For Comedian Ronny Chieng, Travel Is a Chance to Reconnect With His Family

The comedian and star of “American Born Chinese” loves his mom and dad.

Comedian Ronny Chieng in Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. Courtesy Disney Plus

Ronny Chieng fell in love with Hawai‘i while filming Doogie Kamealoha, M.D. there.

Photo courtesy Disney Plus

Revenge travel is out (in fact, it never really felt “in” to us). Instead, this year we’re all about reconnection travel, which is proving to be the top reason for travel postpandemic. After a tough few years, people are going out into the world again with real excitement—and purpose. So we interviewed 11 globe-trotting celebrities to find out what “reconnection” means to them, whether that’s hitting the road solo, feasting through Italy, gallivanting with old friends, paying tribute to loved ones who’ve passed, or making an all-important visit to mom.

Before comedian Ronny Chieng was “Doogie Kameāloha, M.D.” and a Netflix star, he was “something of a wandering, Bourdain-like food fiend, who has Google Maps literally star-studded with his favorite restaurants and bars,” says AFAR’s Laura Dannen Redman, a longtime Chieng fan. His website,, served up food recs in Melbourne, Australia, where he got his comedy start during his law school days.

Chieng has a lot of projects these days that have him back on the road—the aforementioned Netflix comedy special, Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., and the upcoming Disney+ series American Born Chinese—so time is of the essence. To him, reconnection travel means the simplest of things: spending time with mom and dad.

What place is calling you back? Why?

Singapore! My mom lives there and I grew up there.

What place feels like home, even if it’s not where you’re from?

Hawai‘i. I filmed two seasons of Doogie Kameāloha, M.D., and I love the mana and people there. Feels like the best parts of America and Malaysia in one place.

Are you planning trips to reconnect? If so, how?

I actually just took a trip to my Dad’s hometown of Sitiawan, Perak, in Malaysia for the first time in years to visit my grandparents’ graves and had a big reunion with my aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Ronny Chieng, comedian and actor who will next be seen in the Disney+ series American Born Chinese

Read more from our Reconnection Travel series.

Kaitlin Menza is a Taipei-based writer who covers lifestyle, politics, pop culture, and social issues. You can find her work at
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