Half of the design team behind clothing lines Fighting Eel and Ava Sky, fans of which include Rihanna, Rachel McAdams and Emma Stone, Lan Chung has lived on Oahu for most of her life. Chung relocated from Vietnam in Grade 2 and her life continues to grow here: Fighting Eel has four stores on Oahu. The clothing line for women and children is both manufactured and sold in Hawaii. But it’s not all abut business for Chung: “The best part of Hawaii in general and Honolulu, in particular, is the warmth of the people and a general sense of aloha or love that you feel when you are here. For us, ‘aloha’ is not just a word, it’s more a way of life.” Here, her perfectly stylish itinerary for an ideal day in Honolulu.
Breakfast of champions
As a mom, Chung mostly breakfasts at home, but given the option, she’d start the day at the Bogarts on Monsarrat Avenue. “It is a small cafe, and has the yummiest food,” she says. Mama’s fried rice with eggs, corn, asparagus, spinach and mushroom, with a cup of matcha, is her order of choice.
Stroll in stunning scenery
After breakfast, ease into the day at Open Space Yoga for a vinyasa flow or yin/yang class followed by a stroll in Diamond Head Park. “It has such beautiful scenery, so lush and so close to the beach,” Chung says. “Some visitors to Hawaii have no idea of the many beautiful and amazing hikes we have here. You can get breathtaking views from mountain tops and of waterfalls.”
Top of Chung’s list is Kaimuki Superette, a casual eatery and market specializing in foods from local farmers and ranchers. “I love it because they use fresh, local, and organic ingredients when possible. I always order their antipasti sampler, which consists of five vegetarian antipasti, usually seasonal veggies, grilled or sautéed,” she says.
‘There are lots of places to grab a Mai Tai, but the Royal Hawaiian hotel serves theirs right on the beach’
Life’s a beach
In Honolulu you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to pristine beaches, but Chung’s favourite is Waimanalo, the longest, uninterrupted stretch of white sand with turquoise waters, backed by ironwood trees to provide plenty of shade. “The sand is soft, and water is so pristine. You can stay in the water forever,” she says.
Chung’s order is a Mai Tai at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, which is the birth place of the famous libation: “While there are lots of places to grab a Mai Tai that look out onto the Pacific, the Royal Hawaiian hotel serves theirs literally right on the beach.”
“These days, I like something a little more casual and I definitely recommend Moku Kitchen on Kapiolani Boulevard. The vibe is great, everyone is always happy. I love the watercress salad and free-range chicken wings — and the Hamakua mushroom pizza is a must!”
The cherry on a perfect day in Honolulu for Chung would be listening to some jazz at an iconic spot. “I’d wind down the day with something mellow, listen to some jazz at Lewer’s Lounge in Halekulani Hotel over one of their great cocktails!”