The Hawaiian Dish That's A Full Lunch Served On A Single Plate

Out of all the places on Earth, most people have probably expressed their wish to spend their holidays in Hawaii, that famous archipelago consisting of 19 islands. There's so much to do in Hawaii and many places to see and visit, such as Waikiki Beach, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kona coffee plantations, and Hanauma Bay. Hawaii is famous for its beautiful beaches and diving spots (via Holiday Parrots). And when you're not sightseeing and visiting popular tourist spots, there's so much traditional Hawaiian food to taste in the meantime. 

There's the frozen treat called shave ice; the Haupia pie, consisting of a pie crust, coconut milk, and whipped cream; or loco moco, a comforting dish consisting of white rice, meat patties, fried eggs, and gravy. You're probably already familiar with poke, the delicious Hawaiian salad consisting of raw fish or seafood and an array of accompaniments served in a bowl (per Hawaii Magazine). 

And if you expected to see the pineapple-topped Hawaiian pizza on this list, think again. This pizza originates from Canada, where it was invented by a Greek man named Sotirios Panopoulos, who immigrated to Canada in 1954. But there's no need to worry because you can try one other dish that's associated with Hawaii more than any other.

Plate lunch consists of white rice, macaroni salad, and a protein of choice

Eater reports that a meal called plate lunch is the most authentic Hawaiian dish, representing the melting pot of Hawaiian cultures on a single plate. This inexpensive and hearty meal is served in restaurants and street food vendors across the state, and the components of the meal are ever-changing. What remains the same, however, is the macaroni salad and two scoops of white rice.

The proteins change, so you can expect authentic Hawaiian dishes accompanying your mayonnaise-based mac salad and rice, such as loco moco; Spam musubi, consisting of Spam slices, rice, and nori sheets; and kalua pork, made by slow-cooking pork shoulder. You may also find chicken or pork katsu breaded cutlets or the juicy salmon teriyaki. 

New York Times revealed that the plate lunch dates back to the 1880s when fruit and sugar companies served food to their workers, who came over from places like China, Japan, and Portugal. The workers first ate from bento boxes, and those were replaced with plates or plastic foam containers with little compartments in them, hence the name of the meal.

A lot of time has passed since then, and the plate lunch lives on, proving its cultural significance and showing how different cultures can share their food and enjoy different flavors on just one plate.