celebrity shopping

What Simu Liu Can’t Live Without

Photo-Illustration: The Strategist; Photo: Getty

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair but the hair spray and the electric toothbrush. We asked actor Simu Liu — who’s the chief content officer of the dumpling company MìLà — about the snack he tracked down in Malta, gaming laptop he travels with, and cat-eye sunglasses he can’t live without.

$23

Novels capture my attention because I’m following a story line, a plot, and I want to turn to the next page. I have ADHD, so it’s always difficult for me to read a nonfiction book from front to back, but I love memoirs. It’s sometimes hard for me to keep the thread going because of how my brain is wired. Tools of Titans is great because I can read it in five- or ten-minute increments, but the amount of wisdom gleaned from every interview, every vignette of someone who has achieved something extraordinary in life, is really compelling. I’ll read about these extraordinary people and discover habits I might want to pick up or different ways they see the world that I might want to subscribe to.

Photo: Courtesy of the Retailer

I’m a big scent guy. Le Labo Santal 26 is the kind of iconic bougie candle, and every space deserves to smell as good as it looks. Everyone who’s into scented candles knows this, but it really transforms a space both visually and scent-wise. It’s a beautiful statement piece if you get the large size, and it burns for a bajillion years.

Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop
From $2,000
From $2,000

The Razor gaming laptop is essential. My Razor will go with me wherever I go, whether it’s traveling to set or two days on a press tour. Video games are a way for me to decompress and stay in touch with my friends, especially when I have to go off and shoot a movie for a long time. My friends and I play Valorant. It requires your setup and everything to be correct, because it’s such a precise game. It’s all about your reflexes and making sure your mouse movements are exactly what they need to be. Everything from my keyboard and headphones to my mouse has to work in harmony. We have to band together to beat these — I guess 14- and 15-year-olds is who we’re playing now. But we’re a bunch of guys in our mid-30s who enjoy this game, and it keeps us talking to each other. We love the life chats we have in between the rounds as much as playing the game itself.

I first got introduced to Axel Arigato through my stylist, Chloe. She started pulling them for looks, and I was really taken by the design and the lines and just the vibe of the shoes. There’s such a lure to the sneakerhead game, but I get intimidated trying to step into it. Instead, I love finding kind of off-the-beaten-path sneakers. I’m not saying I discovered these, but they’re an easy pair that’s versatile and fun. They can go into more of a street look or something that’s a little more refined.

$259

One of the things I’m probably most self-conscious of is how wide my face is. I’ve always known that I have a big head and a square-ish face, and my face doesn’t fit 98 percent of eyewear. Most are so obviously too small. Generally, I look for wide aviators and cat-eye sunglasses. I found these while shopping at a mall in South Korea. They are cat-eyed, really wide, and bold. It’s rare, but these fit my face properly and frame my face well, which means they’re probably too big for most people. They might actually be women’s or unisex sunglasses, but either way, I don’t think sunglasses should be gendered. Shout-out to Gucci for making designs for wide-faced individuals such as myself.

Hoodies are very important to me. They’re something to lounge in at home or can be a statement piece when you’re out. My favorite from Mad Happy does both. It’s wool and so nice and fashionable. It’s huge, so it kind of envelopes me. I feel just as good wearing it out as I would at home with pajama bottoms.

I am not a big fan of smartwatches. I don’t like the idea of everything I do being tracked. Also, my wrist game is very important to me. I’ve become something of a collector in these last couple of years and have bought myself watches for every important milestone in my life. When Shang-Chi came out, I got my first Audemars Piguet. I bought a Rolex Submariner after shooting a dive movie last year. I’m really proud of my latest one, which I’m wearing right now. I was on a trip to Japan speaking at a tech conference with some friends of mine who are also my investment partners. We took a tour of the Seiko flagship store together and learned about how the brand disrupted the industry about 50 or 60 years ago. They came into the scene at a time when the industry was focused on Switzerland and Swiss watches. As an Asian guy in an industry where traditionally, there hasn’t been much Asian representation, I felt a kinship with the brand. I ended up buying this limited-edition Mickey Mouse Grand Seiko in a snow-birch color that was made for Disney’s 100th anniversary. There’s only a hundred of these ever made, and I think I have the only one in America.

House of Skuff was started by my groomer Mira. She’s this tatted-up Asian woman who’s a badass. Everyone thinks she’s my mom. Whenever we’re on a shoot or something, people are always like, “Oh, it’s so sweet your mom does your hair.” But she started telling me about her line of grooming products called House of Skuff, and it was incredible witnessing her business start and grow. The product itself is great, too. I use their two hair pastes: the potion and glue. She’s been using it on me, and I’ve started to use it myself. I’ve fallen in love with the smell and texture. It’s easy to use and not icky, for lack of a better word. It’s great, and I’m a big fan of hers.

Dentyne Ice Gum
$9
$9

I don’t have a whole lot to say here. There are all these crazy new gums that are coming out, claiming to wake you up or do a hundred different things. I’ve always been like, Gum should just taste great and make your breath fresh and minty. I’m a child of the ’90s and grew up on Dentyne Ice commercials. To me, they’re still the quintessential grocery-store gum.

Anybody who’s been indoctrinated into Turtle Chip fandom will know just how incredible these snacks are. It’s so difficult to describe to people who don’t know what it is. It’s like a corn soufflé. It’s delicate but so flavorful. You can crush a bag in a few seconds if you’re not careful, because they’re so goddamn tasty. It is tough whenever I’m doing a movie in a country where Asian snacks and flavors aren’t easily accessible. I shot a movie in Malta last year for about two and a half months, and as much as I enjoyed the delicious local food, it was tough. You get to a point where you miss those flavors and the feeling of home. I actually tracked down an Asian grocery store in Malta — they do exist — and got my driver to take me. Among other things like instant ramen and frozen dumplings, they also had Turtle Chips. That was a great day for me. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as I ate these snacks.

This might be a controversial pick, but I go with what is easily accessible. Alfreds are everywhere across L.A., so you’re never too far away from one, and the coffee is good. I’m kind of obsessed with vanilla lattes. I have started getting less and less syrup in it, but the Alfred syrup is just so good. I have a giant bottle of it at home for my own espresso machine. It’s a great way to wake up.

My schedule is not very conducive to getting groceries and meal-prepping, so I’m not a big at-home chef. But at the same time — like everyone else in major cities — delivery gets old after a while. Delivery food isn’t quite as good as if you were ordering it from a restaurant because it’s been at least 20 minutes since it’s come out of the oven or wok. MìLà is the answer to all of that. They have these soup dumplings that are, in my opinion, restaurant quality. They come frozen and you steam them for 11 minutes. What you get are incredible fresh-tasting dumplings that are ready to eat. I’ve gotten all my friends hooked on it because they all buy into this value proposition that we should have food that is good and fresh and made with care and doesn’t taste like it was sitting in the backseat of someone’s car.

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What Simu Liu Can’t Live Without