#chinesecuisine #cottagecore: Chinese Food and Locality in Contemporary Social Media Open Access

Spooner, Piper (Spring 2021)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/0k225c19h?locale=en


The term “Chinese food” inevitably conjures a specific set of images, ideas, and phantom tastes and smells. But how do we know that a dish is Chinese, or what Chinese food even is? This project examines this question through the YouTube and Weibo videos of Chinese food vloggers Li Ziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge, both of whom have significant followings inside and outside of China, and whose videos are alluring for their beauty and picture of a self-sufficient, farm-to-table lifestyle.

Building off existing scholarship about national cuisine and food studies, media studies, tourism, and cultural studies, this project analyzes the context, content, production, and consumption of these videos and explores the ways that, as part of our contemporary media landscape of user-oriented social media, these videos construct and present very specific ideas about Chinese food that are not actually stable, definitive, or representative.

Table of Contents

Introduction - The Joy of Blank 1

Chapter One - How Not to Cook and Eat...in Chinese: Li Ziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge in Context 8

The Chinese Media 12

Canonical Culinary Media 16

The Food Network Model 16

The Culinary Tourism Model 21

User-Oriented Media Platforms 25

Food for Thought 28

Chapter Two - The Life of a Video: From Farm to Film 29

Constructed Locality 30

Natural, Simultaneous, and Inconvenient Time 35

Technology as Fluid 42

Gender: Womanhood’s Work and the Female Domain 47

Social Media Platforms 53

Chapter Three - Fant-Asia: Consuming and Viewing the Other as Commodity 55

Filming Food, Viewing Porn 56

Commodities for Cosmopolitans 61

Comments from the Peanut Gallery: Viewer-Consumer Reactions 66

Denouement: Time is Ming 77

Conclusion - Li Ziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge Are Fake 70

Bibliography 84

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