Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market in Kunming
If you would like to get to know the history of one city, then you can go to a museum. If you want to learn about the culture of one city, then you can go to the university town. And if you are keen to get to grips with the life of one city, then you can go to the farmers’ market!
Kunming Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market has been running since 1988. It is the most traditional and popular farmers’ market in Kunming. Despite the development of the internet and urban shopping facilities, many locals still like shopping at Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market. Not only for fresh fruit and vegetables, but also other delicious foods and snacks.
Big name supermarkets continue to pop up across Kunming, but traditional produce markets remain special places of daily pilgrimage for many locals. On any given morning, if you are up early enough in the city center, the throngs of elderly people boarding buses often have a common destination — Zhuanxin Wet Market (篆新农贸市场).
Fresh fruit and vegetables
Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market has the most complete variety of fruits and vegetables in Kunming. While you come across the familiar, you will also find many products that will be completely new to your eyes. There are also lots of fresh seasoning ingredients too, like lemon grass.
Yunnan boasts a diverse range of wild, edible fungi, thanks to its complex topography, various forest types, soil types and unique three-dimensional climatic conditions.
The edible fungi in Yunnan account for more than half of that available globally and two-thirds of edible fungi in China. Every year, when the rainy season comes, you can find many fresh wild mushrooms at Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market.
You will find the wild mushrooms in an upstairs area of the market, a long corridor filled with the scents of them. The sellers are always on hand to help you choose from the vast array of mushrooms on offer.
Douhua Mixian (Rice Noodle with Bean Curd)
Douhua Mixian (or rice noodle with bean curd) has long been an iconic snack of Kunming. You will find small restaurants in Zhuanxin Farmers’ Market called Lalaxiaochi, which sell the most popular Douohua Mixian in Kunming.
The soft rice noodles, mixed with the spicy chilli sauce, makes it a hot dish, but the bean curd combines with the spicy taste to tone things down.
Don’t forget to try the sticky rice balls with bean flour, another favourite snack of the locals here. It looks like a round dumpling, but with different fillings.
Its main ingredients include sticky rice, yellow bean flour, brown sugar, minced sesame and peanut. And it tastes much like a warm candy, with a softer and stickier layer. While in Kunming, this special dessert is always enjoyed with a small bowl of spicy rice noodles, with bean curd.
For the locals, Zhuanxin Farmers Market is more than market, it holds a lot of memories of Kunming. A living symbol of the vibrant life here.