Yunnan Cuisine

Tucked away in southwest China, Yunnan Province borders Burma, Laos and Vietnam. Yunnan cuisine is a combination of Han Chinese and Chinese minority cuisines. The cuisine may not be well known, but the area produces some famous raw materials.

Pu'er tea – Yunnan Cuisine

Flavorsome Yunnan ham, salted and air-dried, is much loved throughout China and often used to flavor soups. Pu'er tea, dark and earthy, is highly regarded and valued. This tea, sold molded into flat cakes, when aged commands high prices. The area is also famous for a huge range of wild mushrooms. Some of the names are wonderfully evocative and exotic--sheep's stomach, monkey head, chicken fungus. Try the fresh goat's milk cheese that is served fried. It is mild and bears some resemblance to mozzarella.

Crossing the Bridge Noodles – Yunnan Cuisine

The most popular Yunnanese dish goes by the quaint name of Crossing the Bridge Noodles. The name has its origins in a popular tale. It is said that a scholar retired to an island pavilion in the middle of a lake and his wife had to devise a way to keep the meals she took him hot. Bowls of fine rice noodles in broth are kept hot with a thick layer of chicken fat. The liquid is so hot that when you slide thin slices of meat, fish, bean curd and vegetables into the bowl, they are instantly cooked. Other healthy broths are steamed and served in a special clay pot with a cone-shaped chimney.