Mar 01, 2018
Inside The Dish: Agu’s Innovative Hot Mess Ramen
You'd be easily forgiven if you thought pairing fistfuls of parmesan cheese and loads of garlic to a bowl of steaming ramen noodles sounded sacrilegious.
We totally get it. Ramen was perfect just the way it was. But go ahead, take a few bites. Bask in the glory of the way the flakes of salty cheese dance and melt within the deeply rich broth. While it may seem wrong, trust us on this one, this dish is oh-so right. Welcome to Agu's Innovative Hot Mess ramen.
Founded by Hisashi "Teddy" Uehara, Agu has quickly become a staple in the Honolulu restaurant scene renowned for their expertise in the Japanese noodle game. While dishes like their spicy tonkotsu ramen, shoyu ramen, or their expertly cooked gyoza are all amazing in their own right, we're die-hard Hot Mess fans and grab it whenever we can at their Ward Centre location.
Let's dive a bit deeper into the dish, shall we? To begin, the team at Agu take chewy specialty made Sun noodles, a savory garlic broth that's been cooking for hours, and add char sui, aji tamago (marinated egg) bamboo shoots, sesame seeds, and green onion. And then, of course, the aforementioned cheese, and garlic chips to complete the dish. Here's an insider's secret: If you want to take it to the next level, add a side order of rice to the broth to create a risotto-style dish that will leave you weak in the knees.
So just how did this decidedly delicious come to be? As it turns out, like many a culinary marvel, it was an accident. According to Honolulu Magazine, the innovative dish arose out of necessity. In restaurant kitchens, it's common for chefs to whip up their own quick meals while they work using ingredients that they have handy. In Japan, this term is known as makanai ryori. One night, while working on the makanai ryori, for good measure, Teddy added parmesan cheese to the flavorful koterri broth, along with a side of rice, and let his staff taste-test the dish for dinner. The result was legendary. By adding the rich flavors of the cheese, he created one of the most delicious bowls of ramen we've ever had. Hands down.
When the dish made its way onto the menu, customers understandably fell in love with the flavor profiles and sheer fun of it. It's since become one of Agu's most popular ramens and the restaurant just earned massive praise at this year's Hale Aina awards, where it was dubbed the best Japanese Noodle in the city. As the world's fascination for ramen grows, Teddy has been busy exporting his praised Agu restaurants to the mainland, with locations opening recently as far away as Texas. As it turns out, even hungry patrons in Texas have embraced the dish and tipped their hats at both the pluck and deliciousness of Agu's now-famous Hot Mess.
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