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10 Dishes You Must Try When You Learn Chinese in Kunming

Speaking of Kunming, Yunnan, in addition to the charming scenery and pleasant climate, the food here is also 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 are going to 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 the 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 a 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 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 also many other ways of cooking rice noodles. 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 colour is turmeric, and the taste has the special aroma of the pea. Cut the pea flour into small pieces, which can be cooked with stir-fried or can be made as a cold dish.

The favourite way for Yunnan people to cook it is to deep-fry it, pick it up when it’s fully cooked, and mix it with chilli 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 chilli 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 not only eat all kinds of fresh vegetables and sweet fruits but also pickles made of these fruits and vegetables.

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

The combination of the sweetness of fruit and chilli is a favourite 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 flavours such as Dai, Hui, and Yi, there are also Southeast Asian specialities such as Thailand and Vietnam, such as the Steamed Rice rolls imported from Vietnam.

Firstly, the rice is mixed with water and 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 flavour.

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. Among them, the famous and common wild mushrooms are chicken fir mushroom, boletus, matsutake, chanterelle and so on. 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 and has a history of 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 flavour. If it is served with scallion, pepper or sauce products, it will have a unique flavour.

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 specialities 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 colour. 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 insects

Speaking of eating bugs, you may find it scary, but for some people, bugs are nutritious and delicious food!

For example, bamboo insects are a kind of bamboo-grabbing pests, but they have very high nutritional value because they are rich in high 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 colour. It tastes crispy when you bite it, and tastes tender when choosing it. You can taste the sweet and fragrant and also a creamy like the taste.

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

Join in 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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Dr. Med. Beatrice | Austria

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I decided to learn Chinese in Kunming because I like smaller cities and I like the climate here. We had four hours a day study here and my dear teacher taught me very much and never lost her patience with me. It was a really wonderful experience to be here and I recommend Keats school and the teachers here to everyone who likes to learn Chinese in China.


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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.


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