After all these years of enjoying the delicious food of Hawaii, I still don’t mind going to McDonald’s, because when I was growing up, McDonald’s was a luxury for my family, and something my sisters and I looked forward to.
Because there was a time when going to McDonald’s was a treat. Before the value menu. Before watchdogs blamed McDonald’s for America’s obesity. Even before the toys in the Happy Meals were marketing tools for the latest movie blockbuster. Eating McDonald’s in Hawaii was worth it because it offered items here that are still not available at any McDonald’s outside of the islands.
Once in a while, my family would take a drive to the Waipahu McDonald’s and there was really only two things that we would get for breakfast. The kids would split a platter of pancakes, or if there was enough money, we splurged for the Portuguese Sausage, Eggs and Rice for each of us.
I had a ritual too. Sprinkle the rice with pepper, then the rest of it on the eggs. Splash some Aloha Shoyu on the scrambled eggs, then on the rice. Forget that packet of salt. Didn’t want to get high blood pressure.
It’s crazy how much I loved eating that for breakfast, even though the sausages were a little on the rubbery side, scrambled eggs never looked like how my mom made them at home, and the rice sometimes was a little mushy. I may have eaten better versions of it at other more established breakfast places, but I still have an affection for McDonald’s take. Although I can’t see myself eating it every day, I can see myself eating it every day. Memories are the most savory thing to add to a dish, because it will keep you coming back for more. Plus memories are low in sodium and cholesterol.
Today, not only can you get that same meal, McDonald’s of Hawaii added a Spam, Eggs and Rice platter, due to the demand for Hawaii’s other favorite breakfast meat. And if you’re really hungry, you can get the Local Deluxe Platter, with both Spam and Portuguese Sausage.
The thing about McDonald’s, they could have settled with just doing that. However, they ventured further by adding Saimin to their menu. A Hawaiian take on ramen, McDonald’s saimin to me now reminds me of Cup O’ Noodles, but the cup has fresher noodles (frozen not fried and dried), uzumaki, strips of Spam, and a slice of dried nori, to soak into the broth. Today’s version replaced those Spam strips with char siu, and there’s egg now. I also think there used to be green onions in the mix too, but I can’t remember. I do remember that I had this saimin before I ever had a Cup O’ Noodles.
I haven’t had it for a long time, mainly because as I grew older, I’ve eaten saimin at a lot of places that upped my standards of what saimin should be. That’s inevitable whenever you go out to eat more often. But you can’t blame McDonald’s for doing it. It still can be a hearty meal. Add a burger from the dollar menu, and you can still eat well for under five bucks, I think. What’s even better is that it’s one of the few items at McDonald’s that’s pretty much available all day.
Finally, McDonald’s Hawaii offer two uniquely Hawaiian takes on their fried apple pie. There’s the Haupia Pie, with a creamy coconut pudding filling. I just recently tried the Taro Pie, made with diced bits of taro, in a purple sauce that made me feel like I was biting into the arm of Grimace. Grimace must taste delicious when deep fried.
And of course, while other places may have stalwart drinks like Mr. Pibb, Hawaii has the option of Fruit Punch. Mainlanders may think of Hawaiian Punch, but honestly NOBODY in Hawaii drinks Hawaiian Punch. We got much better juice choices than that.
Ordinarily I don’t think I’d recommend tourists to try a chain like McDonald’s as part of their itinerary, but McDonald’s Hawaii got it going on. And if you’re in Waikiki, your combo meal may also include a serving of pineapple. It really is a nice and very safe way to slide into the tastes of Hawaii.
But please remember – It’s only available in Hawaii.
Need to know where McDonald’s is in Hawaii? There’s choke of them.
What is Portuguese Sausage?
More info about Saimin