Yunnan cuisine (simplified Chinese: 云南菜; traditional Chinese: 雲南菜; pinyin: Yúnnán cài) or Dian cuisine(Chinese: 滇菜; pinyin: Diān cài), is an amalgam of the cuisines of the Han Chinese and other ethnic minorities in China. As the province with the largest number of ethnic minority groups, Yunnan cuisine is vastly varied, and it is difficult to make generalisations. Many Yunnan dishes are quite spicy, and mushrooms are featured prominently. Flowers, ferns, algae and insects may also be eaten.
Three of the province’s most famous products are the renowned pu-erh tea which was traditionally grown in Ning’er; as well as Xuanwei ham, which is often used to flavour stewed and braised foods in Chinese cuisineand for making the stocks and broths of many Chinese soups, and Guoqiao ( Across the Bridge) a rice noodle soup with Chicken, pork, kidney, liver, fish, and pickled pork.
Yunnan cuisine is unique in China for its cheeses like Rubing and Rushan cheese made by the Bai people, and its yogurt; the prominence of yogurt in the local cuisine may have been due to a combination of Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty, the Central Asian settlement in Yunnan, and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan.
|English||Traditional Chinese||Simplified Chinese||Pinyin||Origin||Description|
|Baba||粑粑||粑粑||bābā||Naxi||A thick, round, heavy bread, either prepared plain or with various fillings.|
|Banana flower||芭蕉花||芭蕉花||bājiāo huā||Dai/Zhuang people||The heart of the banana flower. Frequently eaten roasted in banana leaves on an open barbecue, but also stir-fried.|
|Pineapple rice||菠蘿飯||菠萝饭||bōluó fàn||Dai people||Pineapple rice. It is found in Xishuangbanna and others areas populated by Dai people.|
|Erkuai||餌塊||饵块||ěrkuài||Bai people(Dali Prefecture)||Highly refined and compressed rice cakes|
|Across the Bridge Noodles||過橋米線||过桥米线||guòqiáo mǐxiàn||Han Chinese||Literally means “crossing the bridge noodles” or “across the bridge noodles”. It is Yunnan’s best known dish. It typically consists of a bowl of boiling chicken soup, to which diners add their own selection of thin meat slices, mixian, vegetables and spices, much like a hot pot. It is ubiquitous throughout the province.|
|Hong dou||紅豆||红豆||hóngdòu||(ancient/wild)||Azuki beans have been used in Yunnan for millennia. Earliest domesticated examples are known from tombs in Japan (4000BC), then China and Korea (3000BC). Genetic evidence indicates that the bean later crossbred with native species in the Himalayas, and Yunnan was probably exposed to the ingredient at this time. Frequently prepared fried with kale or mint.|
|Jidou liangfen||雞豆涼粉||鸡豆凉粉||jīdòu liángfěn||Naxi people(Lijiang)||A savoury jelly made from gram flour|
|Juecai||蕨菜||蕨菜||juécài||In high altitudes, often the first green growth in the spring.||Immature fronds of bracken ferns, such asOsmunda japonica. Stir fried or in soup.|
|Granny’s potato||老奶洋芋||老奶洋芋||lǎonǎi yángyù||?||A local mashed potato style dish typically flavoured with spring onion and chilli.|
|Lufu||滷腐||卤腐||lǔfǔ||Northern Han Chinese, via the Mongols (Yuan Dynasty).||A type of fermented beancurd, typically used as a condiment or made into sauces, often used onerkuai. It is reddish-yellow in colour, with a soft texture and a savoury flavour.|
|Mi gan /Mi xian||米干 / 米線||米干 / 米线||mǐgàn / mǐxiàn||Dai people /Han Chinese||Fresh Yunnanese rice noodles, typically served either in a soup of broth or stir fried.|
|Pu’er Tea||普洱茶||普洱茶||pǔ’ěr chá||Han Chinese(Ning’er)||Famous dark tea that had gained popularity worldwide for its health benefits.|
|Steam Pot Chicken||氣鍋雞||气锅鸡||qìguōjī||Han Chinese(Jianshui)||Literally means “steam pot chicken”. It consists of chicken steamed with tonics and herbs in a ceramic pot.|
|Rubing||乳餅||乳饼||rǔbǐng||Bai people(Dali Prefecture)||Cheese made from goat’s milk.|
|Rushan||乳扇||乳扇||rǔshān||Bai people(Dali Prefecture)||Cheese made from cow’s milk|
|Shiping Tofu||石屏豆腐||石屏豆腐||shípíng dòufǔ||Han Chinesevia Mongols(Shiping)||Yuan Dynasty traditional beancurd traditionally made in Shiping County.|
|Xuanwei Ham||宣威腿||宣威腿||xuānwēi tuǐ||Han Chinese(Qujing)||Ming Dynasty traditional ham from Xuanwei, a county-level city in Qujing (曲靖), Yunnan|
|Yiliang Roast Duck||宜良烤鴨||宜良烤鸭||yíliáng kǎoyā||Han Chinese(Yiliang)||A crispy skin roast duck similar to Peking Duck, but honey is used to crisp and colour the skin. It is roasted with pine branches and needles, which impart a unique flavour to the dish.|
|Zhé’ěrgēn||折耳根||折耳根||zhé’ěrgēn||Yelang||An edible rhizome with a fresh, spicy, peppery flavour. The leaves are also eaten.|