Perfect Day: Local Living with Hawaii Five-0's Brian Yang
I'm a foodie and when traveling I love to try anything that I can’t get at home. Whether it's food or a social event, I want to experience life from a local's perspective. When in Hawaii, give me surf, give me hikes and give me Spam. Oahu is great because it's the perfect blend of remote and metropolitan. In a single day, you can go on a gorgeous hike, a horseback ride, be a on remote beach on the North Shore and then be back in Honolulu dining at a world class restaurant and enjoying the nightlife. If I wasn’t staying at a friend’s place, I’d stay at the Hilton Hawaiian. They have spacious rooms, a great private pool and unbelievable service.
The activities not to be missed
1. The Diamond Head Crater hike is not too difficult and gives you a pretty spectacular view of the city.
2. Polo is played on Oahu on the North Shore on Sundays. One of the few polo fields on Earth that’s next to a beach. Sipping champagne and nibbling Spam is a good way to spend the afternoon.
3. If you play golf, Turtle Bay is a breathtaking course - the majority of it is right on the ocean.
The places you should definitely see
1. Lanikai Beach in Kailua. Regarded as the best beach on Oahu. Waikiki Beach is where visitors go, but Lanikai is the best.
2. A scenic drive up Diamond Head into Kahala. You get to stop and have a cliff-side view of the ocean and then continue on to see an amazing community of homes.
3. Dillingham Ranch on the North Shore. It's a historic piece of property with amazing history where you can go sky diving or horseback riding. "Be diligent, Dillingham."
My most memorable moment here
I have all sorts of great memories here including getting to see my favorite band of all time - Hall & Oates - in concert, but it goes without saying that the day I was booked on Hawaii Five-0 was most special of all. I was playing golf on one of many of Oahu’s pristine courses when I got the call, and though my round went downhill from there, I was on cloud nine.
My favorite places to eat
1. Helena’s: World famous short ribs featured on Man vs. Food. I wish it were a buffet.
2. The Pig & The Lady: You can only find them at the farmer’s markets for now (4 or 5 a week), but always worth the hunt. They switch up the menu, but any banh mi sandwich they make is always divine.
3. Side Street Inn: This place is local hotspot and gets super crowded, but if you have the time, it’s worth your wait. Kim chee fried rice, pork chops, chicken gizzards...Hawaiians know how to eat!
My hidden gems
1. Hawaiian International Film Fest: In October, HIFF is one of my favorite festivals because their programmer, Anderson Le, finds the best gems from around the world that you might not otherwise see. In addition, EuroCinema Hawaii started a few years ago and plays as part of HIFF, giving the island yet another eclectic twist.
2. First Fridays: Unknown to most visitors, head down to the Chinatown area for what amounts to be a giant pub crawl.
The most romantic thing you can do here
Sit back and enjoy the sunset on Magic Island in Ala Moana Park. Capture the sun as it’s going down from there, post it and just watch how many romantic comments you’ll get.
The place I'm most excited to go to next is Australia! I’ve never been even though it's only 10 hours away from Hawaii!