As far as China's culinary traditions go, Kunming is rather famous for its rice noodles aka mixian and to a lesser extent its ersi (rice cake shreds cooked in soup), but for the vegetarian it is rather difficult to find a restaurant or noodle stand that makes these special noodles without meat or meat broth. Vegetarians - and vegans - do have one tasty option: the vegetarian restaurant across from Yuantong Temple.
Yuquanzhai (玉泉斋), located at 88 Yuantong Lu and known among Kunming's international population as 'Buddha Noodle', is a quality, no-frills noodle shop. The walls are covered with sheet metal and the chairs a bit uncomfortable, but Buddha Noodle makes a tasty bowl of mixian, ersi or regular wheat flour noodles - and that's it.
The menu is simple: mixian or noodles are 2.5 yuan for a small bowl and 3.5 yuan for a big bowl. Bowls of ersi are three and four yuan for a small or large bowl, respectively. Your noodles can be prepared in the zajiang (杂酱) or sanxian (三鲜) style. Zajiang noodles have cabbage, meat-like tofu and pickled vegetables in a spicy soup. Sanxian noodles are prepared with vegetarian imitation seafood and peanuts. We prefer the zajiang plus peanuts, which we don't get charged extra for - if we ask nicely.
88 Yuantong Lu