All Hail The OC

ALL HAIL THE OC….I’m not quite sure how Orange County, home of Disneyland and the Crystal Cathedral, managed to transform itself into The Hippest Place on Earth, but apparently the beige stucco craze has now hit China: the latest slice of consumer paradise on offer there is western style housing developments modeled on ? you guessed it ? Orange County. But aside from the distinctly OC-like price tags, it turns out there are problems:

Not every aspect of upper-middle-class Los Angeles translates exactly, and adjustments have had to be made. Houses in Orange County were all built with sprawling American-style open-plan kitchens, with ovens and countertop stoves. But residents have discovered that they are poorly suited to typical Chinese cooking, which is centered on woks and sends grease and smoke spewing everywhere.

“I love the kitchen ? it is very pretty ? but the smoke is dispersed all over the house by the central air,” said Liang Haijing, a thirtysomething lawyer, with big eyes and curly hair. So, like many Orange County residents, Ms. Liang has built a shack just outside the kitchen’s sliding glass doors, and all cooking is done out there.

On the plus side, “The feng shui is excellent.” So there’s that.

Support the Washington Monthly and get a FREE subscription