Text By
Naz Kawakami
Images By
Kainoa Reponte and Skye Yonamine

Man About Town

Grant Fukada throwing a shaka in aloha print shirt

Grant Fukuda, an accomplished skateboarder, DJ, and the owner of Golden Hawaii Barbershop in Kaimukī, shares his perfect day in Honolulu.

Growing up in Hawai‘i in the ’70s and ’80s in Pālolo, a valley carved out of the Ko‘olau mountain range that opens up onto the neighborhood of Kaimukī, Grant Fukuda spent his days skateboarding and digging through crates of vinyl records for his local favorites. Since then, Fukuda has channeled his eclectic interests into successful businesses, founding Grant’s Golden Brand Pomade in 2009 and Kaimukī’s Golden Hawaii Barbershop in 2017. Fukuda has watched O‘ahu change dramatically over the decades, and while some of his favorite places are no longer around, they’ve been replaced with new ones. We caught up with Fukuda to find out what he considers a perfect day on his home island.

Grant Fukuda is a founder of Golden Hawaii Barbershop in Kaimukī. Fukuda’s favorite places to frequent are rich in local flavor with hints of nostalgia.

9 a.m.: Breakfast in Kaimukī
Kaimukī is Fukuda’s favorite neighborhood, and in recent years, he’s been happy to witness its economic resurgence—especially its new abundance of coffee and breakfast spots. He likes to start his day at Kaimuki Superette, which is located on Waialae Avenue between 9th and 10th avenues. Fukuda’s favorite dish is the hapa fried rice, a delectable heap of steamed rice fried with Portuguese sausage, tatsoi, and mixed greens, topped with avocado and two poached eggs. For his morning coffee, Fukuda has a couple of favorites too. “Coffee Talk is a neighborhood staple where I used to do homework,” he says, and he likes the pour-over coffee at The Curb. Both are within a few blocks of his breakfast stop.
The hapa fried rice from Kaimuki Superette.
10:30 a.m.: Surf session on the south shore
After a hearty breakfast and a caffeine jolt, some mid-morning surfing is in order. For a leisurely beach day, Fukuda heads north to his childhood favorite beach, Ka‘a‘awa, which promises perfect sand and warm water. But when it comes to waves, he often heads to the surf break Rice Bowls in Waikīkī. “If conditions are right, you’re guaranteed some time in the greenroom,” he says, which is surfer slang for the sweet spot within a perfect, barreling wave.
1 p.m.: Lunch at Kalihi’s hidden gem, Palace Saimin
After a hearty breakfast and a caffeine jolt, some mid-morning surfing is Having worked off the fried rice and coffee, Fukuda recharges at Palace Saimin, a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant that is one of King Street’s best-kept secrets. “I get an extra-large order of their saimin, always with extra mustard,” he says, “but you can’t go wrong with the wonton saimin either.” Palace Saimin has been in business for more than 70 years, and it isn’t hard to see why. “Great prices, great portions,” Fukuda explains, “and I love the space, from the seating to the price sign to their local neighborhood customers.”
2 p.m.: Classic vinyl from Honolulu’s vintage stores
Fukuda isn’t afraid to get his fingers dusty sifting through crates of vinyl records. In fact, he’s an avid collector of Hawaiian and slack-key records—the walls of his barbershop are even decorated with the covers of his favorite albums. For the thriftiest finds, Fukuda recommends exactly that: your local thrift store. “You have to realize people are throwing out their entire collections to these stores,” Fukuda says. Prices are usually between $2 and 50 cents. “For vinyl junkies like myself, finding the diamonds for pennies is what makes the hunt most satisfying.” Fukuda has made his favorite finds at the Windward City Shopping Center Goodwill in Kāne‘ohe.
Chips, salsa, and a round of margaritas
Chips, salsa, and a round of margaritas at Los Chaporros.
5:30 p.m.: A solo sunset
As the day winds down, Fukuda likes to take a moment to relax with the company of a golden dusk. At sunset, you can find him perched on a roadside wall at Diamond Head lookout or sitting on a west-facing bench at Ala Moana Beach Park. Or he may be on the east side of the island, high up on the cliffs. “I like to watch the sunset from spots like Portlock,” he says.
7 p.m.: Margarita nightcaps with friends
At the end of a long day of surfing, eating, and scoring Kalapana’s entire discography for less than a tenner, there’s only one thing left for Fukuda to do, and that is have a drink. The spot of the evening is Los Chaporros on Beretania Street, where the margaritas are delicious, the prices are great, and a burrito could feed a whole table. However, what really makes the night for Fukuda are the friends and family with whom he spends it.
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