Thursday, November 4, 2010

THE Mac Salad


THIS is what you were expecting when you took your first bite of mac salad on the mainland.  But it is not what you got.

Instead, the sickly sweet hyper-tang collides with your now instantly bummed out taste buds and you try to smile mid-conversation 'cause no one eats mac salad alone, for it is a social delicacy.  You smile like you ate something you actually meant to in an attempt to hide your pervasive cringe because it was like someone took a pickle, dipped it in mayonnaise, topped it with a noodle and shoved it in your mouth.  Except it was all on your own accord.  You let this happen.  On your own watch.

You try to figure out what you're gonna do with the previously assumed as tasty mound of mac salad that, yes, is already starting to pollute the rice on your plate.  The meat is next.  So you sacrifice a few grains of rice building a barrier around the "mac salad" in hopes of saving the rest of the food on your plate.  Don't worry, it's worth it.  But those are grains of rice you will never get back.

What's that?  You're not from Hawaii?  Oh, so mac salad is supposed to taste like that?  Why would I eat a noodle-based side with rice, you ask?  Is that a serious question?  What high school did YOU go to?*

If this stuff is what defines an American classic, consider me un-American.

This is not the mustard-laden vinegary sugar pickle shit you buy in your grocer's deli island.  When it comes to mac salad, I am not one to relish in relish. 

For those of you outta the know, Zippy's is a popular Hawaiian chain that serves up plate lunches, great fried chicken, awkward spaghetti, and, of course, mac salad.

After a lot of research I feel confident when I say I have cracked Zippy's mac salad recipe.  I don't trust the dozens of recipes floating out there that call for boiled eggs, tuna, vinegar, etc and still claim to be "Hawaiian" -- especially when they came from some haole on the mainland.  While you are welcome to add those, you will be missing out on the subtly of simplicity.

Hawaiian Style Mac Salad, like Zippy's
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 cup mayonnaise, to start (Best Foods brand recommended -- but anything's fine as long as it's real full fat mayo)
1/4 cup milk (optional depending on how thick you like your dressing)
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 an onion, grated
1 stalk of celery, grated
2 carrots, shredded/grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
many twists of freshly ground black pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare elbow macaroni for the maximum cooking time as directed.  For example, if it calls for the noodles to be boiled for 8-10 minutes, boil them for 10 minutes.  Al dente noodles only get more dente when chilled.

Cool to room temperature and place in refrigerator for at least two hours, or until cold.  This can be done overnight.

In a large mixing bowl, stir mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, grated onion, grated celery, and milk (if using) until completely incorporated.

Fold in carrots.

Fold in chilled macaroni and stir so that every noodle is entrenched in mayo-y goodness.

Cover and chill in refrigerator for six hours or preferably overnight.

The next morning, stir salad.  You will probably want to add more mayo at this point, and please do so.

Add more salt and pepper to taste.

Kalua Pig and Mac Salad.  Did not find each other on

Serve with the following recommended pairings:
Kettle Chips, preferably Salt & Pepper flavor, as a vehicle to dip into the mac salad
Budweiser or Heineken, just like home
Kalua Pig (recipe forthcoming)
Any form of BBQed meat with rice

*The high school one attends on Oahu is of utmost importance in determining how to most accurately pass judgment on an individual based on sweeping generalizations associated with their respective high school.  These stereotypes include but are not limited to: socio-economic standing, race, intelligence, and the ability to dominate physically; ie, "Barack Obama attended Punahou High School, therefore he thinks he's better than everybody."

1 comment:

  1. googled mac salad zippy's "grated onion", and got to your site, and smiled and laughed. as a local girl now living in the bay area, boy I miss some good 'ol hawaii style mac salad. up here in cali, yes, it's the sugary pickly vinegary crap, yuck, yuck. i went to a hawaii party up here, and the mac salad dish was made by a non-hawaii wife, who loves hawaii, but has no clue about hawaii style mac salad. she brought a huuuuuuge bowl, and bless her heart, but it had pickles, vinegar, and raisins, and apples... really? i think the "locals" looked at it with much sadness, like we were mourning at a potluck. LOL.

    great recipe post, thank you!!! how come no more journal entries, been reading through your posts and enjoy them.