Historian 'Exposes' the Expo

In case you missed it this past Sunday, a locally-based historian presented his theory on the evolution of the World Expo in “Total EXPOsure: World's Fairs and Other Futuristic Spectacles in the U.S. and China from the 1870s to 2010,” an event organized by the Urban Research Lab and hosted at Manifesto Lounge.

Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, urban historian and author of the recently-published book, China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know, overviewed the historical transformation of China’s role in the World Expo. He described how early exhibitions of the late 19th and early 20th centuries served as virtual tours of the world where one could experience different cultures through tasting their food and observing their technological marvels. More negatively, these mega-events also determined the role of countries in the fair based on their level of development. Advanced nations such as France and England demonstrated their modernity through exhibitions of hi-tech gadgetry while “underdeveloped” countries such as China were relegated to displaying their exotic nature in the form of handicrafts and traditional dances.

Today, resentful of its past role in World Expos, China is determined to be recognized as a nation of the future. Unfortunately, the Expo may not be the vehicle with which to accomplish this lofty goal. In what Wasserstrom dubs the “World’s Fair Effect,” today’s globalized society of the internet and diversity of food has rendered the Expo obsolete. Wasserstrom believes that in the long run, China’s future prospects seem far more promising than that of the event it is hosting.


David Laris Conquers the Universe

 David Laris’ plans for world domination are almost complete. Well, maybe not world domination… But domination of Shanghai’s F&B sector, at minimum. In the past three months, he’s opened Downstairs with David Laris, The Purple Onion and Urban 18. Oh yeah, he also opened four concepts in Expo Village: a second Fat Olive, Pie Hole (a nod to his Aussie heritage this outlet serves savoury meat pies), the Funky Chicken (all things poultry) and Yucca (a contemporary Mexican restaurant). If I did my math correct (which would be surprising), that brings the number of consulted or managed restaurant pies that Laris currently has his fingers in to a grand total of 10 (including Barbie, the original Fat Olive, and flagship restaurant, Laris). Just 10, you say? Why, that’s child’s play for Laris. Let’s not forget the seven outlets he consulted on for Beijing’s Opposite House last year

Speaking of Barbie, Laris has also bought the rights to the incorrectly-proportioned doll’s chocolate and has several candy bar prototypes in the works. Because nothing says I love you like Barbie-themed chocolate.

You might think it’s high time the man took a vacation or even a nap, but you’d be grievously mistaken. In the works for David Laris Creates (DLC), his eponymous consulting company, are three concepts in a villa off of Sinan Lu and two restaurants in Hongqiao Airport’s new Terminal Two. Fliers can dine at the third Fat Olive or his second Pie Hole.

Laris’ China grand total: 22.

Seriously dude. When do you sleep?

In other Laris-related restaurant news, the GM of Zest Express, the salad bar with help from both DLC and SH Organic, is hoping to duplicate the salad bar’s success on the gentrified half of Wujiang Lu with three new outlets. Look for Zest duplicates to start popping up on Anfu Lu, Xinzha Lu (near the Jiaozhou Wagas) and somewhere in the nether regions of Pudong.



Anonymous's picture

 Good, because world

 Good, because world domination is mine.

(Barbie-themed chocolate, sounds delicious :D)

Mixing Things Up @ Urban Bar

 After the 237th time watching The Big Lebowski, I decided to try my hand at a White Russian because, you know, the dude abides. Unfortunately, I went a little heavy on the vodka and light on the cream—a strategic decision in my grand scheme of inebriation, but one that made this milky cult classic a little unpalatable. Well before you could say Karl Hungus, I was out the door and off to mixology class. Maybe next time, my White Russian won’t die face down in the muck. 

Located on the seventh floor of a Jing’An business complex, Urban Bar resembles more a VIP lounge than an astute place of learning. From the back of the room, Sebastien Bennefoi came out of his mixing laboratory wiping his hands on his apron and smiling broadly. The stocky 6-foot Frenchman is the mastermind behind Bar Rouge and he is renown by Shanghai restaurateurs and fine bartenders the world over. He treats his drink creations with the dedication of a micro-gastronome and the creativity of a sculptor—and he seems to have the Midas touch when it comes to cocktails.

Four glistening shots of mango cocktail greet us at the bar. This drink is summer incarnate—its thick fruity freshness flows down my throat like a thousand rays of sunshine. We are given a moment to loosen up before donning our aprons and stepping into a back room. Sebastien assigns to us our stations and explains to us the equipment in front of us. We are standing on either side of a double-backed bar with eight stations for aspiring bartenders. Sebastien stands at the end of the bar, delivering banter and instructions. I look over the pre-cut fruit, the EZ pour liquor, the Boston shakers – all the necessary supplies at our fingertips, so we too can begin mixing like the pros.

