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Who stay get da’ best Mac’ Salad?

One of my friends on FB posted that question tonight, proclaiming L & L get da’ best. Others mentioned Bob’s BBQ, Rainbow Drive In, Manago Hotel (with Tuna) and Verna’s Drive In, where eva’ that is.

Personally, I’m sticking with this AWESOMELY SIMPLE recipe from the late Waianae Drive Inn, courtesy of AlohaWorld.com (where you’ll find many more GREAT local recipes!)…

WAIANAE DRIVE INN MACARONI SALAD RECIPE

Ingredients:
Large Macaroni
1/4 cup grated carrots
1 cup Best Foods mayonnaise (a must)
1/4 cup milk (also a MUST!)
salt & pepper

Cooking Instructions:
Cook macaroni till tender. Add grated carrots, mayonnaise, and milk till well coated. Salt & Pepper to taste.

As noted, Waianae Drive Inn’s Mac’ Salad recipe is kept simple. Definitely no peas, oh GOD no peas in Mac’ Salad! No Tuna. No celery. No kitchen sink. Just some grated carrots for color and a slight flavor contrast and that’s it. The trick is not only that you use Best Foods (Hellman’s) Mayonnaise, but that you use a dash of MILK. The milk gives it that sought-after creaminess and smoothed finish. Plus, Mac’ Salad has to have a good balance of mayonnaise to mac, where it’s not drowning in it, nor not too dry either. Jusssssss’ right!


Joe’s Lunch Wagon Mac Salad

Richie’s Drive In Mac Salad


Dean’s Drive Inn Mac Salad

Kanak Attack Mac Salad

Diner E’s Potato Mac Salad

Nico’s Macaroni Salad

Zippy’s Hamburger Steak Plate Lunch (entree, 2 scoops rice and mac salad, of course)

30 thoughts on “Who stay get da’ best Mac’ Salad?

  • October 27, 2013 at 3:38 am
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    Pomai, I thought they put onion powder in it so I make own and some onion powder also in in mine at home. But never less drive inns mac salads taste pretty good still.

    Reply
    • November 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm
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      whats the recipe? They got the best mac salad i ever had!!! hands down!!!

      Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 7:15 am
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    @ Amy – Hmmm, onion powder. Never thought of that as a “secret ingrediment”. While using just a very little amount, I’ll have to try that!

    Diner E discovered that the “secret ingrediment” to Omiya’s “special sauce” in their “supah local style” teriburgers was mayonnaise not mixed with ketchup, but mayo’ mixed with TOMATO PASTE. A-ha!!!

    @ pat- Keoki’s and Sueoka’s, check! I’ll definitely put that on my to-do list on my next Garden Isle hop. Have you ever been to Po’s Kitchen? We’re talking HARDCORE Okazuya style there!

    Po's Kitchen Okazuya Plate
    Po’s Kitchen (Lihue, Kauai) – “Deluxe” Okazuya box lunch: (clockwise from top left) Shoyu Hot Dog, Teri’ Meat (Beef), Corned Beef Hash, Egg, Ham, Musubi (2), Shrimp Tempura (2), Fried Chicken (wings; 2), Tsukemono (cabbage), Salad (spaghetti “mac sal”) and Shoyu Long Rice. $7.95

    Po's
    Po’s Kitchen (Lihue, Kauai) – “Deluxe” Okazuya box lunch: (clockwise from top left) Shoyu Long Rice, Ham,, Corned Beef Hash, Teri’ Meat (Beef), Shoyu Hot Dog, Musubi (2), Shrimp Tempura (2), Fried Chicken (wings x2), Tsukemono (cabbage) and Salad (spaghetti “mac sal”). $7.95

    Notice da’ Mac’ Salad is made with spaghetti noodles. Po, you rebel you. lol

    Reply
    • October 27, 2013 at 7:27 am
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      Not only have i been there, but I gave Po your write up from the first time. She was very pleased. I like her salad but did not mention because she uses spaghetti noodles instead of macaroni.

      Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 10:34 am
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    Verna’s is in the Hilo area, they have several locations. Mac salad is one of those hit and miss things. Without proper quality control it can change every time you go there. Case in point… A place called Freddy’s in Hilo. Mom takes me there and I think the Mac salad is the best ever. Go back back several weeks later and it’s crap. I still want to try a kalo Mac salad but finding it hard to imagine the flavor profile. There are many different types of kalo and I have access to several thanks to the HCC hawaiiana ag program. But no like waste

    Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 12:00 pm
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    My daughter makes the best mac salad in the islands.
    Best eaten with teriyaki steak and rice. L&L has too many hands make it.
    1 hand wonder.
    Salamat Po

    Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 12:14 pm
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    I use onion powder in tuna salad but I use grated onion in my mac salad. There are a lot of people including kids that get turned off by pieces of onion in mac or potato salad. I grate it so you can’t see but you get that onion taste.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2013 at 7:02 pm
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      Grated onion is on point. The thing is if you talk to some locals they will say it turns too fast if you use fresh onion. Whatever… holding temp is 4 hours >33 to 140< After that all bets are off. I don't push it when I'm entertaining. Food gets dumped or to my own personal love canal. lol Yeah I'll push it for myself but damn if my guest are going to get sick from my food. Now… Who wants pickled eggs?!

      Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm
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    @ A.T. – I’d imagine the finely grated REAL onions would taste way better than onion powder. I’m even hesitant to use garlic salt,as it just has that “taste” like it’s fake. If there’s no real garlic, I’ll use it, otherwise, strictly the real deal.

    @ DCOhana – It really depends which L & L you go to. I swear, that’s one of the most inconsistent franchises on Oahu. Like, they recently started selling the “Hawaiian” Katsu Burger, even showcasing it on their website homepage, yet some locations don’t even know what that is, let alone sell it!

    @ Souza-San – Ah, Verna’s is in Hilo. Are you the same Souza that was going to Culinary School? I forget, as you haven’t commented for a while. Hawaiian Taro Mac Salad sounds VERY interesting! I’d LOVE to try that! Serve that with some Kalua Pig and Cabbage, and lomi salmon on da’ side, whoah winnahz, brah!

    @ pat – oh, that’s right. Now I remember you mentioning that from that Kauai grindz post. There’s so many posts on this blog now, I’m losing track.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2013 at 6:26 pm
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      Really good tuna salad or potato salad does indeed have grated (not mashed) onion or onion chopped to tiny cubes. . Take the added liquid into the equation.

      Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm
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    A poll has just been added titled “What are your Plate Lunch preferences?” Cast your votes! ;-)

    Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 3:32 pm
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    off topic but close. Tante’s at Kahului which has everything from plate lunches to big ribeyes, has a Okinawan Potato Salad that is just that. Potato salad made from sweet potato. My wife loves it.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm
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      pat,

      OMG, Okinawan Potato Salad? I. SO. MUST. TRY. THAT. STAT!!!

      Someone should try doing a “Hawaiian” potato medley salad, tossing steamed cubed russet potatoes, okinawan sweet potatoes, yams and kalo (Hawaiian wetland taro) all together with mayonnaise and milk, plus some select seasonings. I bet that would totally, totally ROCK!

      Reply
      • October 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm
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        The trick is the timing. Potato must be firm but cooked. so bra, no russet. If you think white salad potatoes lack the flavor of russet, use Yukons. They have the russet taste but the salad potato or red potato density. I believe yams are simply too soft, but could be added as a starch mix. You know how some people add a bit of mashed potato to the mayo as the secret ingredient.

        Reply
        • October 27, 2013 at 10:23 pm
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          Yukon, kalo, and okinawan sounds like the mix but I think new or baby reds might be better than Yukon. I got some down time so I’ll give it a go. Mom is coming down today so we’ll go shopping.

          Reply
  • October 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm
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    Oh yeah From triple D.

    2 cups of uncooked shell pasta
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1/2 cup sour cream
    1/8 cup cider vinegar
    1/8 cup sugar
    1/2 teaspoon pepper
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon garlic salt
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    1/2 bell pepper
    1/2 red onion
    1/4 shredded cheddar cheese

    Directions:

    1

    Boil and drain pasta- set aside to cool to room temperature.

    2

    Mix together in a bowl all of the ingredients except for the bell pepper, onion, and cheese.

    3

    Mix the sauce with the pasta.

    4

    Add in the chopped bell pepper, onion, and cheddar cheese.

    5

    Refrigerate and enjoy!

