What do Yunnan people like to eat?

When people mention Yunnan, they always think of many beautiful places, such as the romance of Dali, the blooming flowers of Kunming Expo Park, the tropical style of Xishuangbanna, etc. However, I don’t want to talk about this here, I just want to talk about Yunnan food. In fact, you can feel the customs of each place bit by bit from what you eat every day, and it is easy to see the characteristics of the people in this place. For example, the small and exquisite Shanghai cuisine reflects the meticulousness of Shanghainese people, and the large plates of Northeastern cuisine and bottles of liquor reflect the boldness and enthusiasm of Northeastern people. My feeling about Yunnan’s food is just one word – miscellaneous. This is related to Yunnan’s special geographical environment. Yunnan Province is home to half of China’s ethnic minorities. The food culture of each region has penetrated into the living habits of local ethnic minorities. In addition, food habits are integrated with local specialties. The food I eat in Yunnan feels particularly messy. The food we eat in different places is completely different. To use a popular saying before TV series, “any similarity is purely coincidental.”

First of all, let’s start with the “Eighteen Monsters of Yunnan”. The so-called “Eighteen Weird Things in Yunnan” means that there are eighteen strange things in Yunnan, and several of them are related to eating. During my time in Yunnan, I came across two strange things related to eating. The first strange thing is “flowers are sold as vegetables”. As the name suggests, in Yunnan, flowers are a dish on people’s tables. The first time I ate flowers in Yunnan, I didn’t feel that I was eating flowers. It was in a restaurant in a county. There was a dish at that time. I couldn’t tell what it was. When I ate it, I felt that it tasted very good. I thought it might be a kind of fried small fish, so I ate a few more. mouth. At noon the next day, we ate this dish again. During the meal, a local introduced that it was the buds of a local specialty flower. I was very surprised. I quickly picked one up and watched it carefully. Really! The petals, core and stamens are all complete, which is incredible. The second time I ate flowers, I ate pomegranate flowers. Pomegranate flowers are relatively large and can be recognized by people at a glance. The petals are very thick. After frying, they feel very good in the mouth. They can be described as “three clears”: crisp, fragrant and light. The second strange thing is “straw hat used as pot lid”. This kind of straw hat is a special small straw hat, not the big straw hat we usually wear. When I encountered this strange thing, I was eating steamed eggs in a bamboo tube. There was a small straw hat covered on the bamboo tube. It was very small and exquisite. Except for the size, it was different from ordinary straw hats. The rest was the same. , very fun, I don’t know why they do this? It is a unique ingenuity or it comes from another source.

Eating food made with poison was the most thrilling experience I had in Yunnan. Once I had chicken soup stewed with “Caowu”. It is said that according to the “Compendium of Materia Medica”, “Cao Wu” is highly toxic by nature. However, we didn’t know it at the time. The local people told us that it was chicken stewed with grass black and it was very nutritious. After eating it, we would not catch a cold for a year. Since there are such benefits, of course you have to eat them. I had a piece of chicken and it felt bitter. They said it was bitter, otherwise I might have been poisoned. Only then did they more clearly introduce what Caowu is. After hearing this, I hesitated for a long time whether to eat or not, but as I watched the local people drink bowl after bowl, I was not to be outdone and filled up a full bowl. When making this dish, it needs to be stewed for several hours in order to remove the toxicity of Caowu. The medicinal properties of Caowu and the flavor of chicken have been completely integrated. I picked up the spoon and took a sip. I almost spit it out. The taste was extremely bitter. The most bitter thing I usually eat is Ganmao Qingre Granule. Its taste is even worse. Ganmao Qingre Granule contains sugar, and the bitterness is mixed with a hint of sweetness. However, the taste of this Grass Black Chicken Soup is pure. Very bitter taste, no trace of off-flavor. Compared with the experience of eating poison, eating other insects such as locusts, honey, and bamboo worms is nothing.  

People in Yunnan like to drink heavily. According to them, Yunnan is the only country in China where people drink alcohol after the Northeast. There is an ethnic minority in Yunnan who originally made a living by hunting. Later, the government provided help and asked them to change their livelihood to agriculture. But no one is willing to farm. No one wanted to come to the meeting, but as long as there was a drink, the locals gathered together immediately. So, when there was a meeting later, we announced that we should drink, and after the meeting, everyone drank together. In addition, in places where Dai people gather, there is also a custom of playing cards and drinking wine before meals. The wine they drank was a kind of rice wine brewed locally. It was about 40 degrees and cost two yuan a bottle, which was very cheap. Before everyone gets together to eat, they sit together and play cards, and whoever loses drinks. Often, several people drink more than ten bottles of rice wine before the meal is even eaten.

The dishes in Yunnan are very simple to prepare, not as complicated as the dishes in Guangdong, Shanghai and other places. In addition, the food eaten by local people is relatively complicated. I think this has a lot to do with the large number of ethnic minorities and the underdeveloped economy in the past. In order to survive, they don’t pay attention to exquisite cooking, and they can eat whatever is edible. This custom continues to this day and will form the eating habits of Yunnan today. Therefore, we can have a general understanding of Yunnan people from the perspective of diet. They are drinkers, straightforward, simple and enthusiastic. (over)