Southwestern China Feature
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Dian cuisine is the term for Han Chinese cuisine found in Yunnan, especially around Kunming. Dian-style dishes are similar to Sichuan dishes and tend to favor spicy and sour flavors. Rice is a staple here, as is a type of rice noodle called mixian. A favorite dish is guoqiao mixian, a boiling, oily broth served with raw pork and vegetables that you cook yourself. Qiguo ji (steampot chicken), another trademark Dian-style dish, uses a special earthenware pot to steam chicken and vegetables into a savory soup.
One thing that sets Dian cuisine apart from that of the rest of China is the dairy products. Rubing is made from goat's milk, and is typically fried and served with dried chili peppers or sugar. It is a little drier and less pungent than regular goat cheese. Rushan, or "milk fan," is a long strip of a cheese that is spread with a salty or sweet sauce. Wrapped around a chopstick, it makes a handy snack.
Street barbecue is a major part of the Yunnan culinary experience. Every kind of meat and vegetable is on offer, as well as quail eggs, chou doufu (stinky tofu), and erkuai (rice pancakes with sweet or savory fillings). Most restaurants in Yunnan close early, but barbecue stands stay open until the wee hours, making them a good place for a late-night snack.
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