    Reply
  • October 28, 2013 at 7:08 am
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    I am just happy with Zippys mac salad. Always consistent.

    Reply
  • October 28, 2013 at 8:47 am
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    My vote is for the mac salad at Gracie’s Lunchwagon/Inn… lotsa good memories of lunchwagon eats at UH. Plus a ditto on Rainbow Drive Inn’s mac salad too!

    Reply
  • October 30, 2013 at 5:29 am
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    Does the mac salad really matter anymore? I like when it made with spaghetti noodles.

    Reply
    • October 30, 2013 at 8:57 am
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      I don’t think the kind of pasta used matters as much as the taste! I’ve had mac sald with spaghetti noodles, shells, big elbow, small elbow, fusilli, penne, even farfalle(bowtie). It’s all in the dressing! Me, I also like potato-mac and potato salad, too… but they gotta have big chunks of hard boiled eggs mixed in! mmmmmm getting hungry…..

      Reply
    • October 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm
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      If you use spaghetti, better with some potato. And the old places usually have a bit of onion, peas, and carrot slivers. Now days they really don’t seem to try. So the older places that hang on to the old recipes are better. The worst are the Korean: Mayo and noodles. Nothing else.

      Reply
      • October 30, 2013 at 6:40 pm
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        pat,

        Peas? As in Green Peas in Mac Salad? Seriously? Ack!!!!

        As for Korean Potato Salad, I LOVE IT! It has a unique sesame “twang” to it. However my favorite banchan is the Korean Shoyu Potatoes. OMG, when done right, the best!

        Arirang Korean style Potato Banchan

        Arirang Korean Potatoes Banchan

        Reply
        • October 30, 2013 at 7:33 pm
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          I totally agree on the potatoes. And did you know you can order double and triple on any side? This is important for take home. Because the potatoes are killer warmed up to food temp at dinner. Trust me.

          Reply
  • October 30, 2013 at 4:11 pm
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    My favorite mac salad is from J’s BBQ in Kakaako. Order a mini plate and you’ll get it instead of veggies.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 3:48 am
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    This holiday season why not try Kraft miniature marshmallows added to your mac salad for a taste treat the whole family is sure to enjoy. Gotta love the Kraft holiday cooking tips around the holidays.

    On a serious note there was a lady that used to use a ricer and rice up potato in here mac salad to give it some body. Pretty good.

    Reply
  • October 31, 2013 at 6:08 am
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    @ Souza-San – Hmmm, “riced” potatoes sounds like a GREAT idea! Sounds like it would almost be a mashed potato mixed with the mac, albeit a bit more texture to it. Nice!

    @ Joe – Never tried J’s BBQ yet. Thanks for the tip!

    @ pat – by ordering double or triple, you must mean of the 4 choices of banchan you typically get to choose at Korean takeouts, you can make it say, 3 servings of Shoyu Potatoes, and 1 serving of Kim Chee, right?

    @ Dean-San – I too like it with Spaghetti noodles, however as pat noted, that style should also have potatoes in the mix for some chunky texture. Man, this is getting deeper than I thought!

    @ Keith-San – Gracie’s Inn is another place I have yet to try. Thanks again for the tip!

    Reply
  • November 1, 2013 at 4:32 am
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    I hope Grace’s (I spelled the name wrong earlier) recipe hasn’t changed. But with all plate lunch mac salads, for me, it would get extra special when the juice from the teri-beef got mixed with the salad…. OMG, I’m dying for that now! LOL By the way, there were a few places here in the South where they take potato salad pretty seriously. The mac salad, surprisingly, not so much… it’s almost like they use coleslaw dressing on their mac salad… so it’s more tangy than sweet (maybe because they use pickle relish in it) but overall, it lacks the creaminess of Hawaii mac salads. But I freaked out my co-workers on one pot luck party when I made potato-mac salad… they couldn’t believe that you could mix the two together! They all wanted the recipe! One more thing, I don’t mind peas in the salad; I think it adds some color. (I know, heresy!) Shoot, they put peas and diced (not julienned / slivered) carrots in fried rice here on the mainland!

    Reply
  • January 21, 2014 at 12:36 pm
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    Sorry I’m so late to this post.. my favorite mac salad gotta be Heights drive inn in the aiea medical bldg. try in.. guarantee winnahz! :) thanks for all your great write ups!

    Reply

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