Kunming culture map: Nanqiang Street


In a traditional house addressed at 88 Nanqiang Street, some dramas like Wen Xin, Gao Xing (Being Happy) and Shu Bei (Scoundrels) are being performed regularly; displayed in the showcase of Dream Bar is the cupcakes by the confectioner who learned the skills in France; in the lounge of the second floor, the bartender is preparing drinks for guests; in the pizza restaurant at the corner, guests are watching the chef cooking pizzas…Nanqiang street is undergoing the special renaissance boosted by the Western and Chinese culture.


History: root of civil culture of Kunming
As a carrier of Kunming's civil culture, Nanqiang Street began to prosper in the middle of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912). 

During more than 300 years, the street witnessed prisoners that were executed publicly, jewelers who once lived in the "Yi Ke Yin" House (seal-like house when looked from above), vendors that once sold summer sleeping mats under the tree, Cai E (1882-1916) the leader of the Huguo Uprising (1915) who once passed by on his horse, and the American soldiers who once sold the Camel cigarettes during the WWII.

In the 1940s, Nanqiang Street about 800 metres from the Flying Tigers Building (Fei HU Lou) was the arena for privates to sell goods like American cigarettes and lighters. At that time, the Street was only 5 minutes' walk to the Xinghuo Cinema where American movies were put on.

However, in the early Qing Dynasty, the former site of Nanqiang Street was a drill ground for the military and execution place of the prisoners. In the middle and late Qing Dynasty, it became a marketplace for jewelries, jades, needled felts, woods and bamboo products. In 1926, the commercial street was formed, and in the middle of the Republic of China (1912-1949), "Nan Qiang" was officially became the name of the street. 

Only 530 metres long, Nanqing Street showcases the culture of old Kunming with a cluster of traditional architectures.


Eat and Drink: Traditional vs New
Since the 1980s, many eateries had been established in the old houses on the Street, initiating the food trends in Kunming. Because of the fierce competition, about 30 or 40 restaurants racked their brains to innovate the traditional foods to woo the gourmands, roasted chicken wings, rice noodle prepared in pottery pots, and cold porridge have been introduced.

However, nearby residents complained that they'd been disturbed by those noisy restaurants as they opened till 9 pm and the cooking smoke came from the restaurants also posed a threat to the air. Therefore, with the help of the local government, a food court was established -- Xiangyun Food Court. In there, restaurants were newly openend and some new businesses were also start to grow, such as beauty salons. Later on, Nanqiang street became quieter and quieter. 


Delightingly, after a series of renovation and development, a brand new Nanqiang Street has been finally reopened today, with its traditional outlay unchanged.

One major reason why people today like to visit the street is that there are many restaurants, which offer delicious food like Zhengyuan Noodles Restaurant (Zheng Yuan Mian Guan),  the Thai flavour restaurant Da Cheng Xiao Tai and the Dream Bar etc. On the Street there are many coffee bars and Kunming locals have alredy got used to this "alien" drink. 


How to get there
Nanqiang Street in located in the downtown of Kunming. It is just near the Golden Horse and Jade Rooster Archways and Nanping Pedestrian Street