburger steak. The owner of the restaurant then placed some rice in a saimin bowl, one hamburger patty on the rice and poured some brown gravy over. The name “loco” came from the nickname of the first boy who ate this dish. His nickname was “crazy”, in Spanish is “loco”. Moco doesn’t mean anything, it just rhymed with loco and sounded great, so Loco Moco became the name of the dish. The egg was added later.
Rokomoko ロコモコ Loco Moco 2
There are many variations of this dish and the rokomoko we had at the Japanese cafe was beef patty slathered in a sweet and tangy sauce (I think it’s tonkatsu sauce) served with a huge pile shredded vegetable and rice. I used pork instead and seasoned it Japanese-style, served it with home-made tonkatsu sauce, Kewpie mayonnaise and raw cabbage salad with sesame dressing on the side. The wild boar loved it and gave me a thumbs up, plus a smiley satisfied face!

Rokomoko ロコモコ

Printable recipe
By Pig Pig’s Corner

Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Yield: serves 2-3

For pork patties:

  • 250 g minced pork
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mirin
  • 2 tsp light soy sauce
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 large onion – diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

For home-made tonkatsu sauce:

  • 2 tbs tomato ketchup
  • 2 tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbs mirin

Other ingredients:

For pork patties:

  • Heat up a bit of oil in a pan. Add onions and a pinch of salt. Fry until soft and translucent. Allow to cool and add this to minced pork.
  • Add all the other ingredients for pork patties. Mix to combine.
  • Form 3 large pork patties.
  • Pan fry on medium low heat with a bit of oil until browned all over and cooked through.

For home-made tonkatsu sauce:

  • Simply mix all ingredients.
  • Serve with pork patties all the other ingredients.