In Kunming, picturesque natural scenery enhances delicious local foods. Kunming dishes are representative of Dian (Yunnan Province) cuisine, which combines cooking styles of other cities and nationalities outside Kunming in Yunnan Province. With its high humidity and mild temperatures Kunming provides abundant fruits and vegetables all year for local cuisine. In addition, there are numerous snack options in high streets and back lanes.
Dian dishes are moderately salty and spicy. To 'do in Rome as the Romans do', try the food specialties in Kunming. The unique delicacies from Kunming are famous throughout China; especially the fresh wild mushrooms. There is an edible wild mushroom family of over 200 varieties in Kunming, the tastes of which remain in mind. Some recommended Dian dishes include the following:
Steaming-Pot Chicken (Qiguo Ji)
This dish gained its name from steaming the chicken in a pot with a hollow tube in the center. It is a simple tasty dish. To make it, place chicken, ginger, a shallot, pepper and salt in the pot and steam for about four hours, during which time steam from the tube contacts the cold pot cover turning to water, then flows back into the pot to become delicious chicken soup. Before serving, remove ginger and shallot.
Braised Jizong (mushroom) in Soy Sauce (Hongshao Jizong)
Kunming is host to various wild mushrooms including Jizong. Whenever the sun shines after a rain from June to September, many Jizong shaped like small grey umbrellas appear on the mountain. The chicken-like taste of Jizong is popular with gourmands. Braised Jizong in Soy Sauce is prepared this way: Wash Jizong; dry by airing; cut into pieces. Next chop chili and tenderloin pieces. Wrap tenderloin and Jizong pieces in egg white, starch and salt mixture; fry in hot oil. Finally, braise the Jizong and tenderloin pieces with garlic, ginger and shallot. Drizzle sesame oil on a plate, place braised pieces on oil.
Kunming Bittern Duck (Kunming Lu Ya)
The dish is a first choice among tourists. After choosing ducks from Dianchi Lake and preparing with some ten steps, it can be served. The dish is golden with a soft flavor. It is said that Bittern Duck is a dish do much good to people's health.
A recommended restaurant for the dishes mentioned is Fuzhao Lou located at Meishicheng crossing near South Gate, prices about 50 yuan per person. Another famous Dian restaurant is Lao Fangzi (old house). It is located at No. 18 - 19 in Jixiang Xiang, Dongfeng Xi Lu. The charming restaurant is a typical Yunnan residence with a 100-year history.
Across Bridge Rice Noodle (Yunnan Guoqiao Mixian) is one of the featured specialties of Kunming and Yunnan. It has three main parts: a bowl of extremely hot chicken broth, various slices of meat, including chicken, fish, and meat up to nine varieties, with various seasonings and rice noodles.
Preparation: Add meat and seasonings to the soup first, then the rice noodles. Season with pepper powder, gourmet powder, fried chili, and chopped onion; the flavorful soup is colorful red, green, yellow and white.
The most authentic and tasty Across Bridge Rice Noodles are served at the Qiao Xiang Yuan (Culture Street Branch). It is located at No. 2 in Wenlin Jie, Jinma Biji Square.
Xuanwei Ham (Xuanwei Huotui) also called 'Yuntui' or 'Yunnan Ham' is one of the three famous and best hams in China. The main ingredient in many local dishes, Yunnan Ham retains its unique flavor and can be stored for long periods of time. Offered in most local restaurants, ham preparation includes baking, salting, pestle, warming, and freezing.
Modern Cake (Modeng Baba)
Baba is popular in Yunnan. It is a food made of flour, corn powder, sticky rice, lard, sesame and meat. The initiators of Modern Baba were two pretty sisters who made sweet and tasteful Baba that attracts people even today. Modern Baba has a crisp exterior and a soft interior; it is sweet with savory cream.
Besides Modeng Baba, other snacks include Shao Mai (steamed dumpling with the dough gathered at the top), Chou Doufu (bean curd), Wandou Fen (bean jelly), and Jicai Jiao (shepherd's-purse dumpling).
Neighboring on Xinan Dasha is a snack street. Guanshang Lu is recommended for wild mushrooms. Bei Damen Jie, Xingyuan Lu, Dianchi Lu and Guannan Dadao are famous Kunming dining areas.
Pastry is another local favorite in Kunming. Xuanwei Ham Moon cake is a Dian style moon cake praised even by emperors. Rose Cake is a seasonal fresh-tasting pastry with a stuffing of fragrant roses in bud. Best known is Dian Eight Articles, the representative pastry in Kunming. Eight Articles refers to eight cakes with eight different flavors. We recommend these as gifts.
Most hotels in Kunming offer Western food in a noise-free environment at prices much higher than those charged in common Western restaurants.
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