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//www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbr-SAi6PHM

Dianxi Xiaoge, the young woman who makes these beautiful videos was born in a small village in Yunnan and she went to work in the big city of Chongqing but returned to care for her family, who we see here.

People have been living in the the Southwestern Chinese province of Yunnan quite literally since time immemorial. The oldest-known hominid fossil in China was found in Yunnan, that of a Homo erectus who lived almost 2 million years ago during the Early Pleistocene.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about ancient DNA. Humankind has spent the vast majority of its existence in a very primitive state, doing little else besides looking for food. Outside the civilized capitals and the homes of the elites, most people remained in what could broadly be called a Neolithic stage of development until fairly recently – and millions of people still do.

I find it easy to imagine myself in prehistoric times when I do simple activities, like tending a fire or cooking. The videos of Dianxi Xiaoge take this a step further because we see no running water or electricity in her kitchen. A giant wok-stove is heated by a wood fire and the giant slab of pork belly is not for sale at the supermarket (my apologies to the vegans, vegetarians and non-pork eaters).

As indicated by the video’s massive response, with over 10 million views in less than a month, watching this appeals to a pervasive, ancient aspect within, triggering an archaic sense of domestic bliss, even if one isn’t motivated to go hack up a pork carcass.

I actually got to try this dish when I was China, back in 2011. Although I was squeamish about laying into a slab of blubber, it was shockingly delicious, with spicy-salty-sweet flavors that literally melt in your mouth. First, it’s quickly seared, then it’s marinated for three days in a dry rub of salt, Sichuan peppercorns, black cardamom powder and baiju liquor, then braised, then deep-fried and sealed with lard in a clay pot, where it can keep for months before being steamed to serve on its own or added to various dishes, often with a touch of sugar, in the Chinese answer to maple cured bacon.

Dianxi needed to earn money from home and through lots of hard work and perseverance, she’s now able to share her passion for Yunnan cuisine through her videos and an ecommerce site that sells Yunnan produce. Her YouTube videos get millions of views and enthusiastic praise from fans all over the world.

If there’s an EMP attack, people with the skills of Dianxi’s family will remain relatively unperturbed, as it appears that they can survive fine just fine without YouTube and the Internet. (Make sure you turn on the closed captioning!)

Alexandra Bruce

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Alexandra Bruce

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6 comments

Leave a Reply to Wendy Cancel reply

  • Truly inspiring! & delicious looking…..beautiful plates of great food! I think even a vegan would find it hard to resist. And this type of ancient food prep needs no refrigerator, gas stove, electric anything….so dinner would be ‘there’ regardless of what’s happening most of the time. One would have to deal with the slaughter of an animal….I eat chicken, beef & pork but don’t have to deal with the killing of them. I think that would be the hardest part of this process. Not too many of us are set up to do the job properly. She does an excellent job…..I’d love to sit at her table.
    Perhaps if all of us were given proper instructions on how to kill an animal for our table…..we could be more independent if and or when an emergency situation arises. I like the ‘independence theme’.

  • Love that you’re knowledgeable about ancient DNA Alexanda. Also interested in hearing about Alien DNA strands and government use of people’s DNA without their knowledge or consent. Thanks.

    This reminded me of fried chicken skins,although made quite uniquely.

  • Alex,…you should never have to apologize to vegans or anyone else for your content. If someone does not like it then they can not view it. They still have a CHOICE.

  • This is very different from most of the videos on your site, but I’m so glad I watched it. It is an oddly refreshing video to watch. One of her final dishes (made with the first blubber she’d prepared) found me wishing it was steaming hot right in front of me. It looked so delicious! Great video.

  • Fascinating dietary contrast with Korean You Tuber “Cheap Lazy Vegan” who is also very entertaining by the way. It would be interesting to see study results on these two diverse dietary life styles. Personally I quit pork about ten years ago and quit having a gazillion skin cancers I think as result, but what do I know about any of this?

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