Food...in...China It's an endless spectrum of gastro-delights. Yunnan cuisine is a less-known and underappreciated culinary tradition, with tremendous variety and variation due to the large number of distinct minority cultures there.
This July I found myself with two friends studying Chinese for two weeks at Huayang Academy for Language in Lijiang. Lijiang is within the Naxi Autonomous Region, and the Naxi culture is still vibrant, possessing distinct traditions and even its own religion (Dongba) and written language.
During our first week, we tried a new restaurant every lunch and dinner. That is, until we happened upon Naxi Peasant Small Kitchen (納西 农家小厨). Cheap extraordinary food and a friendly laoban (boss; see the woman in the apron in the photo) kept us coming back every evening for the rest of our stay. Everything is good, but try the liang fen, cold wild vegetables, and dry-fried ribs. Finally, be prepared for one of the best fish dishes in China--their house special fish. The river fish is tender and succulent, with few bones (usually the bane of Chinese fish dishes for Western eaters), topped with a rich, tangy and savor vegetable sauce.
You'll find the restaurant near the Black Dragon Pool at the intersection of Jiayu and Minzhu roads. It's the last in a line of many good eateries. Across the street you can also try donkey.