丽江 // Lijiang in 云南 // Yunnan Province (meaning South of the Cloud). As the title says it, we fall sick. Hanging over the toilet all night sick. After eating some local fish specialty. I have pictures of the meal but I cannot bear looking at them, so they are not included. Better for me and maybe better for you. Did not look that pretty anyway.
So after starving for three days and spending much time resting in our hotel room, we get all sorts of food cravings. Fast food cravings. Burger-like cravings. Luckily, expat-haven Dali offers all sorts of unhealthy Western food thanks to many European/American residents. First night, we hit up a Belgian restaurant and go all in: burger/falafel with fries and salad – and it tastes all shades of mighty fine. Body needs calories in its purest form. The waitress worries a bit about me adjusting to this non-Chinese cuisine but I assure her that I am enjoying myself very much. The Belgian owner sits outside with his expat friends smoking and drinking one of the sixteen beer varieties he is importing from Belgium.
The next jackpot: a German bakery/café, the most authentic one I have seen so far in China, with just a little mix of Chinese influence. For recovery purposes, I promise to buy us a feel-good-meal to refuel and regroup. Delicious! Simple dishes as the classic BLT, a carrot soup and salad (no weird salad dressing – major win in China!), but the menu also represents some die-hard German goodies like lentil soup and sausages.
Another bonus: the cozy garden and sun-filled second floor with the delightful aroma of cake.
On our quest to regain body weight purged, we stuff ourselves with Frozen Yogurt and Belgian Waffles. Now that I’m not feeling like dead man walking anymore, I want to eat EVERYTHING!! Tin Tin Belgian Waffles is one of my fondest memories, savoring sugars and cream on the second floor with a view of the busy nightlife outside. Ha, tourist, I’m watching you! The store is looking for a buyer right now, hope it will still be there in the future.
Every Chinese tourist girl in Dali has one of these drinks sooner or later, and I am no exception. It sure looks more interesting than it tastes, and the steam does not last that long, but well, it was not that expensive, so buy it for some instant fun.
I feel a tad bad for enjoying the Western food so much in Yunnan, when there is so much Chinese food to be had. But honestly, after the fish incident, I am a bit put off street food and Yunnan cuisine. Especially because we don’t have the best time in Yunnan anyway. Service is usually poor and the quality debatable. We do, of course, try some local food, and not all is bad.
米线 // rice noodles are hard to miss in Yunnan. Shops are full of it. Noodles are the body, the broth is the soul. A little shop in Kunming has an amazing beef broth. Season to your own taste with herbs, chili and sauces. Endless supplies of pickled turnips available, perfect for balancing the quite oily broth. Anywho, the shop disappoints on the second go because of lacking service. Broth is still amazing, though.
Off to street foods. Our careful, baby steps attempt. 饵块 // Erkuai, a sliced piece of rice cake grilled and filled with either sweet or savory sauces. Tastes okay. Or a nibble of 乳扇 // Rushan, the only Chinese cheese. The quality can be compared to European tofu, and that is not quite a compliment…quite greasy and faintly tasting of cheese. Weird how bad travel experiences also impact your taste bud. Maybe, if we had better memories of Yunnan, we would have liked the food a lot more. Bummer.
What we do enjoy, though, is a good serving of flower cake. A round pastry with a flaky crust and a filling of fresh flowers (at least that is what every shop tells you) and sugar. Taste buds differ, so we try our way through different brands and shops. We even buy a fancy one with pine nuts but it ends up being accidently dropped onto the floor. I guess the five-seconds-rule does not really apply to China.
February 5th – February 8th 2017