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Ten Must Try Foods in Yunnan 十大不容错过的云南美食

Yunnan is mountains and clouds, mists and forests, jungles and wilderness, and a richly textured and coloured human landscape of different ethnic minorities, each with their own strong food culture. Tucked into a corner of China bordering Tibet, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, Yunnan’s diverse food reflects its topography, unique climate, human population, and the food of its neighbours.
Here are a group of ten foods we enjoyed over the last few weeks as we travelled through Yunnan from the cold and mountainous north, to the subtropical jungles in the south and the exquisite rice terraces landscape of the east. We’ve eaten well, as you can see!
There are some Yunnan foods you won’t find here, either because I’ve written about them before (Crossing the Bridge Noodles, Bugs, Barks and Dragonfly Nymphs and Yunnan Ham) or because I’m writing about them in an upcoming post (like Yunnan’s famed Pu’er tea).
Feast the eyes!
1. Mi xian 米线
A warming bowl of rich stock filled with slippery smooth rice noodles, and topped with a dizzying array of bright bursting tastes: sour, salty, fiery, and bitter. This is mi xian, possibly the most popular street snack in all of Yunnan and one of the few that is eaten in every corner of the province. 
In the last four weeks I’ve tasted ten or fifteen variations of this noodle dish, each particular to a local area and/or a particular street vendor. The essentials are always the same – rice noodles, thick or fine, your choice – served in a broth made of stock, along with some leafy greens and the addition of various condiments and toppings. 
The condiments might include any or all of the following – pickled beans, chili oil, pork cooked with fermented soybeans, soy sauce, cilantro, finely diced fat pork, fermented chili, hot tomato salsa, or pickled cabbage. In the middle of Yunnan in the small town of Changning, every bowl comes topped with hearty hunks of cold cooked pork and crispy shards of pork crackling, just for something different.
满满一碗热腾腾的爽滑的大米做的面条,上面排列着眼花缭乱的调味:酸的,咸的,热辣的还有点苦的味道。这就是米线。这很可能是云南最著名的街道小吃了,而且在这个省市的任何一个角落都可以找到一家米线店。
在过去的四星期我们吃了1015种面食,每一个都是本地的特色或者是特色的街边排挡。但实质都是一样盛在肉汤里面的大米做的面条,满满的,撒些绿色蔬菜还有各种调味品和浇头。调味品可能包含每一样或是会有接下来的这些东西腌制过的豆子,豆瓣酱加工过的猪肉,香菜,肉酱,辣椒酱,西红柿洋葱做的辣调味汁,或者是大白菜泡菜。在云南中部的一个叫崇安的小镇,每一碗上面都会浇上用心烹制过的凉肉和猪油渣脆皮片.

2. Wild Herbs Ye Cai 野菜
When I read ‘fresh wild herbs salad’ on a menu in Lijiang I thought of mint and wild plants. It sounded fresh and delicious and very, very green – just what I was hankering after. When this plate of brown lichen arrived I sent it back to the kitchen, thinking a mistake had been made, where the chef patiently explained to me this was ‘wild herbs’ ye cai 野菜, an all encompassing term apparently meaning ‘anything growing wild in the forest’. 
I’ve since tasted many delicious versions of this salad with frail feathery lichen, mixed with cilantro and mint leaves, a little sharp chili, and a touch of sweet soy, but sadly the bark-like lichen doesn’t improve no matter what you do to it.
当我在丽江读到新鲜野菜沙拉的时候我想到薄荷和各种野菜。它听起来很新鲜美味,而且非常非常绿正如我期待的那样。当这个盛满棕色苔藓的盘子端上来的时候,我把它退回了厨房,想着肯定是搞错了,但是厨师耐心地解释这就是野菜,一个涵盖范围过广的术语显然意味着任何长在森林的野生植物。我曾经尝过许多这种美味的沙拉,混合着香菜,薄荷叶,加一点辣椒还有少许甜豆酱。

3. Sour fish stew 酸汤鱼

The first flavour you recognize is sourness from the fermented chili sauce used, and the sweet fish – then the full force of chili heat sears your lips. After that, you taste little but chili but the texture is sublime – the silky, soft, soothing cubes of fresh tofu and the crunch of scallions. 
最先辨识的味道就是酿制的辣椒酱的酸味和鲜美的鱼而后热辣的味道就快要灼伤你的嘴唇。在那之后,你稍稍尝一点,但是辣椒的辣还存留于口中柔滑爽口的豆腐块还有一些葱段。

4. Roast Tofu 烤豆腐
This Yi lady sits at a low table inside the restaurant with an old wok full of charcoal covered by a grill, carefully turning each of the squares of 五天豆腐 wu tian doufu, five days old and just starting to ferment and soften slightly in the centre, while dry on the outside. 
The outsides begin to brown and soon enough they’re little nutty, crispy balls with soft warm centres, ready to eat, dipped into a sauce made with soy sauce, ground sichuan green pepper, cilantro and pickled chili.
And yes, that’s what she wears to work every day, and no, it’s not for tourists. Beautiful isn’t it?

