MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII – After decades of being the best kept secret in the Marine Corps, the lid has been lifted on bag nasties — the burger and fries fast chow alternative for Marines on the go, on the rifle range, or on the heels of a three-day bender — and they are finally getting their due.
Foodies from all over descended upon the Oahu installation this week to taste for themselves, after an Instragam selfie taken of Lance Cpl. Evan Waylon with chef Taia Keoni went viral.
The picture, taken on Sep. 19, featured a severely hungover and glassy-eyed Waylon holding up his government issued Happy Meal, as Keoni beamed with pride beside him. By Monday morning, the photo had reportedly broken the internet.
“I hadn’t even gone to bed yet!” Waylon slurred. “I got hammered in Waikiki the night before, and just got dropped off at the chow hall. Keoni’s the fuckin’ man.”
Representatives from multiple food publications joined members of 3rd Battalion 3rd Marines, which was returning from Pohakuloa Training Area at Tuesday’s noon chow rush, as the line stretched out the door and halfway down Selden Street. One critic described the meal as "being everything anyone with sound taste buds and cognizance of a healthy lifestyle could wish for."
Another simply said "revolutionary."
Reports indicate at least three publications were interested in securing Keoni’s recipe, but Clean Eating made the most sense to Kaneohe’s newest celebrity chef.
“I only use da finest ingredients, brah,” he said “I mean, da boys can go anywhere for a flat cheeseburger, but they here every day at 11:30. What does that tell you, bruddah?”
A formal ceremony on the base flight line is scheduled for Friday with Hawaii State Sen. Mazie Hirono, who will present Keoni with gift vouchers to Honolulu’s Loco Moco Burger, as well as a symbolic key to the base's front gate.
In addition to his recipe being featured, Keoni will bare all so to speak, allowing the magazine into his kitchen to photograph and detail the preparation of his much-lauded delicacy.
It’s been a whirlwind last couple of days for the long time Anderson Hall chef.
Keoni says he has already been fielding job offers from high end restaurants in New York and Chicago. He laughs at the notion of bag nasties sharing menu space with filet mignon and lobster; but not because the thought is audacious.
“I think da mainland people ready for something different.” He proclaimed. “It’s da kine, you know?”