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10 Dishes You Must Try When You Learn Chinese in Kunming

Speaking of Kunming, Yunnan, and the charming scenery and pleasant climate, the food here is another big attraction for Mandarin learners. Whether it’s a street snack or a banquet in a restaurant, you can always find a Yunnan cuisine that can satisfy your taste buds and bring you a novel experience at the same time!

As the capital city of Yunnan Province, Kunming gathers special dishes from all parts of Yunnan, which are not only delicious but also allow you to appreciate the characteristics of different ethnic minority dining cultures.

When learning Mandarin at Keats School, you can enjoy almost all of the famous local dishes conveniently at Keats canteen with no need for hunting and searching outside. Check out CHINESE DISHES INCLUDED IN KEATS SCHOOL TUITION

In today’s post, we will explore the top 10 dishes you must try when you learn Chinese in Kunming!

Top 1. Cross-bridge (Guoqiao) rice noddle

The essence of this signature dish of Yunnan is soup. The soup of Guoqiao rice noodles is made from pork bones, hens, and Yunnan Xuanwei ham. Both tourists and local residents like to eat this dish in Kunming. You can take it as any one of the three meals during the day. Normally, the locals prefer having it as breakfast.

The cross-bridge rice noodles are composed of three types of ingredients. The first thing is a bowl of a hot soup made with good ingredients. The second part is sliced ingredients, including raw pork slices, chicken slices, fish slices, plus processed tofu covering, leeks, mung bean sprouts, pea leaf tips, coriander, and green onions. And the last part, the rice noodles.

In addition to the most famous cross-bridge rice noodles, there are many other cooking methods. For example, the Douhua (bean curd) rice noodles and small pot cooked rice noodles are all very characteristics of rice noodles.

Top 2. Fried pea flour and potato

Pea flour is made from peas. Soak the dried peas in water, grind them into a slurry, and slowly boil them into a paste with a slow fire. After cooling, they will become pea flour.

The texture of pea flour is fine and smooth, the color is turmeric, and the taste has the special aroma of the pea. Cut the pea flour into small pieces, cooked stir-fried or made as a cold dish.

The favorite way for Yunnan people to cook it is to deep-fry it, pick it up when it’s fully cooked, and mix it with chili and other seasonings.

Another popular street food like pea flour is fried potato. Peel the potatoes cut them into pieces, fry them in a frying pan until they are golden brown. Then take them out, mixing with chili and other seasonings. These two dishes are common street snacks, delicious and affordable, very popular with locals.

Top 3. Pickled fruits and vegetables

The climate in Yunnan is suitable for growing vegetables and fruits, so in Kunming, you can eat all kinds of fresh vegetables and sweet fruits and pickles made of these fruits and vegetables.

For example, the most common pickled fruit is mango. People pick the immature green mango, remove the core and skin, cut the pulp into slices, pile them together, and sprinkle with chili powder on top and pickle it for a delicious taste.

The combination of the sweetness of fruit and chili is a favorite taste of locals. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised after tasting it!

Top 4. Steam pot chicken

Steam pot chicken is one of Yunnan’s famous dishes, and it has been spread among the people in southern Yunnan more than 2,000 years ago. Jianshui County in southern Yunnan produces a unique earthenware steam pot called “steam pot,” which is specially used for steaming food.

Recipe for steam pot chicken: Wash the whole chicken and chop it into small pieces. Put it in a steam pot with ginger, salt, green onion, and grass fruit and cover it. Place the steam pot on a soup pot filled with water, plug the gap with gauze to prevent steam leakage, and then put it on the fire to cook.

After the water in the soup pot is boiled, the steam will gradually steam the chicken through the steam nozzle in the middle of the steam pot (usually takes 3 to 4 hours).

Since the soup is made of steam condensed, the umami taste of the chicken is less lost during the steaming process, so the original taste of the chicken is well maintained in this dish.

Top 5. Steamed rice roll (also known as Bánh cuốn in Vietnam)

In Yunnan, diversified cultures have brought delicious food. In addition to ethnic flavors such as Dai, Hui, and Yi, Southeast Asian specialties such as Thailand and Vietnam, such as the Steamed Rice rolls imported from Vietnam.

Firstly, the rice is mixed with water, ground into a slurry, and then spread on a layer of gauze to be steamed into a thin and transparent slice of rice roll. Use bamboo sticks to carefully remove the rice rolls and place them with the previously fried fillings, then roll them up, cut into sections, and serve with the hot and sour dipping sauce.

The steamed rice rolls are crystal clear, wrapped in meat. When having it, you should dip it in a dipping sauce made of millet pepper, minced garlic, coriander, and other materials, which can both season and relieve greasiness, giving it a unique flavor.

Top 6. Wild mushroom

Yunnan is the kingdom of wild mushrooms with thousands of species. Wild mushrooms contain a variety of amino acids, are rich in nutrients, and taste delicious. The famous and common wild mushrooms are chicken fir mushroom, boletus, matsutake, chanterelle, etc. You cannot miss this mushroom feast when staying in Kunming.

However, some wild mushrooms have toxins. If they cannot be distinguished or cooked properly, the people who eat them may be poisoned. When eating wild mushrooms, be sure to cook them well.

When eating wild mushrooms, be sure to cook them well. Therefore, it is safer to go to a restaurant to enjoy this dish. If there is no guidance from the locals, try not to buy it for cooking yourself!

Top 7. Yiliang roast duck

Yiliang Roast Duck, also known as Dianyi Brand Roast Duck, originated in the Ming Dynasty (a brief introduction of Chinese history can be found here) and has more than 600 years. It is a classic local traditional dish in Yunnan Province, which is comparable to Beijing Roast Duck.

Yiliang roasted duck has crispy skin, tender meat and distinctive local flavor. It will have a unique flavor if it is served with scallion, pepper, or sauce products.

Top 8. Rose flower cake

The rose flower cake is a shortbread made of Yunnan-specific edible roses. The filling of the rose flower pie is made from slightly blooming edible roses and baked with refined flour, sugar, honey, and other ingredients. The freshly baked Rose flower cake is soft and refreshing with a rich floral fragrance.

Top 9. Xuanwei ham

Xuanwei ham, one of the famous local specialties of Yunnan Province, is named after being produced in Xuanwei.

The main characteristics of Xuanwei ham are: resembling a Chinese musical instrument, the pipa. It has more meat and less bone, thin skin, and thick meat; cut from the section, you can smell a rich aroma and see its bright color. The lean meat is in bright red or rose, and the fat is in milky white.

Its outstanding quality is good enough to represent the quality of Yunnan ham, so it is often called “Yun ham.”

Top 10. Fried insect

You may find it scary to eat bugs, but bugs are nutritious and delicious food for some people!

For example, bamboo insects are bamboo-grabbing pests, but they have very high nutritional value because they are rich in protein and amino acids. When making fried bamboo insects, choose large plump bamboo worms and deep-fry them until golden brown.

The fried bamboo insects are golden in color. It tastes crispy when you bite it and tastes tender when choosing it. You can taste the sweet and fragrant and also a creamy taste.

After learning about Kunming cuisine, I believe you must feel exciting about coming to Kunming to learn the Chinese language already.

Join Keats School now! You will enjoy a high-quality Chinese learning course while tasting the freshest and richest Yunnan cuisine at the same time! Besides the delicious dishes, there are also other things to do in Kunming

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Matteo | Italy

Small Group Chinese Class

I really enjoy studying Chinese in Kunming at Keats. The teachers are great and my classmates are awesome. It is an unforgettable experience for me. I also got the chance to travel to other places in Yunnan. Those places are amazing and you definitely need to visit these places when you study Chinese in China at Keats.


Emiliano | Mexico

Small Group Chinese Class

I come to Kunming because I think the environment in Kunming is better and I heard that Keats School is better. I like the small group Chinese class because my classmates study hard and our teachers are very good. I like the teaching method of Keats because I like the activities at Keats. I think Yunnan is a particularly beautiful Chinese province.



Jade | UK & Mauritius

Small Group Chinese Class

I think the Chinese learning environment here is great. The teaching methods are also very interactive and fun. What I particularly enjoy here is the fact that my teacher does not stick to the textbook. We spend a lot of time discussing general topics, such as Chinese culture, world news, typical expressions used by local people. We also discuss social and economic topics.


Joleen | Germany

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

About studying Chinese here, I think the living condition is very convenient because the dorm is very close to the classroom. Our teachers really enjoy teaching Chinese. They are also very passionate. Compared with other cities in China, Kunming has really good weather.


Joep | Netherlands

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I have been to Keats School to learn Chinese for 4 times now. The reason for coming back to this school is pretty much that the teachers I did work with were very good Chinese teachers. I make it a 5-year plan or even a 10-year plan to come back to this school.  All the teachers have methods of looking at what your skills are. They are aware of at what level you are. I think it is worth for everyone.


Stew | UK

Small Group Chinese Class

The place is very cool. I am with a great group of people in my class, so coming to classes is very enjoyable. It is fun, we have a lot of discussions, games, activities. Our teachers are also very good, very supportive. Learning Chinese is intimidating at the start because you have so many questions. But I would advise coming to Keats because the atmosphere for learning is great. It is very relaxing. I would recommend the school.


Hitanshu | UK

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

It doesn’t matter what level of Chinese you have, or even you can start from the zero level. Your teacher will prepare the lessons according to your requirements. The advantage of living in the school is that you will have your tutoring, you will have your private accommodation with your own bathroom and all the meals provided. I highly recommend everybody to actually take the whole package because you get to meet other students.


Aliza | USA

Intensive One-on-One Chinese Classes

I found Keats School and I am so glad that I did. When you learn Chinese in China at Keats, you are fully being taken care of. My teacher is really great and we become lovely friends.

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