Cheese That Is Not Alien to Yunnan

In most parts of China, cheese is considered weird and alien. This is because in most parts of China dairy foods have been largely absent from the Chinese diet, and cheese almost unknown. When offered cheese, many Chinese not usually attracted to what is referred to as "muttony" food.

But in many parts of Yunnan, cheese, locally called "rubing" or "rushan", is a famous delicacy despite the prevailing attitude.


In many places around Kunming, such as Shilin County which is known for the Stone Forest where weird rocks have sprouted out of the red-brown earth, the local people raise goats only for mutton, but also for the goat cheese the preparation of which is a cottage industry.

Goat cheese is very close in taste and texture to Tofu or beancurd, which is made in almost the same way except from different raw material. Prepared by frying and steaming, goat cheese is a must-try snack in Yunnan, and stir-fried cheese (till it is crisp and golden on both sides) is usually found only in Yunnan.

In the northwest of Yunnan, around Dali, the climate and a wide area of steppes has encouraged the growth of animal husbandry. For example in Er'yuan County of Dali, locals milk cows and boil the milk to make a greasy, creamy curd.

The warm curd is stretched into sheets that are wrapped around sticks and left to dry. This is another Yunnan cheese snack, known as "rushan" or "milk fan". 


Milk fan can be eaten raw, but they are most of the time warmed on grills, spread with white sugar, and eaten on a stick like lollipops.

For many Buddhist services of the Bai ethnic people in Dali, milk fan must be prepared as the major vegetarian dish.