If you’re a fan of Li Ziqi, sooner or later you’ll hear about Dianxi Xiaoge. They’re both YouTube stars from China, both exceptional in making gourmet food, and yes, both produce amazing videos that showcase their unbelievable skills and gorgeous scenery around their home towns.
What’s the difference? Why do people keep comparing them?
Both Li Ziqi (李子柒) and Dianxi Xiaoge (滇西小哥) focus on cooking traditional Chinese dishes using home-grown ingredients. They also stick with traditional methods to prepare everything, without modern kitchen equipment. And they both live in rural farming villages.
So basically, they have exactly the same concept: Present authentic Chinese culture and traditions via cooking.
And obviously, both of them are brilliant at what they do.
They both cut out the hard part of their work, and the result is we get to enjoy all of their beautiful and relaxing videos.
Despite all the similarities, you can also see how they differ in many ways.
In their typical videos, Ziqi often looks like a princess from a fairy tale, while Xiaoge is more like the girl next door.
Ziqi is cool and elegant; Xiaoge is warm and lovely.
Ziqi’s videos are near perfection; Xiaoge’s videos are more realistic.
Ziqi is almost silent in her videos; Xiaoge chats with everybody. However, this one probably doesn’t matter to most viewers, because even to a lot of Chinese people, their dialects sound like a foreign language.
Ziqi, sadly, only has grandma around, and she rarely shows footage of other people; Xiaoge, on the other hand, enjoys a big, happy family, as well as many friendly neighbors – viewers who lived in farming villages before can certainly relate to that.
Ziqi obviously spends lots of time on post-production and video editing, and her hard work is evident in every video she releases. Xiaoge’s videos are often shorter, less refined in comparison, but nonetheless captures the essence of what she’s trying to show us.
Ziqi covers a wider range of topics. Other than cooking, she also makes furniture and tries many other craft projects. Xiaoge is more focused on food with occasional expansion into cultural festivals and events.
So in short, I’d say Li Ziqi is making a movie, and it’s truly amazing. Dianxi Xiaoge is producing a beautiful documentary, and it’s definitely more representative of her daily life.
Now, some people accuse Ziqi of being “fake” and too far away from real life. But think about it. We know for a fact that Star Wars are “fake,” we know Superman is “fake,” we know pretty much all movies are “fake” in that regard. But it doesn’t stop us from enjoying a good movie. Li Ziqi is extremely creative. She presents everything with an artistic touch. And the end result is simply amazing. Is it exactly how she lives her life now? Maybe not. But even if it’s a dream, it’s a beautiful dream built on real life.
Both Li Ziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge are successful entrepreneurs and have been financially rewarded. They deserve every penny.
What’s interesting is that the two camps, most likely just fans, have started fighting on China’s social media. After all, they’re competitors. But it sounds ridiculous to me. I’m a big fan of Li Ziqi’s videos, but I love Xiaoge just as much!
Many more vloggers in China will try to repeat what Ziqi and Xiaoge have done. People from other countries will join the party as well. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Lately I’ve received quite a few questions about Li Ziqi and Dianxi Xiaoge, probably because this post is starting to appear on Google and other search engines. Some of the questions may interest a wider audience, so I’ll gradually add them here:
Age: Both Liziqi and Dianxi were born in 1990.
Note that in China, age is not treated as sensitive information like in the west. Both Dianxi and Li Ziqi openly talk about their age.
Education: While Li Ziqi had to drop out of middle school at age 14, Dianxi Xiaoge actually graduated from college, a police academy. She didn’t become a police officer, however, and instead found a job with an internet company in Chongqing – one of China’s largest cities. She quit her job and returned to Yunnan in 2016, when her father became ill (some reports say it was due to her own illness).
What’s rarely known, even in China, is that Dianxi Xiaoge was awarded twice for bravery: One was to save passengers from a burning bus, another was rescuing people during a dangerous mudslide.
Li Ziqi (李子柒) is her brand name, and may be her real name as well. Some unconfirmed reports claim that her real name is Li Jiajia (李佳佳), under which her business in China is registered. Also in one of her videos, her grandma called her Jiajia once. It doesn’t really matter – everybody knows her as Li Ziqi.
Dianxi Xiaoge (滇西小哥) is also a brand name. Xiaoge’s real name is Dong Meihua (Dong being her family name). She also has a nickname: Apenjie, which originated from “bowl chicken.” When she was born, her grandma happened to be holding a bowl and a chicken. Based on local traditions, she was named whatever grandma was holding at the moment, as a way to ensure health and prosperity.
Timeline: Li Ziqi started a bit earlier than Dianxi Xiaoge, by roughly one year.
Li Ziqi started posting videos on China’s Weibo in early 2016, and joined YouTube in August, 2017.
Dianxi Xiaoge started in early 2017, and joined YouTube in July, 2018.