Next internet celebrity city emerges amid China's cultural tourism boom

Updated: Mar 27, 2024 Xinhua Print
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Tianshui is a low-key city in Northwest China's Gansu province that has taken the spotlight recently.[Photo/Xinhua]

Following the barbecue-induced travel craze to the city of Zibo in East China and the ice-snow tourism frenzy in Harbin in the northeast, Chinese social media has once again showcased its influence in highlighting the next internet-famous city worthy of exploration.

This time it's Tianshui, a low-key city in Northwest China's Gansu province that has taken the spotlight. It has garnered considerable attention online following enthusiastic endorsements from food enthusiasts and social media influencers, celebrating the city's iconic dish of hot pot and its wealth of cultural attractions, including the Maijishan Grottoes.

Known as Tianshui Malatang, which literally means spicy and hot, the local dish is popular for its large portion of skewered meat, vegetables, and hand-made potato noodles in a pot of boiling broth, and served with a ladle of flavored chili oil.

Two food bloggers, with over 3 million followers in their account "Daoyuesheshiyuji" on the popular Chinese microblogging site Weibo, are among the influencers extolling the deliciousness of Tianshui Malatang.

"This chili oil only enhances the fragrance but is not spicy. The aroma alone entices your appetite to make you drool," they said while savoring the delicacy.

Their vlogs show eager food enthusiasts lining up on the streets, clutching hot pot skewers. Many of them traveled from cities far away to relish the culinary experience.

Dong Liangyan, 29, from Daqing in Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, located more than 2,000 km away from Tianshui, told Xinhua that she was absolutely delighted to relish the local delicacy.

"Being a food enthusiast myself, all of the short video recommendations on my phone recently are about Tianshui Malatang," she said.

In mid-March, the average daily passenger flow at railway stations in Tianshui surged by some 40 percent in a week compared to the same period last year, data from China Railways showed.

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