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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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I can’t tell you how much I liked it. The thing I liked about the teachers and the teaching method is that there is so much flexibility. The other thing I liked about the teaching is the combination of classic textbook learning and going outside. I loved it! I like getting to know other students. Everybody shared the same goal and that’s making their Chinese better. Kunming is a big city, but it is very safe to live here. Another thing I liked about Keats is the idea that people here help you. I can’t recommend it enough. I think it was a valuable experience. Looking forward to coming back!


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I found Keats to be very good, teachers are excellent and really take the students seriously. Kunming is the best place to learn Mandarin in China. The environment is awesome, no pollution. The air quality is great, good weather. The people here are very friendly. I come to take classes every day. I feel comfortable studying Chinese at Keats. I learned so many things, although I only studied at Keats for 2 months. I am really satisfied with my teacher. For us foreigners, Keats is the best Chinese school in China. Therefore, I would highly recommend Keats to all of you.


David | Australia

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It has been notable because I have met a lot of people who I met first time last year like me to come back to Keats this year. The teaching has been fantastic. The teachers carefully prepare each lesson. I think this one-on-one approach is really a great way to rapidly increase your level of Chinese and increase your confidence and fluency with the language.


Robert | Netherlands

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Since last semester, we started studying Chinese at Keats. It was the best choice we can ever make. It is a really good school. The classes are a lot of fun, you learn a lot, but very interactive, so you talk a lot which means it is not just books and writing. Kunming is a really pleasant city to live in, especially if you compare it to other cities in the east. If you like to travel, if you like to study Chinese in a fun way, Keats has the best Chinese language program for you.


Sarah | USA

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My name is Sarah Fish. I am 81. I knew very little Chinese when I arrived. How was I going to survive 2 weeks of intensive Chinese course? I have to laugh when I think of that now. What a positive experience this has been! I really wish we could be here a little longer. The teachers are extremely encouraging, evaluating first how much someone knows, and then starting from there.


嶋田京子 | Japan

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Kunming’s scenery is very beautiful. It is the best place to study Chinese in China. My favorite learning method at Keats School is one-on-one because it is suitable for everyone. My teacher is very good, very caring, and lovely. My life when learning Chinese in Kunming is very good and the weather is very good. The air is very good. It is good for the elderly’s body.


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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.


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