The appetizer. [Photo/people.cn]
Known as "the kingdom of plants and animals", Yunnan is home to a rich variety of foods. As a province with 26 different ethnic groups, the variety of cuisines is an important attraction for tourists.
Yunnan cuisine, also named Dian cuisine, consists of local dishes from Kunming, Northeast Yunnan, Western Yunnan and Southern Yunnan. The characteristics of Yunnan cuisine lie in moderate balance of sour and hot tastes mellow in deep oil, fresh and tender with sweetness, striving for their original tastes. Most of the ingredients are green, fresh and natural, including vegetables, fruit, bamboo and flowers. The dishes are not too spicy but have excellent flavor.
Not yet widely known outside the province, Dian cuisine is known mainly for its famous Guoqiao (Across the Bridge) rice noodle.
Guoqiao rice noodles are a dish that has long been famous in Yunnan. It came from a story in southern Yunnan. A scholar, preparing for the imperial examinations, isolated himself on an island in a lake to concentrate on his study. His devoted wife was dismayed that the meals she took to him always arrived cold after crossing a long, wooden bridge. But by chance, she discovered the way to keep soup boiling hot -- to top it with a thin layer of vegetable oil. Of course, her husband passed the exams. Soon it got quite popular and was name Guoqiao rice noodles. The dish is made of soup, sliced meat, rice noodle and seasonings. A big china bowl will be served with boiling soup and a cover of oil. The soup is made of boiled chicken and pork bone and the clearer, the better. Chicken, pork, liver, kidney, fish and pickled pork are cut into slices. Seasonings are made of boiled vegetables. The raw sliced meat should be the first to put into the soup. After a few minutes, noodles and seasonings follow. The smell and the taste never fail the gourmands. No visit to Yunnan is complete without trying this unique and delicious dish.
Other typical dishes include: steamed-pot chicken, earthen pot fish, Xuanwei ham, spiced squab, and chicken wing with goat stomach and local fungus.