The first drink combines fresh Sichuan peppercorns, cinnamon, mint, and Jameson whiskey. The peppercorns are typically used as a mouth-numbing agent in local cuisine, so I was a bit worried they might leave me senseless to the subtleties of the drink. But the spice was not at all overpowering; in fact, it melded with the other spices to create a flavour not unlike wintry pine. This drink had a bite to it, while remaining cool and fresh down the hatch.

For our second drink, we mixed lemongrass syrup and apple juice along with a shot of Beefeater gin. Adorned with a blade of lemongrass, this martini was more subtle and sweet than the last albeit just as refreshing. Though the martini was dry, the lemongrass added the perfect amount of sweetness.

The last drink was the sweet, seductive Porno Star. The Porno Star calls for three different kinds of fruit purée and half a shot each of Wyborowa Wodka and Absolut Vanilla Vodka. In light of the drink’s sinful nature, we were also added another splash in honor of our girlfriends. We took the drinks out to the lounge and enjoyed it as a chaser to another hedonistic shot of straight vodka. The inescapable fruitiness of the drink brought to mind over-applied eye makeup and silicone breasts—really the perfect conclusion to a night of hard work and hard liquor. Gleefully walking out the door, I was drunk on top-of-the-line drinks and behind-the-bar prowess.

Private or group lessons at Urban Bar will run you RMB 250 per person. Sessions are two hours long and available from 7 to 9:30 pm, Thursday through Saturday. You get four or five good cocktails out of it and a nifty certificate upon completion. Sebastien lets you mix up the menu however you’d like and virgin drink options are totally in line. It’s a great way to start an evening after work. The biggest downside is these will be the best drinks you have all night.

For reservations and information, call 6266 7969 or visit


Shanghai Girls: Uncensored and Unsentimental

Last night, Garden Books hosted the book launch party of Shanghai Girls: Uncensored and Unsentimental, written by Mina Hanbury-Tenison. The book is a how-to guide offering tips and advice on how to “marry up”, from Hanbury-Tenison’s “friend”, a Shanghainese woman named Lan Lan. What better way to learn how to be a Shanghai girl than from a Shanghai girl herself? Lan Lan, a pseudonym, has been married three times, each time to a man richer than the last, and now she is the proprietress of a substantial real-estate holding and manages a boutique investment equity fund, and divides her time between Shanghai and New York.

The book launch included a long discussion about what it means to be a Shanghai girl. If this book is to be believed, Shanghai girls are a different breed to other girls in China, or the world for that matter. These women pilot their own lives by handling marriage as though they were starting a business enterprise; trading up and marrying up to keep up appearances.

Shanghai Girls sparked a great debate within the group at the book launch last night, where topics ranged from stereotypes to marriage, politics to sex and East versus West. The book clearly plays up to the stereotypes of Shanghai girl but it also promises shocking secrets about women and relationships that you won’t find in other self-help books.

It’s more suited to those on the lookout for Mr Moneybags, rather than Mr Right, and there is certainly no sentimentality wasted on these pages. I wonder what the wealthy men of Shanghai make of all this?

Shanghai Girls: Uncensored and Unsentimental is available from Garden Books. 325 Changle Lu, near Shaanxi Nan Lu. Tel: 5404 8728. Web:

To find out more about Mina Hanbury-Tenison and the thinking behind the book, visit her website.

- Jessie Chen



Anonymous's picture



Mall Arts: Sculpture @ Times Square

Leo Gallery has just installed a selection of wild sculptures called "Art in Space" in Shanghai Times Square, the cavernous luxury brands mall on Huaihai Lu.

According to the press materials, Kum Chi Keung’s “Big Boy” (above) is “a vigorous, optimistic and active kid, not an astronaut. He is natural green and loves sunshine and clear water.” But that’s just a description of spearmint flavoured Haibao.

This guy is really lime green space radiation, his existence just a collection of cages, like anyone’s existence. “Big Boy” is assembled from wickerwork boxes of different sizes. Check out the really small boxes in the bends of the knees – the bars are as close as sinews.

"Big Boy" must be three metres tall, but he is totally dwarfed by another of Kum Chi Keung’s works, “Space for Lease” (right). From its launching pad on the second floor, the wicker work space rocket reaches all the way to the sixth floor.

It’s a feat of engineering that testifies to the strength of traditional art forms even as it celebrates the opportunities of modern advancements.

What look like birds from below are actually 40-50 small “Big Boys” romping around inside the rocket. They have green, Lego-ish bodies and basket heads.

The guy in the picture below, looking up at the rocket in awe, is “Meeting Dong Yuan Again” by Shanghai artist Zhang Ning. Dong Yuan was a landscape painter (hence his little mound of earth) way back in the tenth century, but Zhang Ning's homage to him establishes a clear connection. Sure, the angles from which we observe the urban landscape are different but the act of looking remains the same.

