A culinary city is more than a place where you gormandise. The culinary art is something for an insight into the local ethnic customs and traditions with a profound historical background.
So far, there are six places in the world that are acknowledged as culinary cities which are: Popayan of Columbia, Östersund of Switzerland, Zahle of Lebanon, Chonju of South Korea, and Chengdu and Shunde of China.
As the capital city of Yunnan Province and an international city, Kunming is such a place that has great advantages regarding culinary art. There are too many reasons for Kunming the Spring City to recommend to visitors, including the breathtaking natural sites, colourful ethnic customs, and of course the big variety of drool inducing delicacies highlighted by various local and Chinese cuisines.
This article lists Kunming's 10 traditional snacks the techniques of which are authenticated as intangible cultural heritages at different levels.
No.1.Yiliang roast duck
One of the traditional delicacies of the Han nationality in Yunnan Province, the history of the duck began in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Tasting crispy (outside), tender and aromatic (inside), the smooth-looking roast duck is full of outstanding local flavour.
No.2.Jiqingxiang ham pied moon cake
The history of the pastry can date back at least 300 years in the period of Yongli Emperor of the South Ming Dynasty (1649-1656). It is not only the favourite treat of Yunnanese during the Middle Autumn Festival, but also a produce popular in China and even South Asia and Southeast Asia.
The brand of the liquor was established about 135 years ago, but the brewing history began as early as the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The natural emerald colour of the liquor was brewed by a local gentleman named Chen Ding in Yanglin Town of Songming County in 1880 by referring to the records of the herbal book Dian Nan Ben Cao.
No.4. Xundian cured beef
Xundian county of Kunming has a long history of raising cattle. In 2009, the traditional technique for curing beef was listed as one of the intangible cultural heritages of Kunming.
No.5.Chenggong pea jelly
The salad pea jelly of the local restaurant San La Zi in Wujiaying Town of Chenggong District impresses gourmands with the unique spices. Beside the normal soy sauce and coriander, what makes the fame of the jelly is a kind of mystical sauce.
No.6.Cross Bridge rice noodle
Originating from Mengzi in the south of Yunnan Province, the noodle has enjoyed a history of at least 100 years. In 1920, the first restaurant for rice noodle was established in Kunming. Since then, the Cross Bridge rice noodle has enjoyed a bigger and bigger fame among Kunming locals. As the representative delicacy embodying the rich cooking materials of Yunnan cuisine, the Cross Bridge rice noodle has won an incredible popularity in China and abroad.
No.7. Erkuai rice cake
As the most popular household snack in Kunming, Erkuai rice cake is the unique specialty in Yunnan Province. It is also the must-prepare food during the Spring Festival in Yunnan. It can be prepared by baking, boiling, frying, and steaming etc. The charcoal baked Erkuai rice cake is the favourite of most locals in Kunming.
No.8. Guandu pancake
Locally called Guandu Baba, the tasty pancake is a traditional snack of the Han Nationality in Kunming and enjoys a big popularity among Kunming locals. According to historical records, this snack has a history that can date back to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Pies for it vary from sesame, perillaseed, bean paste and peanut to the trendy edible rose.
No.9. Lunan fermented tofu
Fermented tofu as a household appetiser is one of the main pickled and cured produces in Yunnan Province. It ranks first for its exquisite making techniques, variety and flavours.
No.10. Jinning marinated duck
The renowned local delicacy in Kunyang Town of Jinning County at the southern bank of the Dianchi Lake, the duck is described as "fragrant, fat but not greasy". In the Ming and Qing dynasties, Kunyang was of great importance for its waterway and land transport. At that time, sheldrake of the Dianchi Lake was the main material for Jinning marinated duck which had already enjoyed a big fame.