World’s largest loco moco sets record at rice festival (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

World’s largest loco moco sets record at rice festival (Honolulu Star Advertiser)

Source: Honolulu Star Advertiser

By Michael Tsai

The smell of greatness was in the air Sunday.

Greatness being, on this most unusual occasion, an ungodly amount of rice, hamburger, eggs and gravy layered one atop the other in a wooden vessel the size of an animal pen.

In keeping with its tradition of going big with the grain, the Fifth Annual Rice Festival set a Guinness World Record with the construction of the world’s largest loco moco at the event grounds on Auahi Street fronting Ward Warehouse.

The Rice Festival also holds the Guinness World Record for largest spam musubi (286 pounds), set in 2011.

With no previous mark on record, Guinness World Records set a standard of 1,100 pounds for qualification. Chef Hide­aki “Santa” Miyo­shi of Tokkuri Tei restaurant and a band of enthusiastic volunteers exceeded the mark by producing a loco moco that weighed in at a fork-dropping 1,126 pounds.

The record-setting dish was composed of more than 600 pounds of rice, 200 pounds of ground beef, 300 scrambled eggs and 200 pounds of gravy and took 3 1⁄2 hours to prepare.

Nearby Dave & Buster’s donated the rice and opened its kitchen for Miyo­shi and his crew.

The accomplished chef said he eats loco mocos often but had never before prepared one himself.

“I eat them at Zippy’s all the time,” he said, laughing.

Rob McConaghy, 62, of Bellingham, Wash., declared the massive mountain of food “pretty amazing.”

McConaghy was celebrating his grandson Braden’s 10th birthday with a family visit to the festival.

Braden looked at the carb-heavy concoction appraisingly before confirming that, yes, he’d definitely eat that.

Over the years, Guinness World Records has officially recognized a number of Hawaii-based bids for immortality, from Kala Kaiwi’s world’s largest nonsurgically made stretch earlobe holes to DFS Hawaii’s world’s largest coffee mosaic (5,642 cups of coffee tiled in the image of Elvis Pres­ley). But Sunday’s accomplishment had a uniquely local flavor.

The classic dish of hot white rice, hamburger patty, over-easy egg and brown gravy was first served up in the late 1940s in Hilo, though people disagree as to whether it originated in the kitchen of Lincoln Grill, May’s Fountain or Cafe 100.

It has since become standard fare in diners around the state, beloved as a stick-to-your-ribs (and your arteries) comfort food and a measuring stick of local identity.

Mary Dixon, 76, of the downtown area stopped to take a photo of the mega-moco under construction.

Dixon said she’s lived in Hawaii for 28 years but has yet to sample a loco moco. Something about the runny egg yolk and gravy.

“That’s probably why I haven’t had one,” Dixon said, laughing.

The record-setting dish was donated to several local charitable organizations for distribution to the homeless, according to organizer Lincoln Jacobe.

Saturday’s accomplishment was not without controversy, however, as loco moco purists in the crowd crimped their noses at the use of scrambled rather than over-easy eggs.

“If you order at a restaurant, they ask how you want your egg,” offered a conciliatory Cesar Panon­cillo, 47, of Kai­muki. “So I guess it’s a preference. Some people might like it scrambled.”

The event also marked the ascension of a new Spam musubi eating champion as 23-year-old Randy Jave­losa unseated four-time champion Ron Lee.

Javelosa, who rode his bicycle all the way from his job at Star Protection Agency near the airport to get to the competition, gobbled seven spam musubi in two minutes flat to take the title.

“I just tried to scarf it down and keep it down,” said Jave­losa, who won a year’s worth of free rice for his victory.

Lee, a 47-year-old Li­liha resident, took the loss in stride.

“I’ll be back next year,” he said.