In Hawaii, people absolutely LOVE the plate lunch. A Hawaiian plate lunch always consists of some kind of meat dish (poke, lau lau, kalua, or my July 4th BBQ chicken :D) served with two scoops of sticky Japanese-style rice and macaroni salad. The macaroni salad has a cult following; it's different from our mainland macaroni salad in that the dressing, mayonnaise-based like ours, is thinned with milk, and the pasta is cooked until VERY soft, which helps the macaroni absorb the dressing.
The key to Hawaiian macaroni salad is all in the dressing; the only vegetables typically added are carrots and celery, just enough to give a bit of crunch. The dressing is mayonnaise-based, ALWAYS using Best Foods/Hellmann's mayonnaise, thinned with milk, soured with a bit of cider vinegar, and sweetened with brown sugar.
Highly addicting and FULL of flavor, this macaroni would easily be at home here in the Deep South amidst some pork ribs or pulled pork sandwiches! For my fellow Southerners, surely shaking their head at me suggesting a macaroni salad not made with Duke's and filled with crunchy bits of red onion, hear me out - the dressing on the Hawaiian salad? It's almost a dead ringer for Alabama white BBQ sauce!
Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
adapted from Cook's Country
1 lb elbow macaroni
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups whole or 2% milk, divided (skim or 1% is just too thin)
1 Tbsp brown sugar
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled & grated
1 celery stalk, minced
Salt & pepper
Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 1 Tbsp salt and the macaroni; cook until VERY soft, about 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot; add the cider vinegar and toss until absorbed. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together 1 1/2 cups of the milk, 1 cup of the mayonnaise, the brown sugar, 1/2 tsp of salt and 2 tsp pepper.