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Yunnan Food

Yunnan cuisine (simplified Chinese: 云南菜) or Dian cuisine (Chinese: 滇菜), is an amalgam of the cuisines of the Han Chinese and other ethnic minorities in China. As the province with the largest number of ethnic minority groups, Yunnan cuisine is vastly varied, and it is difficult to make generalisations. Many Yunnan dishes are quite spicy, and mushrooms are featured prominently. Flowers, ferns, algae and insects may also be eaten.


Two of the province's most famous products are the renowned pu-erh tea which was traditionally grown in Ning'er; as well as Xuanwei ham, which is often used to flavour stewed and braised foods in Chinese cuisine and for making the stocks and broths of many Chinese soups.


Yunnan cuisine is unique in China for its cheeses like Rubing and Rushan cheese made by the Bai people, and its yogurt; the prominence of yogurt in the local cuisine may have been due to a combination of Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty, the Central Asian settlement in Yunnan, and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan.

Notable dishes[edit]

EnglishTraditional ChineseSimplified ChinesePinyinOriginDescription
Baba粑粑粑粑bābāNaxiA thick, round, heavy bread, either prepared plain or with various fillings.
Banana flower芭蕉花芭蕉花bājiāo huāDai/Zhuangpeople?The heart of the banana flower. Frequently eaten roasted in banana leaves on an open barbecue, but also stir-fried.
Pineapple rice菠蘿飯菠萝饭bōluó fànDai peoplePineapple rice. It is found in Xishuangbanna and others areas populated by Dai people.
Erkuai餌塊饵块ěrkuàiBai people(Dali Prefecture)Highly refined and compressed rice cakes
Across the Bridge Noodles過橋米線过桥米线guòqiáo mǐxiànHan ChineseLiterally means "crossing the bridge noodles" or "across the bridge noodles". It is Yunnan's best known dish. It typically consists of a bowl of boiling chicken soup, to which diners add their own selection of thin meat slices,mixian, vegetables and spices, much like a hot pot. It is ubiquitous throughout the province.
Hong dou紅豆红豆hóngdòu(ancient/wild)Azuki beans have been used in Yunnan for millennia. Earliest domesticated examples are known from tombs in Japan (4000BC), then China and Korea (3000BC). Genetic evidence indicates that the bean later crossbred with native species in the Himalayas, and Yunnan was probably exposed to the ingredient at this time. Frequently prepared fried with kale or mint.
Jidou liangfen雞豆涼粉鸡豆凉粉jīdòu liángfěnNaxi people(Lijiang)A savoury jelly made from gram flour
Juecai蕨菜蕨菜juécài ?Immature fronds of bracken ferns, such as Osmunda japonica.[2] Stir fried or in soup.
Granny's potato老奶洋芋老奶洋芋lǎonǎi yángyù ?A local mashed potato style dish typically flavoured with spring onion and chilli.
Lufu滷腐卤腐lǔfǔ ?A type of fermented beancurd, typically used as a condiment or made into sauces, often used on erkuai. It is reddish-yellow in colour, with a soft texture and a savoury flavour.
Mi gan /Mi xian米干 / 米線米干 / 米线mǐgàn / mǐxiànDai people /Han ChineseFresh Yunnanese rice noodles, typically served either in a soup of broth or stir fried.
Pu'er Tea普洱茶普洱茶pǔ'ěr cháHan Chinese(Ning'er)Famous dark tea that had gained popularity worldwide for its health benefits.
Steam Pot Chicken氣鍋雞气锅鸡qìguōjīHan Chinese(Jianshui)Literally means "steam pot chicken". It consists of chicken steamed with tonics and herbs in a ceramic pot.
Rubing乳餅乳饼rǔbǐngBai people(Dali Prefecture)Cheese made from goat's milk.
Rushan乳扇乳扇rǔshānBai people(Dali Prefecture)Cheese made from cow's milk
Shiping Tofu石屏豆腐石屏豆腐shípíng dòufǔHan Chinesevia Mongols(Shiping)Yuan Dynasty traditional beancurd traditionally made inShiping County.
Xuanwei Ham宣威腿宣威腿xuānwēi tuǐHan Chinese(Qujing)Ming Dynasty traditional ham from Xuanwei, a county level city in Qujing (曲靖), Yunnan
Yiliang Roast Duck宜良烤鴨宜良烤鸭yíliáng kǎoyāHan Chinese(Yiliang)A crispy skin roast duck similar to Peking Duck, but honey is used to crisp and colour the skin. It is roasted with pine branches and needles, which impart a unique flavour to the dish.
Zhé'ěrgēn折耳根折耳根zhé'ěrgēnYelang?An edible rhizome with a fresh, spicy, peppery flavour. The leaves are also eaten.
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