Yunnan Food

Yunnan cuisine, often referred to as Dian cuisine, has its own unique style because of its geographic location, diverse local plant and animal species and numerous ethnic minority groups. Many ethnic minority groups are located in Yunnan Province and they have each added their own cooking styles to Yunnan cuisine, making it a beautiful mix of many different styles of cooking and preparation styles. Yunnan cuisine is known for its sour and spicy dishes. Tough commonly seasoned with chilies, Yunnan Cuisine, unlike the mouth-stinging fiery food in neighboring Sichuan, strives to keep the original taste of its ingredients, which are freshly plucked from mountains and caught from the sea.

Yunnan Cuisine, a blend of the long history and diversified food culture, ethnic culture and regional feature of Yunnan, being special and fresh with fragrance or pure beauty, contains a unique lasting appeal. The cuisine in northeast Yunnan has a similar cooking method and flavor with that of Sichuan cuisine. The cuisine of ethnic minorities constitutes the principal part of the cuisine in western and southwest Yunnan. While the cuisine in south Yunnan is the essence of Yunnan cuisine.

Features of Yunnan Food

Although not being listed in the top eight cuisine series of China, Yunnan cuisine has always popular in China. Main features of Yunnan cuisine are long history, multi-ethnic presentation, wide range of raw materials, unique and diversified cooking methods, combination of the past and the present, various tastes with broad and rich contents. These features are formed through thousands of years of history, originating from the ancient Yunnan State between the Spring and Autumn Warring States Period and the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties and the Dali State in the Tang and Song Dynasties, going through the big change and development in Yuan and Ming Dynasties, and being formed in the middle Qing Dynasty. It is a series of cuisine with bright feature of ethnic minorities among the Chinese cuisine, a product combined the food tradition of 25 ethnic minorities with that of Han ethnic group.

Features of Yunnan cuisine include a wide range of raw material and flavor with particular advantage in cooking delicacies from the mountains and waters. The flavor is featured by fresh and tender taste, delicate fragrance, sour and hot balance, with particular flavor-consciousness on the original taste and flavor of food material. Crispy, glutinous, well-cooked with heavy cooking oil, proper ornament and vivid modeling.

The most extraordinary feature of Yunnan food is its vastly varied ingredients, including vegetables, tropical fruits, flowers and even insects. Here you get a good opportunity to enjoy a surprisingly diverse range of feasts, like the Fungus Banquet for Yunnan boasts 250 species of edible wild mushrooms. If you are daring enough, you can try the Insect Dish made from ant eggs, spiders, locusts, dragonflies, silkworm chrysalis, cicadas and all sorts of insects.

What to Eat in Yunnan

Regions Representative Cuisines
Kunming Steam pot chicken, small pot rice noodle, stewed waterless rice noodle, roast rice cake, Guandu rice cake, Yiliang roast duck, Kunyang pot-stewed duck, Chenggong pea flour, rice noodle with tofu pudding, flower cake, etc.
Qujing Xuanwei ham(宣威火腿), Zhanyi spicy chicken, steamed shredded rice cake, fried potato.
Yuxi The Three Dishes from Jiangchuan,  Chengjiang lotus root flour, Kanglang fish, copper pot fish, big head carp, cold rice noodle, waxgourd candied fruit, oil and spicy preserved tofu, bean foam sugar, fried termitornyces albuminosus heim, cold porridge.
Zhaotong Gastrodia elata stewed chicken, Zhaotong paste.
Baoshan Tengchong fried rice cake, Baoshan mung bean, rice flour roll.
Lincang Chicken rice, rice cake roll, thin bean flour, Yunnan black tea, Papaya stewed chicken
Pu’er Edible wild herbs, rice noodle, dishes featuring ethnic minority specialty.  
Lijiang Lijiang baba(rice cake), Yongsheng buttered tea, Naxi roast fish, preserved spareribs, spirulina, Lijiang sausage, yellow bean noodle, Lijiang salmon, Pipa meat, Jidou pea jelly salad.
Chuxiong Wild fungus, Yi ethnic dishes.
Dali Bai style three-course tea, Yunnan goat cheese, river water boiled fish, Erhai lake seaweed, rice noodle with pork, roast rice cake, Midu pork tenderloin, silver fish.
Nujiang Nujiang fish, pomegranate, chestnut, flagstone soba cake, liquor stewed egg.
Diqing Buttered tea, barley wine, Tibetan bacon meat, dried dairy products
Honghe Mengzi crossings bridge rice noodle, Jianshui roast tofu, Kaiyuan mini rice flour roll, Mengzi sweet pomegranate, Hekou mini rice flour roll, Shiping tofu.
Wenshan Pseudo-ginseng stewed chicken and other pseudo-ginseng dish series, sour soup with chicken, sour soup with beef, wild fungus, roast rice cake, colored sticky rice.
Dehong Dai-style dishes, Dai-style bamboo rice, pineapple rice, cold beef with rice noodle, milk-rice juice, Mangshi reserved vegetable and fruit, tropical fruit.
Xishuangbanna Dai-style bamboo rice, pineapple rice, fresh bamboo shoots, ant eggs, wild fungus and tropical fruit.

