Part 5: The spring city – Yunnan

I arrived very late in the evening at Kunming Airport. Despite arriving late, the airport has still a lot of people and is incredibly busy. On my to the hotel, the driver keeps mentioning the local rice noodles of Kunming. He said that this is something one shouldn’t miss because it tastes really good. It registered in my head and after my short run in the morning, I tried to find the most local rice noodles I can ever find.

Local Noodle Shop 1: Near the tourism street I forgot the name.

I saw these two big pots and smelled the boiling beef. The lady must have started cooking it last night. As my Chinese is not really good, I tried to order by pointing at the noodle the other customer ordered. The lady asked me more questions that I didn’t understand. In the end, I got this: 

It was very tasty and the freshness from the mint goes well with the broth. Coming from Beijing, I haven’t had any food with a mint in it. I just love the clean taste of it. The spiciness of this noodle is a bit sharp. I guess that was one of the questions the lady was asking me. Anyway, I can handle the spice so it does not matter. One thing I noticed is they put loads of noodles. I find it out of proportion. Nevertheless, it still tastes good. A truly Asian breakfast

Joy Bakery: Luo Feng Street

I know there would be a lot more bakery to explore in Kunming. But since I am only here for a day, I just tried to take it easy and walked around the area where my hotel is. I was about a hundred meters away from Joy bakery when I saw a big bread displayed on their wall. I was so excited because I thought they sell big artisan bread. When I get in, they sell everything but the brad displayed on the wall. I wanted to try something in the shop. I bought a big round flatbread which has dried berries inside. It is a perfect match for a coffee because of its flaky sweet taste.

O’Reilly’s Irish Pub : 北门街119号

Oh, I definitely need to drink after a long day. I searched Dianping (a Chinese app similar to Yelp) where is the nearest place I can get a decent drink and surprised to see an Irish Pub listed 2 km away from the hotel. I cycled my way to the beer place. I had an ice-cold Vedett draft. The design and layout look like a legit Pub. I thought in the beginning the place will not be full. But at 7 pm, the place is slowly getting packed. There are no foreigners in sight. They are all young Chinese locals. It is my first time in this city and I am not expecting any foreign place around. But it is nice to see how full the place is and how they consume strong foreign beers. After 2 pints, I felt my stomach longing for food, longing for another rice noodles

Local noodle shop 2: Luo Feng Street, Kunming City

This tiny noodle shop has its version of an open kitchen. They cook inside the house but you can see the husband cooking through the glass window. The chairs and tables are just next to the street. Some families and students just finished school having dinner there. With the best of my Chinese, I managed to order very good rice noodles of my choice. It was good, fresh, and with the perfect texture. I like how they put crunchy peanuts and cilantro inside. It was absolutely mega cheap as well. One big bowl of noodles for only RMB 12.

Home cooked meals in Azheke Village 

I spent 3 days in Azheke village, a 5-hour drive from Kunming City. I was very privileged to experience all their local fruits and dishes. They are famous for their rice terraces with 48 types of rice grains. This small village is full of history and still untouched by mechanization. There isn’t a restaurant per se, but we visited a lot of homes in which owners cook native dishes with homegrown quality ingredients for you. It was a fantastic experience interacting with the locals at the same time having a taste of their wonderful flavors. Most of the dishes are vegetables which I think makes sense because most veggies are from their garden. Their meals always include fish. But these are small river fishes. It is tasty but I like this fried with my sawsawan. They also have tropical fruits, melon, mango, watermelon, guava, and banana. One day, I went to buy a banana on the street and the lady used her manual weighing scale. I was so impressed that still exist. Having my thoughts at the back of my mind that this village is old fashioned. But then when I am about to pay, she does not accept cash. She only accepts online payment, Alipay, or WeChat pay. How ironic is it?

In another house, it is again interesting to see that they dry and smoke their pork. It was just there hanging in their dining area like it’s the most normal thing. More like a decoration. It tastes fantastic! 

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