The Longji Rice Terraces on a Rainy Day

guilin-1-of-21My last blog post on the Hadza tribe of Tanzania (Hanging Out with the Hadza) was my longest post ever, so it makes sense to follow it by a short one, probably my shortest one. And I hope you will find it to be “short and sweet” as it involves food and hospitality.

Last fall I went to the Guangxi province of Southern China to see the Longshen Rice terraces. Located about 100 km from the famous city of Guilin, the terraces are also called Longji meaning Dragon’s Backbone as they are supposed to be reminiscent of the scales of a dragon. I had heard that the terraces are amazing at any time of the year as they change drastically in color from one season to the next. They are indeed stunning even though we got to enjoy them mostly under heavy rain.

As a respite from the rain, we visited a local family from the Yao ethnic group, Mr. and Ms. Pang in their beautiful traditional house in Dazhai. The Yao people are one of the officially recognized ethnic minorities in China though some people from the Yao ethnic group now live in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. In Dazhai, almost everyone is from the Yao tribe.

Mr. Pang is 76 years old while Ms. Pang is 81 years old (way to go Ms. Pang). They live in a wooden house that has two stories. As in most traditional Yao houses, the first story is where they keep the farming tools and raise livestock, which in the case of the Pang family means a few chickens and a horse. The Pang extended family lives in the upper story and Ms. Pang has found a clever way to feed the horse without having to go down to the first level.



As we were waiting (hoping) for the rain to stop, Mr. and Ms. Pang prepared for us a traditional Yao dish called you cha (oil tea). Tea leaves are sautéed with salt, pepper and ginger to which puffed rice and sweet potatoes are added. The dish is warm, quite fragrant, a little bitter but has a sweet finish. It is said to warm the body and enhance the blood flow. Exactly what we needed to continue on our journey as the rain was showing little sign of letting up.

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Warm thanks to Mr. and Ms. Pang,


P.S. For better viewing enjoyment, click on the title of the post to get to the website.

P. P.S. You can follow me on Instagram at franceleclerc

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  1. Alison September 26, 2016 at 03:47 #

    Exquisite photographs. It didn’t feel like a short post. It felt just right. I’ve added the terraces to our growing China list.

    • franceleclerc September 26, 2016 at 17:57 #

      Thanks Alison. Hope you an enjoy them and keep dry. Best, France

  2. Jeri Delgado Ioannou September 26, 2016 at 08:42 #

    The photos of Mr and Ms Pang are beautiful and heartwarming. Thankyou for sharing!

    • franceleclerc September 26, 2016 at 18:01 #

      You are welcome Jeri. I am glad you like the photos. Mr. and Ms. Pang were a lovely couple and very nice to one another. I enjoyed spending time with them greatly. Warm regards, France

  3. Siddhartha Joshi September 27, 2016 at 20:42 #

    I just stumbled across your blog through a G+ community and I am so glad I landed up here! I simply love your pictures and feel so inspired by your work…

    Never been to China, yet felt a connection with the story and the portraits of people there. Wonderful 🙂

    • franceleclerc September 28, 2016 at 09:34 #

      Siddhartha, thanks for visiting and thanks for your kind words. One of the things I try to do is to make people see that we are all the same even if we look different, dress differently, pray differently so I am so glad you felt a connection with Mr.and Ms.Pang. Hope to hear from you again. Kind regards, France

  4. Emilie September 28, 2016 at 03:34 #

    Beautiful and dramatic scenery .. wonderful pictures of the Pangs and the rooster and yes very clever set-up for feeding the horse . The house looked cosy and they had lovely crockery didn’t they, it looked very inviting . What an experience.

    • franceleclerc September 28, 2016 at 09:42 #

      Warm greetings Emilie. Nice hearing from you again. Yes, my time with the Pangs was precious. The house was indeed warm and cosy, particularly the kitchen when they were cooking. It felt good to be there after walking under heavy rain for a few hours. Hope you are well. France

  5. ivy October 5, 2016 at 13:53 #

    These are beautiful. I especially appreciate how you craft what must be tight inside shots capturing beautiful light and detail.

    • franceleclerc October 5, 2016 at 17:45 #

      Thank you Ivy. The space was OK but the light was really a challenge, particularly in the back of the house (kitchen area). Thankfully, the fire helped a little. Lovely people though. Warm regards, France