Eat Like a Local: 10 Best Kunming Foods
Kunming foods are representative of Yunnan Cuisine, also called Dian dishes, which fuse cooking styles of multiple cities and over 25 nationalities in Yunnan Province. With its high humidity and mild temperatures, Kunming provides abundant fruits and vegetables all year for the local cuisine. In addition, there are numerous snack options in high streets and back lanes. To 'do in Rome as the Romans do', you cannot miss trying the most authentic Dian dishes while traveling to Kunming. Below is a full list of the best 10 Kunming foods the locals like most:
Rice Noodles with Tofu Puddings (Douhua Mixian)
Flavor: salty and a bit sweet
Cooking Method: boil and mix
Rice Noodles with Tofu Puddings are signature Kunming food and top among all the Yunnan rice noodles. After boiling the rice noodles, add in some ingredients like dry pickled vegetables, Chinese leek, and spicy meat sauce. Finally, add some Toufu puddings on the top and it can be served. The light sweet Toufu will properly neutralize the spicy flavor. Remember to mix them before having the first bite.
Yunnan Mashed Potatoes (Old Grandma's Potatoes)
Flavor: salty, soft
Cooking Method: steam or boil, stir-fry
As one of the best Kunming foods, Yunnan Mashed Potatoes are popular among people of all ages. The locals often call it Old Grandma’s Potatoes because it can be enjoyed easily even by old granny. The potatoes need to be boiled or steamed first. After that, peel and mash them. At last, the mashed potatoes must be stir-fried with oil, salt, peppers, chopped green onions and coriander.
Flavor: salty and tender
Cooking Method: steam, boil
This dish gained its name from its cooking method: 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, 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.
Roast Rice Cake
Flavor: tender, glutinous, salt, sweet
Cooking Method: roast
Shao Erkuai is a unique snack can only be seen in the Yunnan area. However, you will be surprised by its popularity as you can easily find Erkuai stalls in any lanes or streets in Kunming. Erkuai is made of various local rice, mostly are white rice and purple rice. Ground the cooked rice and make them into square or round cake shapes. Then toast them over the heat and brush with sesame sauce or spicy sauce. You can also try eating like locals, wrapping a deep-fried dough stick or hams.
Flavor: fresh, salty
Cooking Method: stew, boil or stir-fry
Yunnan is a kingdom of wild mushroom, where the edible wild mushroom family is over 200 varieties. The fresh wild mushroom has become a permanent dish on Kunming locals’ menu. After raining, all sorts of mushrooms just come out. With various cooking methods, it can be made into a mild soup with other vegetables or stir-fried with peppers and meat. Moreover, a wild mushroom hot-pot will tickle your taste bud from the very first spite.
Flavor: sweet, crispy
Cooking Method: bake
As a must-try dessert of Kunming food, Flower Cake, one of the representative Dian-style mooncakes, derived from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) and used to be praised by the royals. It features the unique filling which is made of Yunnan local roses. Sometimes, other ingredients like yulan magnolia, sesames, peanuts, semen juglandis and jujube paste can be added per preference. The sweet stuffing with a light rose fragrance and crispy crust make it one of the most popular cakes in Yunnan.
Braised Rice with Beans
Cooking Method: boil, braise
It’s savory staple food in Kunming and the main ingredients are rice, green beans or peas, potatoes and Xuanwei hams. First, soak the uncooked rice in the water for a while. Cut the potatoes into small pieces, stir-fry them for several minutes and add the chopped hams and green beans. Mix them well and add the water and rice. Boil and braise them for about 20 minutes, and then it can be served with a perfect combination of color, aroma and taste.
Yunnan Stuffed Bun
Flavor: soft, salty, sweet
Cooking Method: steam
Yunnan Stuffed Bun, a popular snack can be seen in Kunming’s fancy hotels and street stalls, is different from the other stuffed buns. Made of low-gluten flour, lard stearin, hams, diced meat, sugar and chopped dried mushrooms, the bun tastes savory but a little bit sweet. The freshly steamed stuffed bun is especially delicious as the soft outer skin and juicy meat fillings seem melting in the mouth, definitely a fabulous Kunming food you cannot miss.
Flavor: soft and gluninous, a bit sour & sweet
Cooking Method: steam
Pineapple Rice is one of the favorite dishes of the Yunnan people, a typical delicacy with Dai ethnic characteristics. The sour and sweet flavors make it be served as a dessert sometimes, especially popular among children and ladies. Empty a ripe pineapple, chop the pulp into small cubes and then mix them with rice and glutinous rice. Put the mixture into the empty pineapple. Add some sugar and steam the pineapple. The sweet chewy rice will dominate your mouth and you can enjoy a light fragrance of the pineapple. Pretty yummy!
Guandu Baked Cake (Guandu Baba)
Flavor: soft and chewy, sweet, salty
Cooking Method: roast and bake
Guandu is a quaint historical town in Yunnan Province and it is famed for producing a delicious local snack, Baba. This is a Yunnan-style cake made of buckwheat flour dough, sometimes white and corn flour dough with fillings. The cake is baked over hot coals and often two flavors are available. The Baba with sweet fillings composed of sesame, ground peanuts and walnuts mixed with sugar is more common while the salty version filled with oil, meat and pickled vegetables also worth a try.
10 Special Yunnan Foods You Need to Try
If you arrive at the airport in the late afternoon, this schedule will be a little tight for you. You may choose one you want to visit most.
CACAJA Indian Restaurant: No.51, Wenhua Alley
Indian Kitchen: No.156, Wenlin Street, Wuhua District
Hope you like. :)
Hope you like.