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Dianxi Xiaoge – A Golden Peacock From Yunnan
Baoshan保山 is named as the “Place of Peacocks” in Chinese, since for the Dai people, peacock is a symbol of good fortune, happiness, beauty and kindness. The Prefecture faces Myanmar in the south, and is situated on the southwestern part of Yunnan. Baoshan has a typical southern subtropical monsoon climate. Its abundant water resources, warm and humid climate contribute to a rich variety of local flora and fauna, and also provide rich and fresh ingredients which are turned into various cuisines.
Yunnan 云南( Yun 云: clouds, Nan 南: South) – the South Of Colorful Clouds. This beautiful place gave birth to a famous blogger in gastronomy – Dianxi Xiaoge. People who know her well usually call her sister “Ah Pan“. In 2018, she began to appear frequently in various Chinese online platforms with her conical bamboo hat, simple wear and pretty face. With unique food ingredients, culinary skills, beautiful and natural sceneries in front of the camera,Dianxi Xiaoge quickly attracted a lot of fans in a short time, and became one of the most famous figures online in China in 2018.
Although Dianxi Xiaoge has become a new famous person online, and that she has millions of fans on all major online platforms, what really attracts us is the simple, pure beauty behind her pretty facade. Unlike other online stars, Dianxi Xiaoge gives a very down-to-earth impression. In China, usually when the elderly chooses the perfect wife for their son, They would often say, “this lady is suitable to get married with, and to spend days with.”
In 2016, she quit her job in Chongqing because of her illness, and she returned to Yunnan. Xiaoge needed a job with which she could stay at home and earn an income. She realized how special Yunnan cuisine is, how unique the ingredients are, and how difficult it is to get these ingredients in other provinces, and since she’d always been fond of cooking under the influence of her mother, she started to have an idea to make videos about Yunnan cuisines. In addition, she also started selling some local products in Yunnan along with making videos. Later, she named herself “Dianxi Xiaoge”滇西小哥, since that’s where her hometown is – Baoshan is on the southwestern part of Yunnan(西:West), and its alias is “Dian”滇; another reason is her personality – “Xiaoge” 小哥 means “little brother” in Chinese, implying that she’s a simple, easy-going person, like what most guys are.
Below are a few questions and answers about Dianxi Xiaoge:
How old is Da Wang, the dog of Dianxi Xiaoge? What breed is the dog?
When Da Wang became a family member of Xiaoge, it was in January 2018, almost 2 years old at the time. It’s a big dog weighing around 50kg. It is an Alaskan Malamute.
The kitchenware of Dianxi Xiaoge
As a food vlogger, Dianxi Xiaoge’s kitchenware of course catches most of the people’s attention. Most of the containers appearing in her videos are made with local characteristics, and a lot are made from bamboo, wood and iron. In fact, as a foodie, I still care about the wooden clamp that she always uses to squeeze juice, and her clip steel cleaver with special patterns.
The team supporting Dianxi Xiaoge
At present, there are only two people in the team. She signed a contract with Papitube (In 2016, Papitude was founded and invested by the most influential online idol “Papi Jiang” means “Little Papi”, and it’s a company for online idols marketing and promotion). And her videos have been promoted by Papitude. Xiaoge said that during her toughest times, Papitube helped her a great deal.
For a detailed introduction of Xiaoge, please see this video
Characteristics of Yunnan cuisine
The Dian cuisine is equal to Yunnan cuisine, it’s one of the most prominent local cuisines in the Chinese culinary system. Dian cuisine is embraced by its uniqueness. It has combined the culinary cultures of 52 ethnic minorities in Yunnan, and it also has the distinctive characteristics of the culinary culture of Han. It is hence the fusion of the culinary culture of Yunnan minorities and Han.
Yunnan cuisine consists of the specialties from the following regions:
The Central Yunnan cuisine focuses on those from Kunming, Chuxiong and Yuxi. In these areas, rainfall and natural resources are abundant. There are a lot of famous chefs. Here, you will find the essence of the local people’s culinary culture. The varieties, complexity and integrity of the Yunnan culinary culture are prominent and fully distinct in this area. Such a culinary culture takes in the spirit to incorporate things of diverse nature, truly embracing the exchanges of different cultures. Its new gastronomic culture, the promotion of culinary views, and trends bringing an influence to the Yunnan culinary culture can truly represent the essence and fineness of the Yunnan cuisine.
