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 generalizations. Many Yunnan dishes are quite spicy, and mushrooms are featured prominently. Flowers, ferns, algae, and insects may also be eaten. The cuisine of Yunnan is often compared to the cuisine of Southeast Asia as the province borders the region and many of the ethnic minorities or related cultural groups also have a presence in Southeast Asia.
Three of the province's most famous products are the renowned Pu'er tea, which was traditionally grown in Ning'er; Xuanwei ham, which is often used to flavor 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 (i.e. Central Asian settlement in Yunnan), and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan Yunnan cuisine is gaining popularity in the west. Likening the food vlogger Dianxi Xiaoge to the Chinese documentary television series A Bite of China, Xinhua said Dianxi Xiaoge could be called A Bite of Yunnan in introducing Yunnan cuisine to the world.
Yunnan is located in the Yunnan-Guizhou plateau, with an extended range of mountains, plains, and lakes, forming a colorful scenery and three-dimensional climate of tropical, subtropical, temperate, and cold zones. This kind of diverse physiognomy and environment is beneficial to the growth of a variety of plants and animals. Yunnan is known as the "fungus kingdom," "plant kingdom," and "animal kingdom." It is one of the regions with the most abundant edible wild fungus resources in China. There are more than 250 kinds of edible native fungus, among which common ones are bovine liver fungus, Qingtou fungus, chicken fir fungus, dried fungus, bamboo sun fungus, matsutake fungus, and so on.
The cooking technique is an essential factor in cooking dishes. Many flavor dishes are unique in cooking utensils, fire, taste, and color. Yunnan is a big province of ethnic minorities. The ancient cooking methods of 25 ethnic minorities are combined with the cooking techniques of the Han nationality, which makes the Yunnan cuisine taste colorful. Both the Han people's steaming, frying, sauté (with starch extract), pot-stewed, quick-boil, boiling, stewing, and the integration of minority baking, pestle, heat-contact, cure, stone cooking, salt cooking, and other cooking methods.
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