Go Away With … Randall Park


By Jae-Ha Kim
Tribune Content Agency
October 11, 2016

When Randall Park was a student at UCLA, he thought about pursuing a career in academia. Thanks partially to some creative writing classes — in which he wrote a part for himself in a student production — he decided to try acting instead. After playing a governor on “Veep” and North Korean dictator Kim Jung-Un in the controversial film, “The Interview,” Park landed the role of family patriarch Louis Huang on the ABC sitcom, “Fresh Off the Boat.” The third season premiere will air on Oct. 11. Fans may follow him on Twitter.

Q. I know someone whose last name is Park. Do you know her? I kid! That was a break-the-ice question.
A. I know her pretty well actually. You don’t know this about her, but she’s an excellent skateboarder.

Q. I understand you recently went to Taipei to shoot scenes for your show. What were some of the highlights from that trip?

A. My top three highlights from the trip were: The people, the food and the places we got to shoot. One of those places was the Grand Hotel, which was so beautiful and full of history. I didn’t have enough free time to catch their famous night markets, so I’ll have to go next time.

Q. What is your favorite vacation destination?

A. My favorite place in the world is the island of Kauai. My wife and I spent our honeymoon there and we had an amazing time. We did a lot of hiking. We spent a lot of time traversing the trails on the North Shore, which had some of the most breathtaking views. We also hiked deep into these huge, cavernous caves that were so surreal and kind of scary. I highly recommend the hiking.

Q. How adventurous are you when it comes to eating foreign food?

A. I’m always open to trying something different. I’d say the most different thing I’ve ever tried is a Filipino dish called Balut, which is basically the embryo of a bird that you eat right out of the egg shell. It was OK. I’d say I prefer my eggs scrambled or in an omelet, before the embryonic stage.

Q. Following up on the previous question, have you eaten at a place that stood out so much that if you had the time/money, you would travel back there to enjoy another meal?
A. I think certain meals in our lives stand out not just because of the food itself but because of the circumstances surrounding that meal. The people, the place, that time in your life. With that said, I would travel back to the 1980s and go to an East L.A. restaurant called El Tepeyac. As a kid, our family would go there, and it brings back many great memories.

Q. What was the first trip you took as a child?

A. One of my earliest travel memories was taking a trip to Korea when I was around 8 or 9 years old. This was in the early ’80s and Korea was a very different place back then. I remember a lot of dirt roads and open fields. Having been born and raised in the United States, I remember feeling a bit of a culture shock. I couldn’t speak the language very well and, at the time, I was such a picky eater. I remember not liking the food much. But now, Korean food is my absolute favorite and I hear Seoul is amazing and one of the most technologically advanced cities in the world. I actually haven’t been back since, so I’m hoping to make a trip to the motherland soon.

Q. Where are your favorite weekend getaways?

A. Since we live in Los Angeles, we like to head off to nearby places like the Monterey Bay or Santa Barbara or down south to San Diego. My daughter just turned four, so she loves visiting aquariums and going to the beach — anything related to water. I’ll sometimes try to get her to wash my car, but she’s not into that kind of water activity. Again, she’s four.

Q. If you’ve ever gone away for the holidays, which was the best trip?

A. Last Christmas, my family and I went to Hawaii. We’d been meaning to go on a family trip, but we didn’t want to take our baby on a long plane ride if we didn’t have to. But when she turned three, we felt like she could handle it and it turned out to be a great holiday trip. She loved Hawaii just as much as her Mom and Dad.

Q. What are your five favorite cities?

A. Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. New York, because it’s New York. San Francisco, because that’s where I left my heart. Also, where my Dad first settled when he lived in America. Atlanta, because I recently worked there and fell in love with everything about it. And Paris, for the baguettes.

Q. When you go away, what are some of your must-have items?

A. I must have my phone, because I can’t live without it. And with the right apps, it can be such a useful travel tool. Also, my phone charger, for obvious reasons. Also, I must have this awesome neck pillow that Ian Chen — who plays Evan on our show — got for me.

Q. What would be your fantasy trip?

A. To go to a tropical island somewhere, where I’d just lay out all day and eat ice cream and all kinds of carbs and whiskey-based drinks, but then I somehow come back tanned and chiseled and physically stronger and also somehow taller. That would be a fantasy trip for me.

Q. What is your guilty pleasure when you’re on the road?

A. I go to a chain diner like a Denny’s or an IHOP only when I’m on a road trip and I’ll order pancakes. I never order pancakes otherwise. But, I feel like it’s okay if I’m driving to a faraway place at a fairly high speed for some reason.

Q. Do you pick up foreign languages easily?

A. It takes a lot for me to pick up a language. I can speak Korean at about the level of a toddler. Like, a really dumb toddler.  I’ve taken Mandarin classes, but I can only speak it at about the level of a really young infant. My Spanish is pretty good though.

Q. What untapped destination should people know about?
A. I don’t think I’ve ever been to an untapped destination. They’ve all been pretty much tapped by the time I got there.

Q. Where is the most romantic destination?
A. I’d say the most romantic destination I’ve ever been to was Paris. But the one time I went was with my mom, so it was less romantic, more eating a lot of baguettes.

Q. What kind of research do you do before you go away on a trip?
A. I don’t do too much research before I go on a trip. Maybe I’ll talk to a friend who’s gone there before just to make sure I don’t do anything rude or illegal without knowing. But I like to learn about a place while I’m there.

Q. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your travels?
A. I learned that no matter where you are, be kind, respectful and open-minded. Travel without attitude or judgement. Seek experiences that you will cherish when you’re back home.

Q. Where would you like to go that you have never been to before?
A. I’d really like to go to New Zealand. It’s seems like a beautiful place. Also, I love The Flight of the Conchords.

Q. Bonus question from my 8-year-old son, Kyle. “Mr. Park, you’re very handsome and funny and my mom lets me watch your show. Can you tell my mom how to get an interview with Jeremy Lin? I don’t think she’s doing it right.”
A. Thank you so much, Kyle. I’m so glad you think I’m handsome. Looks are so very important in our society, so it means a lot to me. I’d say the best way to get in contact with Jeremy would be through his agent or manager. Or maybe send Jeremy a handwritten letter. Most people don’t do this anymore, so you’ll automatically stand out. And begin the letter by telling him how handsome he is.

© 2016 JAE-HA KIM

Comments (1)

  1. Francisca Susanto says:

    What’s awesome too is this show is so funny ??

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