When I was in Hawaii last month, on the days I didn’t have shave ice for breakfast, I opted for big, savory grain bowls. Typically built upon a base of rice seasoned with furikake, a kickass Japanese umami seasoning, these grain bowls are definitely not something you could pick up at Sweetgreen. You have to DIY (or, y’know, hop on a plane to Hawaii) to make them good. On top of the seasoned rice there was always bed of greens and herbs. Sometimes the greens were a classic like spinach, but others were more exciting—the fried rice breakfast bowl at Kaimuki Superette was covered with tatsoi, a leafy brassica. The grain bowls were studded with poached or soft-boiled eggs, briny pickles, sliced sausage or ahi, and sometimes, a big scoop of spicy kimchi. If you’re finding yourself adrift in a sea of pastries and sweet porridge, now is the time to switch to a grain bowl like they do in Hawaii.
Cook 1 cup of grains according to the package directions or your preferred method. While most of the grain bowls I had in Hawaii were rice, (try jasmine, brown, basmati—anything), quinoa, farro, buckwheat, or any other grain will work wonders as long as they’re cooked well. After the grains have cooked and are still warm, stir in 2 tablespoons furikake. You’ll have more grains than needed for one bowl—and that sounds to me like you’ve got a base for breakfast for the next few days.
While the eggs are poaching, cook a few slices of bacon, or two sausage links. You can go with a mild breakfast sausage, or get funky with spicy pork linguiça or gamey lamb merguez. Many of the grain bowls I had in Hawaii came with soft ahi tuna—definitely try that if you’re feeling it. While I didn’t encounter any places that offered Spam in their breakfast bowls, I’d definitely recommend you lean into the Hawaii aesthetic and try cubed, lightly pan-fried Spam in a bowl as well.
Throw a tangle of leafy greens into a saucepan and saute with sesame oil and garlic until just wilted.
Begin to build the bowl. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the seasoned grains into the bottom of a bowl. Add the bacon, sausage, or tuna, greens, and eggs. Nestle in a handful of pickled vegetables and a scoop of kimchi if you have them on hand. Drizzle toasted sesame oil and shower with sesame seeds to finish.