Yunnan cuisine

Yunnan cuisine
Traditional Chinese 雲南菜
Simplified Chinese 云南菜
Dian cuisine
Chinese 滇菜

Yunnan cuisine, alternatively known as Dian cuisine, is an amalgam of the cuisines of the Han Chinese and other ethnic minority groups in Yunnan Province in southwestern 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'er 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 cuisine and for making the stocks and broths of many Chinese soups, and guoqiao (crossing the bridge), a rice noodle soup with chicken, pig's kidney and liver, fish and pickled pork.

Yunnan cuisine is unique in China for its cheeses like Rubing and Rushan cheese made by the Bai people. Other influences include Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty (ie. Central Asian settlement in Yunnan), and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan.[1] Yunnan cuisine is gaining popularity in the west.[2]

Notable dishes

EnglishTraditional ChineseSimplified ChinesePinyinOriginDescription
Baba粑粑粑粑bābāNaxiA thick, round and heavy bread, either prepared plain or with various fillings.
Banana flower芭蕉花芭蕉花bājiāo huāDai/Zhuang peopleThe 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 fànDai peoplePineapple rice. It is found in Xishuangbanna and other areas populated by Dai people.
Erkuai餌塊饵块ěrkuàiBai people (Dali Prefecture)Highly refined and compressed rice cakes.
Crossing the bridge noodles過橋米線过桥米线guò qiáo mǐxiànHan ChineseLiterally 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.
Adzuki beans紅豆红豆hóngdòuAdzuki beans have been used in Yunnan for millennia. Earliest domesticated examples are known from tombs in Japan (4,000 BCE), then China and Korea (3,000 BCE). Genetic evidence indicates that the bean later crossbred with native species in the Himalayas, and Yunnan was probably exposed to the ingredient at the time. Frequently prepared fried with kale or mint.
Jidou liangfen雞豆涼粉鸡豆凉粉jīdòu liángfěnNaxi people (Lijiang)A savoury jelly made from gram flour.
Juecai蕨菜蕨菜juécàiIn high altitudes, often the first green growth in spring.Immature fronds of bracken ferns, such as osmunda japonica.[3] Stir-fried or in soup.
Granny's potato老奶洋芋老奶洋芋lǎonǎi yángyùA local mashed potato style dish typically flavoured with spring onions and chilli.
Lufu滷腐卤腐lǔfǔNorthern China, via the Mongols (during the Yuan dynasty)A type of fermented beancurd, typically used as a condiment or made into sauces, often used on erkuai. It is reddish-yellow in colour, with a soft texture and a savoury flavour.
Migan / Mixian米干 / 米線米干 / 米线mǐgàn / mǐxiànDai people / Han ChineseFresh 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 cháHan Chinese (Ning'er)Famous dark tea that had gained popularity worldwide for its health benefits.
Steam pot chicken氣鍋雞气锅鸡qì guō jīHan 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rǔbǐngBai people (Dali Prefecture)Cheese made from goat's milk.
Rushan乳扇乳扇rǔshānBai people (Dali Prefecture)Cheese made from cow's milk.
Shiping tofu石屏豆腐石屏豆腐shípíng dòufǔHan Chinese via the Mongols (Shiping)Traditional bean curd made in Shiping County, dating from the Yuan dynasty.
Xuanwei ham宣威腿宣威腿Xuānwēi tuǐHan Chinese (Qujing)Traditional ham made in Xuanwei, a county-level city in Qujing. It dates from the Ming dynasty.
Yiliang roast duck宜良烤鴨宜良烤鸭yíliáng kǎoyāHan 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.
Zhe'ergen折耳根折耳根zhé'ěrgēnYelangAn edible rhizome with a fresh, spicy and peppery flavour. The leaves are also eaten.
Crisp Stuffed Bun破酥包破酥包poshubaoHan ChineseA lard-layered bun with pork, lard, bamboo shoot, and soy sauce; or with the filling of Yunnan ham and white sugar or brown sugar. Poshu Bun was created by a chef from Yuxi almost a hundred years ago.

See also


  1. Anderson, E. N. (1988). The Food of China (illustrated, reprint, revised ed.). Yale University Press. pp. 91, 178, 207. ISBN 0300047398. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  2. Conrad, Jennifer (22 August 2017). "China's Yunnan Cuisine Is About to Sweep the U.S." Vogue. Retrieved 28 August 2017.
  3. "Eating from the wild: diversity of wild edible plants used by Tibetans in Shangri-la region, Yunnan, China" (PDF).
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