Each week, our My Top 5 series highlights a Houstonian who is shaping the culture of the city and making an out-sized impact on its character. In turn, each shares their own favorite things to do in Houston when not hard at work. This week, we’re very pleased to feature Hiashi Uehara, chef of AGU Ramen.
My Top 5 Things to Do in Houston
by Hiashi Uehara
- Houston hot spots – As a relative newcomer to Houston, I like to spend my time searching for the city’s hot spots. I’m surrounded by places and sights I’ve never seen before. I enjoy going to all the museums the city has to offer, some of my favorites being the Menil Collection, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and The Art Car Museum. I also love visiting NASA’s Control Center. I am a crazy Star Wars freak and love anything space related.
- Local BBQ – Just like Hawaii is famous for its plate lunches and shaved ice, Houston is renowned for its legendary BBQ. Since my big move to Texas, I have been to tons of BBQ spots, my favorites being Rudy’s, Killen’s, and the Brisket House. I have never tasted such authentic, rich and flavorful BBQ, Although I named a few favorites of mine, a man can never have too much BBQ, I am always on the hunt for new BBQ establishments to visit.
- Smither Park – While scouting for new locations I stumbled upon Smither Park, a colorful and artistic oasis in Houston’s East End. I was amazed by the incredible and intricate mosaics from various artists that decorate the park. If you visit on Saturdays you can watch the artists at work, creating magnificent pieces right in front of your eyes.
- The Japanese Garden at Hermann Park – Growing up on the islands of Okinawa and Hawaii, I find myself not being able to live without the essence of nature. Most of my youth was spent going down to the beach or hiking in the mountains. I’ve discovered a few parks nearby my home so I can still get my fix of the outdoors in a big city. While it may not be the beautiful beaches of Okinawa or Diamond Head in Honolulu, I really enjoy exploring Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden. It makes for a great getaway and also a great place for my son to play in and expend some energy.
- Dining around town – Along with continuing to expand AGU Ramen, I am also beginning to work on a Houston dining guidebook. Being a chef and having worked in the restaurant industry for some time now, I am becoming my own food critic. Working on this book is another way I am familiarizing myself with Houston culture, there is such a fantastic, diverse, and expansive dining scene that offers a wide variety of cuisine. One establishment I have revisited multiple times since I moved to Houston is Pappas Bros. Steakhouse, everything from the service to the perfectly executed dishes makes a guest feel like royalty. My staple for fresh baked goods is Common Bond, they have the best croissants in the city. Whether it be bigger restaurants or family run cafes, I find a sense of inspiration and freshness in my neighboring businesses. Houston is a whole new world of flavors that I can’t wait to taste.
About Chef Hiashi Uehara
After three years of international accolades and serving as a Hawaiian haven for Japanese comfort food with five Oahu locations spanning from Honolulu to Aiea, Chef Hiashi Uehara moved to Houston in 2016 to make AGU Ramen‘s mainland debut and begin national expansion. The endeavor began with three openings at the end of 2016, including locations at Washington Ave, Westchase, and the Energy Corridor. His approach to making ramen relies on time-honored and time-intensive mastery rarely utilized in the current wave of ramen fast casual restaurants. Stay tuned for more AGU locations opening in March and April at Sugar Land, Nassau Bay, and Katy.