Most Famous Yunnan Dishes

1. Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles

It is the most celebrated specialty in Yunnan, served with a large bowl of hot chicken broth and a platter of side ingredients including rice noodles, slices of pork, fish and raw vegetables. You cook for yourself by adding them all into the stock, stir it well and then enjoy.

2. Steamed-pot Chicken

Featuring the chicken being steamed in a Yunnan-style clay pot with a mixture of medicinal herbs for 3-4 hours, the dish is famous for its tender meat, delicious soup and nourishing values.

3. Yunnan Mushroom Hotpot

A seasonal specialty with the broth made from brewing dozens of fresh mushrooms harvested wild from the mountains, such as boletus, matsutakes and bamboo fungus; the flavorful hotpot meal is best enjoyed from June to September.

4. Xuanwei Ham

One of the three best hams in China, Xuanwei Ham, noted for its small bones, thin skin, bright color and fragrant flavor, can be prepared in a number of different ways, including frying, steaming, grilling and stewing, to enjoy its delicate taste.

5. Rice-flour Cake(Er Kuai)

A popular Yunnan snack, Rice-flour Cake has many versions, like a large roasted pancake wrapped with pickled cabbage and spicy sauce, thin square pieces stir-fired with ham, vegetables and chili, or thread-shaped Ersi fried or just boiled quickly with hot soup.

6. Dali Casserole Fish

Fish caught from Erhai Lake cooked in an earthen pot with rich ingredients like slices of chicken, ham, sea cucumber, tofu and various vegetables, this tasty fish hotpot is a special treat of Bai minority people to entertain guests.

7. Bamboo Chicken

A traditional dish created by the Hani People, involving stuffing the bite-sized chicken, ginger, chilies, garlic and other seasoning into a bamboo tube and being toasted until fully cooked. The chicken is tender with the fresh fragrance of bamboo.

Where to Eat in Yunnan

Names Address Tel.
Salvador’s Coffee House Wenlin Jie, Wenhua Xiang #76Kunming 650031, China
+86 871-6536 3525
Camellia Chinese Restaurant 4/F Crowne Plaza Kunming City Centre, No.399 Qingnian RoadKunming 650011, China +86 871 6315 8888
The Park Cafe Bar & Restaurant
Lotus Temple, Green Lake ParkKunming, China
+86 153 6817 1162
Maya Cafe

Nunber 33, Yu He Zou Lang | [After the Water Wheel, follow the stream northward towards Black Dragon Pool]Lijiang 674100, China

 +86 147 8718 2426
N’s Kitchen 2F, 17 Jishan Alley, Xinyi Street|Xiaosifang StreetLijiang, China
+86 888 512 0060
V.sherry Restaurant No.95 Xingwen Alley, Qiyi Street, Gucheng DistrictLijiang 674100, China +86 888 511 1196
Emma
No.43 Yincang Road, Dali Ancient Town | Opposite the back entrance of Yu’er ParkDali 671000, China
+86 159 2764 4871
The Bakery No.88 No.17 Renmin Road | Next to the MosqueDali 671003, China +86 872 267 9129
Serendipity Diner No.53 Guangwu Road, Dali Old TownDali 671003, China
 +86 872 251 0086
Flying Tigers Cafe Hongxue Gallery, 78 | 100 meters from the Tea Horsen Road museum & hotelShangri-La County 674400, China  +86 887 828 6661
The Compass
No. 3 Chi Lang Lane, Bei Men 2nd Group | Jian Tang Old TownShangri-La County 674400, China
+86 887 822 3040
Somewhere Else Cafe No.8 Second Floor, Dianlaka, Du Ke Zong Old Town | (South from Four Square Dancing Street, Pijiangpo – in front of Lost Horizon Inn)Shangri-La County 674400, China +86 182 1323 4679
Mekong Cafe
1-1201 Ganbai Street GaozhuangJinghong 666100, China
+86 131 8797 0253
MeiMei Cafe
F1-107 108 Jingland Tea Center Menglong RoadJinghong 666100, China
+86 691 216 1221
St. Cedro Kitchen
Building 12 Jinglan ZhaiJinghong 666100, China
+86 159 2541 0492
Xiang Man Lou (Lin’an Road)
No.63-6 Hanlin StreetJianshui County, China
+86 873 765 5655
Yang’s Garden
Hongjing StreetJianshui County, China
+86 873 766 1777
ZiXing KaoYa Liang Pin
No.112 Hanlin StreetJianshui County 654399, China
+86 873 318 3159
Hello Cloud Restaurant
Pugao ZhaiYuanyang County, China
+86 153 8887 0650
Hanbae Family Restaurant
Korean Street, Yiren Old TownChuxiong, China
+86 152 8850 6250
Li Chu Restaurant
Tengban RoadTengchong County 679100, China
+86 875 519 9901
Luosuo (Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa) Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa, Menglun TownMengla County 666303, China  +86 691 893 6666
Corvus Corax Cafe
No.38 Nangu Zong Alley | Nearby the SquareJianchuan County 671000, China
+86 150 5328 9386