What do you do if you’ve got 48 hours to spend in Hilo and have a tiny toddler companion tagging along for the trip? Actually, lots. First thing, it’s Hilo, so expect wet weather. Drizzles and rain is part of the small town Hilo charm.
We showed up at Agu Ramen, the original location on Isenberg at the Saint Louis Alumni Association, about an hour after they opened on a random Tuesday. They already had a 30 minute wait going. Not picky, we told the hostess that we would sit anywhere…table, bar…just get us that ramen. That thirty minute wait actually turned out to be just 10 minutes, and we were shuttled to the bar, bypassing those who had requested a table. Score.
According to owner Lori Tanigawa, the menu at Hamura’s Saimin Stand hasn’t changed much since her grandparents began selling saimin out of their car in 1951.
The Hawaiian islands might be in the middle of a summer heat wave, but really, is there such thing as a bad time for ramen? I don’t think so. Having been to Goma Tei on numerous occasions (probably a bazillion times), it was time to try out a few new joints. Golden Pork and Agu Ramen Bistro are two ramen bars that I’ve consistently been hearing a lot about. There was no need to flip a coin. Golden Pork was the nearest and so Golden Pork it was.
Lucky Belly or Downbeat Diner? It took us two days to decide, but eventually, we chose to indulge in ramen from Lucky Belly. Located on North Hotel Street, Lucky Belly is part of a new wave of restaurants that has been invading Downtown Honolulu. When I first walked in and took a look at the menu, I was reminded of David Chang’s immensely popular Momofuku Noodle Bar in New York City’s East Village. Think indulgent pork belly bao, gyoza, and, of course, irresistible ramen.