Profile: A culinary, cultural ambassador of southwest China's Yunnan

(Xinhua) 09:54, April 01, 2024

KUNMING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Dong Meihua, 34, hailing from a remote mountainous village in Shidian County in the city of Baoshan, southwest China's Yunnan Province, juggles two roles -- entrepreneur and foodie vlogger.

However, it's her passion for food vlogging that garners the most attention, as her videos not only tantalize taste buds but also evoke a sense of nostalgia.

Known as "Dianxixiaoge," meaning Yunnan foodie guy, on social media since 2016, Dong now has around 40 million online followers from home and abroad, with her videos receiving up to 50 million views per episode.

In the bamboo forests of western Yunnan, she showcased the joy of cutting bamboo and crafting bamboo products; in sugarcane fields, she filmed the traditional process of making brown sugar from harvesting to molding; and in shrimp ponds, she immersed herself in the joy of harvesting fresh lobsters, wading through deep water in the process.

"I filmed whatever reflected Yunnan's uniqueness," Dong recalled, while also mentioning her first video documenting the process of hunting and frying bamboo worms. Dong often favors unconventional short videos that are visually captivating, allowing her to swiftly secure the attention of her viewers.

"When I was young, I was determined to leave my hometown and pursue opportunities in the cities," said Dong.

"However, upon returning after my ventures elsewhere, I discovered a newfound passion for exploring and showcasing the beauty of my home province, as Yunnan offers a wealth of unique cuisine and specialties."

Dong's dedication to her rural explorations has driven her to film daily and publish weekly for seven years, resulting in over 600 short videos to date.

"Food isn't just for filling our stomachs. It's also a part of our memories," Dong said, adding that her audiences love to see the ordinary happiness of her family in sharing three meals a day.

In late 2018, Dong's videos began to be published on overseas video platforms and social media, and many Chinese students abroad volunteered to translate the video subtitles into multiple languages. Currently, her overseas followers amount to over 10 million.

In late 2019, Dong was invited to speak at the University of Oxford, where she shared her journey as an ambassador for Yunnan cuisine and culture.

Dong is also devoted to leading more villagers in Yunnan toward shared prosperity. She has collaborated with local food factories and launched over 120 local agricultural products on her social media accounts.

She has used livestreaming to actively endorse local delicacies such as rice noodles, small coffee beans, cured meat, red tea, persimmons and green broad beans.

Combined daily sales on her platforms reach as high as 200,000 yuan (around 28,200 U.S. dollars), which in turn supports over 1,000 jobs, Dong said.

A more diverse and enriched image of contemporary China is presented through numerous engaging online content offerings created by social media influencers such as Dong Meihua, said Wang Ning, secretary of the Yunnan Provincial Committee of the Communist Party of China, while addressing the opening ceremony of the China Internet Media Forum that kicked off Saturday.

"Life in Yunnan is a lifestyle worth seeing," Dong said. "I will continue to use my camera to capture everything here, truly allowing the world to see my beloved home province, and I also welcome more friends from home and abroad to visit Yunnan and Baoshan." 

(Web editor: Zhong Wenxing, Liang Jun)


Related Stories