The northwestern Yunnan cuisine consists food cultures from Qujing, Xuanwei and Zhaotong. Due to its geographical proximity to Sichuan, it is highly influenced by its economy and culture. Its culinary culture blends in the cultures of Han from Yunnan, and the local ethnic minorities (such as Yi people), such a mixture is the highlight of the northwestern Yunnan cuisine. Its cooking method, tastes of the dishes are similar to that of Sichuan cuisine.
The western Yunnan cuisine focuses on Dali. This cuisine has a strong and rich color on Bai people and their culinary cultures, and it retains the ancient food traditions of Nanzhao and Dali. The local dairy products, the aquatic products of the freshwater lake, the plums, the locally brewed wine, the local tea, etc. truly reflect the distinct local and ethnic characteristics of the western Yunnan cuisine.
The southern Yunnan cuisine is centered on Dehong, Lincang and Banna. There is a combination of foreign Han immigrants, local ethnic minorities (Yi and Jingpo people, etc.), Southeast Asian food cultures, as well as distinctive tropical and subtropical food culture characteristics. They clearly bring about the dietary traditions of the Yi and other rice-cultivating ethnic groups. Thanks to the fertile local farmland, it is rich in producing all kinds of plants and flowers, represented by edible wild mushrooms, wild vegetables, fruits and flowers, insects and fermented foods. Besides, its traditional cooking and processing methods, unique taste of dip sauces, together with its glutinous rice as the main food, all compose of the specialties of the local area.
Yunnan is located in the Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, with stretching mountains, flat dams and lakes inlaid between them. It forms a beautiful scenery and a three-dimensional climate type including tropical, subtropical, temperate and cold zones. The diverse landscape and climate are extremely beneficial to the growth of many animals and plants. The ingredients used in the Yunnan cuisine are widely chosen, and they’re rich and unique. Most of them are from the nature, they’re green, nutritious, ecological and they can help with healthcare. Known as the “Kingdom of Fungi”, “Kingdom of Plants” and “Kingdom of Animals”, Yunnan provides the most abundant wild mushroom resources in China and the world. There are more than 250 edible wild bacteria, and the most commonly seen types are Bovine bacterium, Russula virescens, Termite Mushroom, Ganba fungus, bamboo fungus, pine mushroom, etc.
In Yunnan, where it’s like Spring all year round, flowers are not the only ornamental plants, but also delectable dishes. Many flowers of great value such as chrysanthemums, white rhododendrons, roses, lilies, magnolias, osmanthus, etc. can be made into famous dishes. The precious herbs produced in Yunnan, such as Sanqi, Cordyceps, and Gastrodia are excellent nourishing herbs. The perennial vegetables in Yunnan are evergreen, and wild grass is found everywhere. There is a saying “we eat flowers in Spring, mushroom in Summer, fruits in Autumn, and vegetables in Winter”, which reflect the light, simple, original, fresh and sweet flavors of the Yunnan cuisine. Different kinds of highland lakes contribute to a valuable birthplace of a rich variety of fish, shrimps and frogs, contributing to the rich ingredients, a wide variety of species, and a sense of the countryside. All of these have formed countless popular dishes and specialties in Yunnan. In particular, the use of some special products and seasonings plays a big role in the formation of flavors, such as Xuanwei ham, cheese, lemongrass, Zhaotong sauce, Qiubei pepper, Lunan beancurd, Qujing leeks, rose-flavoured salted turnip. They are high-quality pickles and seasonings with specialties, and their distinctiveness bring a unique taste to the Yunnan cuisine, providing a necessary and materialistic basis for its development.
Unique cooking techniques
Yunnan is a large province with minorities. The simple and traditional cooking methods of 52 ethnic minorities, combined with the cooking skills of the Han, make the cooking techniques of Yunnan cuisine rich and versatile. It includes Han’s steaming, frying, quick-frying, marinating, quick-boiling and stewing, and the cooking methods of ethnic minorities such as roasting, pounding, warming up, pickling, stone cooking, and salt-baking with a container. The Yunnan cuisine has a rich legacy and reflects the customs of Yunnan ethnic minorities. Most of the eating utensils of ethnic minorities are made of natural materials such as bamboo, pottery, wood and leaves. For example, they put glutinous rice in bamboo to make bamboo rice, and it has a nice fragrance and soft texture. They also use hollowed pineapples to make pineapple purple rice, which has a fresh pineapple flavor. Moreover, they also use clay utensil, made from Jianshui purple pottery, to cook steamed chicken, such a truly authentic dish is mouthwatering with its tender meat and sweet soup. The above cooking techniques and culinary utensils express the idea of the adaptation to the environment and nature of the Yunnan people.