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A Taste of China Episode 1: A Bowl of Noodles and the Secrets of Yunnan

September 15, 2020 @ 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Join us as we travel live to Yunnan, one of China’s most diverse regions, to explore the unique flavors of China’s southwestern borderlands. Follow our onsite guide to Dali to observe the local tradition of hand pulled noodles, and talk food and culture with cookbook author Georgia Freedman, journalist and author David Eimer, and Yunnan native Mei Zhang, founder of WildChina.

Speakers’ Bios

Georgia Freedman is the author of Cooking South of the Clouds: Recipes and Stories from China’s Yunnan Province (Kyle Books, 2018).  A freelance journalist and editor, her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Afar, Martha Stewart Living, Rodale’s Organic Life, Roads and Kingdoms, and other food and travel publications including Saveur magazine, where she was previously the managing editor. Georgia has been traveling to China to learn about the country’s food and culture since 2000, and she lived in Yunnan Province for two years. She returns to Yunnan regularly with her husband, Josh Wand, and their young daughter, and she shares stories about their travels at ChinaSouthoftheClouds.com.

David Eimer is the author of the critically acclaimed The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China (Bloomsbury 2014) and A Savage Dreamland: Journeys in Burma

(Bloomsbury, 2019). A former foreign correspondent for the Sunday and Daily Telegraph in Beijing and Bangkok, he has written for many newspapers including the Sunday Times, Times, Guardian, Independent, Australian and the South China Morning Post.

Zhang Mei is the founder and CEO of WildChina. Under her leadership, WildChina flourished from a small Hutong operation into an award-winning business. Mei’s own expertise has led her to win a number of personal awards, including Travel and Leisure’s A-List of Top Travel Advisors, Condé Nast Traveler’s Top Travel Specialist, and Wendy Perrin’s #WOW List of Travel Experts. Mei is an Aspen Institute China Fellow and currently serves as a member of Harvard Business School’s Alumni Board.

See Zhang Mei in Pieces of China, episode 10, as she discusses the white magnolia and its cultural history!

Frank Shan is a guide based in Dali, China.  Born and raised on the shores of Erhai Lake, Frank’s passion is to take travelers on tours of his home region, showing them the hiking trails he knows by heart and the villages he’s come back to year after year. With a lifetime of experience and 13 years of guiding expertise, Frank loves being able to shift and adapt activities to suit the interests of his travelers – to help his Yunnan become their Yunnan. When he isn’t travelling, you can find Frank practicing calligraphy or playing the bamboo flute.

Dorinda (Dinda) Elliott is SVP, Director of Programs, at the China Institute.  Before joining China Institute, Elliott worked as editorial and communications director at the Paulson Institute, which promotes U.S.-China relations and sustainable growth in both countries.  Elliott worked as a journalist for some 30 years, with a deep background in China. Elliott was Newsweek Bureau Chief in Beijing, Moscow, and Hong Kong, then Asia Editor. As Editor-in-Chief of Asiaweek from 2000-2001, she relaunched the magazine with a new focus on China and business. Elliott was later an Assistant Managing Editor at Time magazine, then Global Affairs Editor at Condé Nast Traveler, where she wrote about China, global issues, and corporate social responsibility.  Elliott graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in East Asian Studies. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese, and speaks rusty Russian and French. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with her husband Adi Ignatius. They have three sons.

WildChina is an award-winning travel company that specializes in high-end cultural and experiential journeys. Whether we’re in China’s sprawling megacities or villages where street names hardly exist, we go off the beaten path to get to the real stories. We push the boundaries of travel, crossing cultural borders to discover the China that lives amid the aromatic sizzle of street-side woks, in bustling city markets and far-flung mountain villages, and most of all, in the hearts of the people along the way. Our journeys are fully customizable and cover Mainland China, Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and neighboring countries in South East Asia.


This program is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council.


September 15, 2020
9:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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