So what’s a Hawaiian Plate Lunch?

Hawaii is a melting pot of many cultures.  Fueled by the need for cheap labor to staff its rapidly expanding sugar industry, Hawaii sugar plantation owners brought in hundreds of thousands of workers from China, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines between 1850 and 1930.

Wily plantation owners diversified their labor force intentionally, so that the laborers could not effectively organize against them.   Nevertheless, a unique language evolved–pidgin, which is a hybrid language that combines Hawaiian, English, Chinese, Japanese and Portuguese vocabulary and grammar.  Naturally, a new cuisine ensued as well; the ethnically diverse workers would bring their food to share with their co-workers at lunchtime, and soon, dumplings found their way into ramen, Portuguese donuts popped up everywhere, and yes, SPAM earned some respect on sushi.

A Hawaiian Plate Lunch is simply an amalgamation of that lunchtime ritual.  A true plate lunch consists of two scoops of white rice (not one), a large scoop of macaroni salad, and a protein item.   The protein item could be anything from Kalua pig (Hawaiian pulled pork),  to grilled Korean BBQ chicken.  It may seem like an all out carb-fest by some measures, however, the flavor combinations are classic, and have worked for over a century.

Mochiko Cville is excited to re-create some of these flavors, and share them with the foodies of Charlottesville.

Here is an example of a plate lunch at Mochiko Cville:

Anatomy of a Chicken Katsu Plate Lunch
  1. Protein – Fried Chicken Katsu (Schnitzel)
  2. Starch #1 – Creamy Macaroni Salad (Mac Salad)
  3. Veggie #1 – Kimchi – Spicy, Pickled Korean Cabbage
  4. Starch #2 – Rice
  5. Veggie #2 – Sesame Watercress Salad
  6. Sauce – Tonkatsu Sauce – Japanese BBQ Sauce