一个女士坐在饭店内的低矮的桌旁,上面是一个装满木炭的珐琅餐盘,她小心的翻煎着方形的五天豆腐,五天豆腐才开始煎烤(发酵),中心慢慢地些许变软,变成褐色,外边还是干的。外面开始变棕的时候,浸在由豆子,青葱和腌制的辣酱做的调味汁里,就可以吃了。

5. Dai Style Feast 傣族宴会

In southern Yunnan the local people, the Dai,  share much in common with those of northern Thailand and Laos. They love communal eating, hot and sour flavours, and the dishes feature the local fish and a combination of mint, ginger, chilies and sour pickles.
A Dai feast arives all at once, with everything meant to be sampled and shared. Bowls of steamed wild greens and uncooked herbs are served with a choice of four dipping sauces – a mild crushed peanut sauce, a sour pickled chili sauce, a fiery fermented tomato sauce, and a rich, deep, dark sauce made with fermented tofu.
At the centre of the table is a platter of roasted fish and meats, all char-grilled and smoky – sweet slices of barbecued ham, crispy-skinned chicken, fish wrapped in banana leaves, pork and mint sausage, and siced fatty pork. There is a tiny dish of a salty, peppery, spice mixture in which to dip your meat.
There are several hot dishes too – a free-range chicken (tuji 土鸡)cooked in a light broth, and pumpkin leaf shoots in a soup that magically takes away the heat of the chillies.
在云南南部的居住民族是傣族,他们分享着和泰国北部还有老挝一样的习俗。他们喜欢一起吃东西,喜欢酸辣的口味还有烤鱼和烤肉。
傣族宴会即将开始,每一样食物都是样品和供人共享的。盛放蒸熟的野菜碗和没加工过的野菜会配有四五种蘸酱汁淡淡的花生碎沙司,酸辣酱沙司,热辣的番茄沙司,还有用发酵豆腐做的深色沙司。
桌子中间有一大盘烤鱼和烤肉,都是碳烤和烟熏的,烧烤火腿片,脆皮鸡,裹着香蕉叶的鱼,猪肉,薄荷香肠,肥猪肉片还有猪耳朵。有一个小盘盛着咸盐,胡椒和混合香料,可以配肉品尝。
也有热菜在肉汤里炖煮的家鸡,汤中的南瓜枝叶很神奇的带走了辣椒的热辣。




6. Egg Yolk Fruit 蛋黄果
Yunnan is full of the most unusual foods you won’t find anywhere else in China. I had seen these globe-sized yellow fruits in the markets – bright golden yellow and very soft on the inside, the first mouthful feels just like a bite of soft-boiled egg. 
Your mouth is confused by the texture because the taste doesn’t match – the fruit is a little sweet with a flavour somewhere between sweet roast pumpkin and ripe papaya, but mostly unlike anything else. It goes very well with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
云南有各种你在中国其他地方找不到的食物,我曾在超市里见过这些球形的黄色水果,最终有机会品尝它们,里面的金黄色非常柔软,第一口感觉咬到软软的刚煮好的鸡蛋似的。你的嘴巴都被这种质地搞糊涂了,因为这种味道不符合任何一种其他水果这种水果有点甜,有点像熟木瓜的味道,但主要的味道不同于任何一种水果。牙齿咬出酸橙汁的那一刻感觉棒极了。

 7. Baba 粑粑
This popular street snack, served hot and wrapped in banana leaf, is chewy, sticky, and sweet.  Circles of purple sticky rice dough are first grilled over charcoal, where they puff up into a ball over the heat and soften, then flattened and filled with dark brown sugar which quickly melts, before being folded or rolled into a neat, sweet package.
这种有名的街边小吃,用香蕉叶包裹着的热乎乎的盛着,粘粘的,甜甜的。紫糯米团先在木炭上烘烤,他们通过加热膨胀成球形,慢慢变软,然后扁平,在折叠或者卷成一个小甜包裹之前,里面夹上很快溶化的深棕色糖。

8. Fresh Lime juice 柠檬水
In southern Yunnan, neighbouring Burma and Laos, tropical fruit grows abundantly even in winter. Papayas, pineapples, mangoes and passionfruit are served up as juice in tiny streetside juice stalls.
Everyone’s favourite refresher though is ning meng shui 柠檬水 or homemade sweet lime juice. The juice of two or three limes, some sugar syrup, ice and cold water. 
在云南南部,紧邻缅甸和老挝,甚至在冬天都生长着大量的热带水果,木瓜,菠萝,芒果还有热带果,在小街的果汁摊位都有所售卖。人人都喜欢新鲜提神的柠檬水或是自制的甜酸橙汁。两三种果汁,外加一些糖浆还有冰水。

9. Paoluda 泡鲁达
Intriguing and bizarrely addictive, the individual components of paoluda 泡鲁达 don’t sound altogether appetizing: tapioca, sweet condensed milk, black sticky rice, jelly cubes, chunks of dried bread or biscuit and shaved coconut. But this hot weather desert or drink (depending on whether you have it in a bowl or a tall glass with a thick straw) served over ice is surprisingly fabulous.
The locals told me the desert is Burmese in origin, and the name is a pinyinised version of the Indian and Persian drink falooda, which it closely resembles.
很莫名其妙的使人上瘾,非常的有趣,泡鲁达的主要成分整体来看不怎么有胃口:木薯淀粉,甜炼乳,黑糯米,果冻干面包或是饼干屑还有椰子肉。但这种热天之下在冰上面放着甜点或是饮料(你可以自主选择放在碗里还是在高高的玻璃杯里加一根粗吸管)真是惊人的美味。本地人告诉我甜点是原产于缅甸,名字则是印度人和波斯人喝的法鲁达的拼音拼写。

10. Sticky Rice Sticks 糯米油条
Small balls of sweetened sticky rice dough are stretched into short lengths before being laid gently in bubbling oil, where they puff and lengthen into a crisp sweet stick with a chewy gooey centre. These nuomi youtiao 糯米油条 (sticky rice oil sticks) are sweeter and lighter than their street food breakfast counterparts, you tiao
I declared them Yunnan’s version of the donut, minus the cinnamon.
甜味糯米团做的小球被穿在短棍上,放入滚烫的油锅中,慢慢膨胀逐渐变成一个中间是粘粘的外皮是脆脆的长棍。我敢说,去掉桂皮后,这就是云南版本的炸面圈。

Travels Round China by Food: