Yunnan Cuisine - the Original Taste

Yunnan Province with its mild climate and abundant rainfall is home to a large variety of plant and animal species, making the ingredients used in Yunnan cuisine very diverse. Yunnan cuisine, often referred to as Dian cuisine, has its own unique style because of its geographic location, diverse local plant and animal species, and numerous ethnic minority groups. Many ethnic minority groups are located in Yunnan Province and they have each added their own cooking styles to Yunnan cuisine, making it a beautiful mix of many different styles of cooking and preparation styles. The characteristics of Yunnan cuisine are a moderate balance of sour and spicy, tender and sweet. Yunnan cuisine strives to keep the original taste of each of its ingredients.

Steamed-pot Chicken (Qiguoji):

Yunnan's Steamed-pot Chicken can only be found in Yunnan. It is unique for its steaming pot, which was invented by Yunnan residents. The dish became famous during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Emperor Qianlong on his tour of Yunnan tasted the dish and spoke highly of it. The chicken is boiled in the special steaming pot which has an opening in the center. Rare medicinal herbs native to Yunnan are added to the pot. The chicken is tender and the soup is delicious. Steamed-pot Chicken is also very nutritious and local residents claim that the soup has many medicinal qualities.

Steamed-pot ChickenSteamed-pot Chicken

Bridge-Crossing Rice Noodles (Guoqiaomixian):

This specialty of Yunnan Province is extremely popular with locals and visitors alike. There are many legends about how this dish got its name, but the most common states that a man in ancient China was imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. His wife brought him dinner every night by crossing a long bridge. By the time the food got to her husband, it was cold, so the wife devised a new dish that used fat chicken, so the oil in broth would coat the noodles, keeping them warm. The dish caught on and it got the name Bridge-crossing Noodles because in honor of the dutiful wife. The dish is essentially a rich soup made of meat, rice noodles, and spices. The most soup broth is made by boiling fat chicken and pig soup bones, but many other ingredients can be added or substituted. Other meats used in the preparation of the broth are chicken, pork, liver, fresh fish, ham, and cuttlefish. After the broth is prepared, rice noodles are added to the bowl, followed by vegetables, chili oil, ground peppers, sesame oil, and salt. The finished dish is wonderful and is what most locals eat for breakfast.

Bridge-Crossing Rice NoodlesBridge-Crossing Rice Noodles

Xuanwei Ham:

Also known as Cloud Ham, Xuanwei Ham is one of China's three most famous ham dishes. It is known for its fragrance, appearance, and fantastic taste. The ham is slightly salty and sweet, without an oily taste. It is one of the visitors to Yunnan Province's most popular dishes.


Yunnan Province is blessed with the perfect climate and amount of rainfall for growing mushrooms. Yunnan is home to many species of edible mushrooms such as cow liver mushrooms, and monkey head mushrooms. Each type has a unique taste and is extremely nutritious. Mushrooms are a favorite of Yunnan locals. Visitors to Yunnan should try the local mushroom hotpot.

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