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Where simply delicious food is deliciously simple

Here he was offering boiled pale-green duck eggs that contained more goodness than their chicken counterparts, as well as gigantic goose eggs each big enough to feed four.

I found one of the best cooks at a lakeside restaurant where the proprietor netted a live carp from her pond and effortlessly whipped up a lip-smacking fish stew.

She first fried garlic, ginger, dried red chili and pepper in oil coaxed from some fatty air-dried belly pork.

She then plunked in chunks of the freshwater fish to simmer gently in a stock. She served the finished product with a dipping sauce of chopped fresh garlic, cilantro, green onions, dried red pepper flakes and salt moistened with a little of the soup.

Every Frenchman or Chinese knows the sweet taste of frog legs, but when I spotted an item on the menu called "beautiful ladies" at a bed-and-breakfast lodge run by a Mosuo family, I had to ask what it was. The little girl helping out at the eatery replied: "Deep-fried frog skins - because they look like ladies' legs!" The crispy-crunchy snack made from leftover frog leg dishes turned out to be utterly delicious.

There are more surprises when your taste buds move up the animal chain. When you enter a friendly farmer's home, you will be asked if you'd like a chicken or duck for lunch. Your answer will mean life-and-death for the farm animal in question.

After I chose "chicken", a young boy chased one down in the courtyard, which his father slaughtered with a knife and his mother cooked in a big cauldron of soup over a wood fire by the hearth. It was a most tummy-warming meal I have had in a long time.

Another time, I saw an item on a local restaurant menu called "wild chicken". Upon learning that it meant wild pheasant, I had the chef make a soup prepared the traditional Chinese way - that is, by slow boiling the whole wild fowl in a medicinal herbal broth.

The resulting fragrant golden stock floating with delicious meat is a culinary experience worth writing home about.

In Yunnan's countryside, you can very easily find natural foods that are wild or small-farm grown without encountering any processed or manufactured items pushed from a factory conveyor belt.

And with very little effort, you can feast on wholesome foods anywhere, anytime, simply by eating what the locals eat.

Simple Yunnanese peasant fare easily qualifies as wholesome by any modern, trendy yardstick for healthy living.

By Choo Waihong

Key Words

Tea   West Lake   

Temple      Su Dongpo 


Fans   Embroidery


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