People who take a tour to Dali Old Town never forget to taste the food in Dali Old Town. As a city having various Chinese ethnic minorities, the local food is different from the one in other places. All the foods in Dali Old feature local culture of ethnic minorities, and all the materials are from this place. It is the creation of local people and the work of human wisdom. This article will take you into the local life to discover the stunning food in this Yunnan city.All the foods talked about below are the representatives of local food and the essence of local food culture. They are also the top recommended ones to tourists who will be or have been in Dali Old Town.
The most famous snack: Dali Baba or Xizhou baba (大理粑粑或喜州粑粑), a lardy flatbread that tourist-savvy vendors misleadingly call "pizza". Dali Old baba comes in two main varieties, a savory version with minced pork and spring onion on top and a sweet baba filled with dousha, a sweet and filling red bean paste.
Cut the baked pork (mostly from the hip and rear lag) and pork liver into filaments, take onions, garlic, parsley, stewed plum, spicy noodles, soy sauce, etc. As the condiments, put the filaments in the condiments for eating. This is known among the people as “eating raw hide”. The custom is said to date from the period of Nanzhao Kingdom with a long history. The shredded meat with condiments wipes off the fishy smell and provides unprecedented fresh, tender and sweet feeling.
Rushan (rǔ shàn 乳扇) is made of the local milk of cows. The creation method is: After heat" the sour water" firstly, then ladle up the fresh milk to flutter lightly, it becomes the form of downy, then stand the thin slice with the bamboo chopsticks, dries by air on the bamboo. Because the shape likes inclined, it is called Rushan. The Rushan not only has the taste only, the nourishment is abundant, implies various materials of protein, amino acids...etc. that human body need, but also has the in harmony with spirit, blood and tranquilizes the nerves to cultivate mental calm, is good for the stomach to repair falsely etc. effect, it is the good product of the human body health to strengthen the physical endowment and promote. The cooking method of the Rushan is varied, fried, steam, roast, very hot, fry, boil all can. Take the Rushan together with other meat or vegetables; you can boil to make a series food of various milk of a pleasant change of atmosphere. The Rushan also can eat without boiling, in the past, there weren¡¯t highways in Shenxi, the conveyance depended on horses, the people of riding horses often took the Rushan and brown sugar as the food when they were tired.
Er Kuai is one of the most conventional local foods, a rice-based dish. The rice is first washed, soaked, stewed and then mashed into a paste, before being molded into various lumps, slices and shreds. It is usually grilled over burning charcoals with a sugar, walnut, or sesame filling.
Sand-pot fish (shā guō yú 砂锅鱼) is a famous local dish of Dali. Put slender chicken and more than ten seasonings like dried mushrooms into the sand-pot. Then add some bow fish or carp caught in Erhai Lake into the pot. Stew them slowly. The tourists can taste sand-pot fish on the yachts or in all the restaurants in Dali or Xiaguan. Sand-pot fish is 20 yuan every pot. One pot is enough for three to four people. It is really delicious.
Three Courses Tea
Tea is the most popular drink among the Bai. It is commonly drunk as part of a ceremony involving three servings. The first cup of tea tastes bitter, the second is sweeter, while the third cup has added seasoning for a more fragrant, lingering aftertaste. This way of tea drinking can be traced back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The three servings of bitterness, followed by sweetness and finally an aromatic aftertaste are supposed to act as metaphors as part of a philosophy on life.
Eight Bowls of Bai People in Dali
The “Eight Bowls” used in the weddings or funerals is the concentrated reflection of the traditional cooking culture of Bai People. The old fashioned square table for eight people (carved marble square table) takes eights dishes, known as “Eight Bowls”. The Eight Bowls of Bai People has appropriate collocation of meats and vegetables, fat but not greasy, plain but not light, with rich nutrition. Covering fry, crisp, stewing and boiling, with colorful brightness, extruding vinegar-pepper flavor of the diet of Bai People.
The first plate, which was a sort of appetizer. It was an amazing plate of what we Westerners might call charcuterie: assorted slices of meats, served with boiled duck eggs. The meats included beef, pork, and liver. They were all simply brilliant: each variety of meat burst with rich, intense meaty flavor, complemented with a dash of exotic spices. And the duck eggs had that rich, brothy element that chicken eggs just cannot quite attain.
The first bowl was pickled Chinese cabbage with fatty pork. This is one of the best dishes I have ever had. It consisted basically of Chinese cabbage and spices pickled in a rich, dark rice vinegar, along with the pork. The flavor was profoundly sour and tart, with a complex bitter undertone. The cabbage alone would have been too intense for most people, but the luscious, fatty pork balanced the sourness with rich, salty meat. The flavor was extremely complicated and complex, with a richness that is only found in the most aged Western cheeses.
The second bowl was a dish of cold rice noodles with boiled egg yolks and wood ear mushrooms. The flavor was delicate, with a hint of white vinegar, the richness of the egg yolks, and the earthy, woody flavor of the mushrooms. I saw this dish as a sort of palate cleanser for the pickled pork dish.
The third bowl was mountain yam in a flavorful broth, topped with — you guessed it — fatty pork. But lest you imagine the pork to have been overwhelming overkill, keep in mind that the Chinese people are the greatest butchers in the world: they know a pig’s body like no one else, topping even the French in using literally every part of a pig’s body for food. So although several dishes involved pork, each dish had its own cut of the pig that was perfectly suited to that dish. The pork in this dish was rich, but not overly organic in flavor, perfectly suiting the thick mouthfeel of the mountain yam.
The fourth bowl was a dish of local white beans, flavored with chives and mild red peppers. The texture was thick and milky, but the beans were by no means overcooked. In fact, they had a perfect balance of smoothness and crispness. The flavor was warm and full-bodied. The beans themselves had a crisp but earthy element.
The fifth bowl was full of flavorful river fish, topped with a flour breading. The flavor was very nice: like fresh, crisp river sweetness, with the fuller flavor of the breading, and a mixture of garlic and other spices.
The sixth bowl was fried pig skin(酥肉). This dish was, without a doubt, the richest, fattiest, most succulent and luxurious dish. But despite what you might imagine, it was not at all greasy or oily. Rather, it was soft and tender.
The seventh bowl (pork again!) was cubes of pork with a very substantial texture, along with pieces of pork fat. Remember though that every dish had a different cut of pork suited just for that dish. This particular cut of pork was meaty and thick, but still tender. Because of the bright pink-red color of this pork, the meat was partially cured before it was stir-fried. The flavor bore my theory out. Besides preservation, meat is cured to greatly concentrate and intensify the flavor. The bright pork flavor in this dish was extremely concentrated, the very spirit of pig flavor.
The eighth and final bowl was light, fluffy tofu with wood ear mushrooms and a spicy red chili sauce drizzled on top. The flavor combination of these three ingredients was masterful. The soft, mild tofu and the full-bodied earthiness of the mushrooms were accented by the piquancy of the chili oil.