Some of the more interesting food in Yunnan is the Rubing goat cheese. Anyone who has traveled to China knows that cheese is nonexistent. Chinese people do not eat cheese, except for in Yunnan. I have eaten Rubing cheese many times and love it. The texture reminds me of haloumi cheese. It is usually served lightly fried and salted.
Yunnan cuisine often has Southeast Asian inspiration, as evidenced by some of the herbs and vegetables served. Mint is plentiful in the province and is often prepared in a simple salad with spicy peppers, soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil. Mushrooms are a Yunnan vegetarian staple, often served in hot pots during the rainy summer months.
There are many Yunnan style restaurants in Chinese cities outside of the province. My favorite is Lost Heaven, with branches in Beijing and Shanghai. The entryways to the restaurants are lined with beautiful photographs of the province and its people. The dark lighting takes some adjustment, but adds to the atmosphere. I feel like I am in Thailand or Cambodia, rather than China. The food is phenomenal because it is so different from other parts of the country. I go to Lost Heaven almost every time I travel to China.
I look forward to introducing you to Yunnan cuisine on the next Chow Fun Tour!