These works are all situated in the second floor lobby, but you can also find Qu Guangci’s pop coloured Mao cherubs on the first floor, and Xu Hongfei’s jubilant, jumbo-sized women in the piazza in front of Times Square.

In other Leo news, later this summer the gallery is opening an additional, two storey, 85 sqm gallery space in Ferguson lane, right opposite Franck. They’ll be throwing a cocktail party for the launch from 5-7pm, Saturday July 24. The new space will open with a group show of portraiture called “Faces”. 

Art in Space @ Shanghai Times Square. Until July 19, Shanghai Times Square, 99 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Liu Lin Lu.

Leo Gallery. Ferguson Lane, 376 Wukang Lu, near Tai'an Lu. Tel: 5465 8785.


Anonymous's picture


Will definitely check them out! :) Who doesn't love Mao cherubs?

Smurfs Return from "Long Nap"

Remember those lovable blue Smurfs from your childhood-- Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Baby Smurf, Gargamel the sorcerer…? They were three apples tall, always wore white pants and white hats, and loved partying? These blue vegetarians, akin to the Shanghai Expo mascot, the ‘Haibao’, have returned to China after “a long nap”. Contesting the Haibao’s “cute blue figure”, the cuddly blue Smurfs have taken the spotlight as the Belgium Pavilion’s mascot. Along with that, International Merchanidising, Promotion & Services, or I.M.P.S. want to rekindle a love for Smurfs in China by promoting the Smurfs through a new 3D Smurfs movie, comics, and cartoons. They have planned a Smurfs park to be built in Sichuan, a Smurf-themed airplane to be launched, and Smurf-themed hot air balloons to be released soon. To go along with the 3D Smurfs movie, IMPS has also designed a line of Smurfs clothing and accessories. With their plans and the success Smurfs have seen in Europe, these cute blue people are ready to take over the hearts and imaginations of the Chinese.

The Smurfs have spread their influence over China before, but haven’t garnered much attention until now because the cartoons haven’t been widespread on Chinese television. But now, ‘Lan Jing Ling’, or the Smurfs, have come out with a new Chinese song about the Smurfs that has been a number one hit on Baidu, as well as cartoons and comic books due soon. They will be especially appealing in China because of the similarity of the Smurfs and the ‘Haibao’, as well as the universal themes conveyed by the Smurfs. Kids are already humming the theme song and begging their parents for more Smurfs.

The highly anticipated new 3D Smurfs movie, due in cinemas in 2011 features celebrities like ‘I Kissed a Girl’ singer Katy Perry, who will be voicing Smurfette, How I Met Your Mother star Neil Patrick Harris as Yohan, Homer Simpsons’ voice actor Hank Azaria as Gargamel, and Glee’s Jayma Mays as Grace. Whether you’re familiar with the Smurfs or not, they’re sure to smurf their way into your heart. 


Anonymous's picture

Kate Perry?!

I mean the rest of the cast is awesome, but Kate Perry... really?

Still absolutely smurfed to see this!

Anonymous's picture

If you got a problem, if

If you got a problem, if you're feeling lonely
everything is smurfing wrong
Try looking on the bright side, smurfing on the right side
troubles will all soon be gone

If you got a long face, don't be such a disgrace
faces shouldn't be so long
Try to smurf it better, forget the stormy weather
by whistling a happy song!

Sub-Cinema @ Dada Bar

Tuesday nights, Xingfu Lu’s Dada Bar converts from a hip dive bar into a makeshift movie theater – its red pleather couches, typically arranged around black coffee tables, attentively face the back wall of the room that doubles as the movie screen. Order a beer and a bucket of popcorn will also be thrust into your hands. Don’t be afraid to come alone as many other patrons choose to attend individually. 

On offer last Tuesday was David Cronenberg’s “Naked Lunch”. The film is loosely based around the book Naked Lunch and the life of its author, William S. Burroughs. The rather bizarre plot follows an exterminator who becomes addicted to his bug poison, begins to violently hallucinate and then kills his wife in a botched William Tell gag. He flees to the fictional city of Interzone where he begins taking orders from his typewriter, which is also a giant bug. Believe it or not, the movie is much easier to follow than the book – though that’s not saying much. 

Prior to the start of the film, a short introduction is given by one of the organizers. The atmosphere served the screening of a movie very well, with movie-goers respectfully keeping silent throughout the viewing. Sub-Cinema at Dada Bar is a rare chance in Shanghai to participate in some film geekiness, all the while enjoying a beer or two and free popcorn. The night is on-going every Tuesday night at 9pm. Admission is free. 

