Special Issues » Holiday Guide

Orlando Weekly editors share their holiday destination picks … and how they can be re-created at home

by

comment

Page 5 of 5

Shanghai

airfare (Orlando to Pudong, Shanghai) starting at $1,809 (quote via expedia.com)

Despite a lifelong fascination with China, mostly fueled by movies like Chungking Express, Raise the Red Lantern and Lust, Caution, I’ve never been there. And between the state of my savings account and the current geopolitical climate, it seems unlikely that I will be anytime soon. But that doesn’t stop me from reading about it, nor can it stop me from creating my own Shanghai staycation. In the days of the treaty concessions, British, French and American settlers gave it an international flavor, but the ancient walled city remained; then the ’90s brought a global-trade-fueled building boom. I imagine Shanghai to still have a whiff of 1930s opium chic and swaths of century-old tenements mixed in among the neon high-rise jungle. Until I get there, I’ll have to make do with a Shanghai of the mind.

1000w_cirquedusoleildiabolos.jpg

Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba
cirquedusoleil.com, $59-$139
We don’t have anything that can compare to a stroll down the Bund; we don’t have a bar on the 87th floor of a glass skyscraper; we don’t have a traditional Chinese opera company. We do, however, have some of the world’s best acrobats here in Orlando, and some of them are even Chinese.

Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour
2810 Corrine Drive, 407-893-9832, redlightredlightbeerparlour.com
I was intrigued to read recently that Shanghai is in the midst of a craft beer boom. That’s definitely easy to re-create here, and Redlight Redlight, with its pointed exclusion of TV screens, is my local choice if I can't be at Shanghai’s Boxing Cat or Master Gao microbreweries.

1000w_magicwok.jpg

Magic Wok
6700 Conroy Road, 407-522-8688, magicwokonline.com
Since Chuan Lu Yuan stopped serving their Lanzhou beef noodle soup with hand-pulled noodles, we all have to go farther afield for traditional Shanghainese specialties. But Magic Wok’s stinky tofu and pork belly with fermented greens please even Chinese-born diners – or so I hear. Be sure to ask for the Shanghainese menu or you’ll be faced with basic American-Cantonese.

1000w_empireofthesuncover.jpg

Empire of the Sun, by J.G. Ballard; Five Star Billionaire, by Tash Aw; The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson
Three books set in Shanghai past, present and future. Ballard’s memoir is worth reading even if you’ve seen the sappy movie – there’s much more hard information about pre-World War II Shanghai (as well as the prison camps and death marches), and much less sap. Five Star Billionaire careens from factory girl to washed-up pop idol to hard-bitten businesswoman to shady real estate magnate, mirroring the city’s meteoric rise. Stephenson’s futuristic fable posits an alternate universe in which the Victorian British retained their concession and their ruling status into the 21st century.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.