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Yunnan restaurants gaining popularity around China

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Lost Heaven: Shanghai's newest Yunnan restaurant
Lost Heaven: Shanghai's newest Yunnan restaurant

Visiting Beijing or Shanghai can be a nice change of pace from Kunming, more people, more nightlife, and more dining options. After bingeing on Indian, Turkish, Uighur or any of the other cuisines that are hard/impossible to find in Kunming, we often start to crave a little taste of Yunnan. It might be rubing, lufu, mixian or erkuai, but after living in Kunming for a while it's hard not to develop a taste for some flavors that are only found in Yunnan.

It used to be that Yunnan food was overlooked by diners in other regions of China in favor of its more famous cousin to the north, Sichuan (aka Szechuan) cuisine. Now it seems that Yunnan cuisine is slowly gaining popularity in its own right.

We haven't been to the capital for a few years, but judging from City Weekend's Yunnan restaurant listings for Beijing, there's at least ten Yunnan-themed restaurants in the city. Some of the more interesting-sounding establishments include Bai Shi Ji Yunnan Hotpot, where in addition to spicy hotpot, massage is also on the menu. Middle 8 in Sanlitun seems to be a popular with hipsters and celebrities.

Shanghai's Yunnan restaurants are less numerous than in Beijing and half of them are located in shopping malls. That said, it seems that Yunnan-themed restaurants are starting to pop up in the city, most notably Lost Heaven Yunnan Folk Cuisine and Southern Barbarian, which claims to airlift its rubing (Yunnan-style goat cheese) in from Yunnan.

The big question of course is: Are any of these restaurants elsewhere in China making truly authentic Yunnan dishes? If you've been to any good Yunnan restaurants in Beijing, Shanghai or anywhere else in China, please leave your thoughts in this post's comments section - comments are now open to the public and do not require registration. Thanks in advance to all commenters.

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