July schedule: 

July 6: Hedwig and the Angry Inch (dir. John Cameron Mitchell; 2001; English with Chinese sub-titles)

July 13: Vanishing Point (dir. Richard C. Sarafian; 1971; English with Chinese sub-titles)

July 20: The Devils Backbone (dir. Guillermo del Toro; 2001; Spanish with English sub-titles)

July 27: Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott; 1982; English with Chinese sub-titles)


Italian Pavilion Serves Up "Gastronomic World Cup"

With the 2010 World Expo, Shanghai denizens have had the chance to take a little bite out of cultures around the world without leaving the shores of the beloved Huangpu River. While Expo-goers can pavilion hop to taste test the culinary traditions of nations from Turkey to Japan, Spain has brought in the big guns with a chef line-up that totals over 49 Michelin Stars. As if sheer star power wasn’t enough, they also staged a World Cup themed competition. Pitting country against country in a test of cooking prowess, this multi-course challenge on 21 June demonstrated the culinary heritage of two of Europe’s tastiest cuisines: Italy and Spain.  
The participants of the Gastronomic World Cup were allowed the full facilities at Acqua Restaurant at Gran Meliá Shangahi hotel. Cooking for the Italian nation was Carlo Cracco of Cracco Restaurant in Milan, while Spain’s kitchen was helmed by Marcos Morán of Casa Garardo in Asturias. Two top tier chefs from world-famous for a clash of the taste titans. 
In attendance were various members of the Spanish department of tourism and the Italian consulate who got the chance to judge the competitor’s dishes for themselves. For the first course, Marcos Morán mixed up a bangin' appletini, while Cracco responded with a delicate pesto cocktail with pine nuts. For the main course, the Spaniard dished out an Asturian cheese sandwich while the Italian tossed together a caprese salad with tomato pulp, basil, and mozzarella. The final score was 1:1, a commendable draw. The match was topped off with a delectable jersey exchange. 
As far as Shanghai’s dining events, this was a feast. By featuring two chefs from outside the mainland, Spain once again demonstrated how the Expo gives everyone a chance of to taste cultures from afar. Get excited for the next bout featuring culinary heavyweights Josechu Gorella from Spain’s Aragón region and Frank Camorra from Australia.


Anonymous's picture

Iron Chef Shanghai?

Who played the Chairman?

Anonymous's picture

 Exciting food face-off! Too

 Exciting food face-off! Too bad I wasn't there to witness it.

Win tickets to Jameson's Rooftop Cinema at M1NT!

As summer heats up, Jameson's cooling things down with their rooftop cinema. See some truly classic flicks atop M1NT's inimitable terrace, including Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Casablanca, Legends of the Fall and Kung Fu Hustle. For your chance to win a pair of tickets to the movies, be one of the first ten people to email [email protected] with the words 'Jameson Rooftop Cinema' in the subject line.

For more information, vist




Anonymous's picture

YO the first time I saw this

YO the first time I saw this movie, I programmed my keyboad with the barfy noises like Bueller. My mom was NOT amused.

Anonymous's picture


 I LOVE Ferris Bueller's Day Off-- it was such a classic comedy. :)

Anonymous's picture

Legends of the Fall?

OMG. Brad Pitt's greatest role ever. I am sooo there!

Anonymous's picture

dang, i did not even realize

dang, i did not even realize brad pitt was even in this movie. i will keep my eye out this time around.


Pinoy Delicacies Sizzle in Shanghai

The "Flavors of the Philippines" Food Festival kicked off yesterday at Xujiahui's Huating Hotel. This celebration of all things gastronomically Filipino runs for the next ten days until 20 June. Hosted by a slew of Philippine government ministries in conjunction with its consulate here in Shanghai, the festival hopes to share the country's cultural wealth and highlight the increasing ties between China and the island nation.

Keynote speaker, Secretary of Trade and Industry Jesli Lapus, noted that much like in China, the route to a Filipino's heart is through their stomach. The festival features a buffet of 54 popular dishes originating from the 7,107 islands of the Philippines. The lunch buffet is RMB 168 + 15 per cent, while the dinner deal is RMB 218 + 15 per cent. Both include coffee, tea, soft drinks and ice cream, and if you buy two tickets you will receive a third for free. 

According to Cynthia Carrion, the Philippine Undersecretary of Tourism, currently 40 per cent of Shanghai's internationally-bound tourists head to the Philippines - obviously a widely popular destination. Fortunately for the rest of us who have not yet visited, with this festival we can now sample a taste of what the country has to offer. 

Flavors of the Philippines. 10 - 20 June. Huating Hotel. 1200 Cao Xi Bei Lu. Tel: 6439 1000 ext 3010.


Anonymous's picture


Just got back from Dragon Boat Festival in Boracay and got my first real taste of Filipino food. I'm already craving it again... Can't wait to go sample some more authentic Filipino food at the festival! Think they're serving Lechon?

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