Origins Of Plate Lunch - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

November 27, 2002

Origins Of Plate Lunch

Teri plate two times, extra salad, gravy over all. Those are phrases you'll only hear in Hawaii and they all relate to the plate lunch.

You'll find them in all kinds of shapes and sizes. They usually include a main entree piled high with two scoopes of rice and macaroni salad. No one's really sure how the plate lunch came to be. University of Hawaii ethnic studies professor Jon Okamura says it probably grew out of the Japanese bento.

"Because bentos were take away kinds of eating and certainly the plate lunch continues that tradition," says Okamura.

But Okamura rejects the argument that the plate lunch is somehow linked to Hawaii being a melting pot where everyone gets along.

"Eating a plate lunch doesn't necessarily bring people together because that can be a solitary act. It happens thousands of times every day. People go to a drive in and order a plate lunch but you don't necessarily sit down together, like I'm sitting down with you, and share a meal," says Okamura.

People who love their plate lunches don't much care about that.

"It's some of the best food in the world I think. You can get everything here," says Toshi Hussey-Oshiro of Manoa.

"What my plate lunch means to me is I feel good but my wife probably going see this and tell me ah you busted, you not supposed to be eating all the high cholesterol stuff," says Klyde Kaimana of Kailua. 

Finding your favorite plate lunch is never a problem. You can stand in line here or step right across the street and order anything you want. It is uniquely hawaii. Something those of us who leave the islands can't wait to get home and order.

The mixed plate and boneless chicken plate are reasons why we are so lucky we live Hawaii.

"Then you got to go down the street for dessert. You know where that is huh. Puff-a-sadas at Leonards. But, I busted right now, I not supposed to be telling you that," laughs Kaimana.

That could easily be another Lucky You Live Hawaii feature. The malasada or puff-a-sada. 

If you know of a person, place, or thing that makes us all lucky we live Hawaii, we'd like to share them with the rest of our viewers. Send Lyle your suggestion by e-mail.

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