At the risk of provoking our resident troll/culinary expert/Chinese culture maven/pastry cook/narcissistic victim of imaginary attacks, I offer a link to an article on Yunnan food.
Found this Kindle book:
"Simply Yunnan: Simple Ingredients, Simple Technique"
A new book, out in September,
"The Yunnan Cookbook: Recipes from China's land of ethnic diversity" (no Kindle yet)
Don't forget "Roz Weitzman's World of Chinese Comfort Food" (Kindle)
I think it's mostly about the ingredients. With its diverse climate, there is a wide variety of crops growing throughout the year. With about two-thirds of the province covered in forests, there are countless wild vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, and other edibles growing in the hills. These form the basis of Yunnan cuisine. Ingredients which are unavailable elsewhere.
In most Chinese cuisine you won't find lots of salads and uncooked vegetables but in Yunnan cuisine you will.
Yunnan cuisine also encompasses the cuisines of its many ethnic minorities, some of which are more famous than others.
Two thirds of the province covered in forests - is that right? Seems like a lot.
I'll just class yunnan food as 'good food', I know I've definitely put on weight since moving here lol
Geezer, thanks for acknowledging my first book!
The characteristics of Yunnan Cuisine are what fascinated me enough to write my second, the Roz Weitzman's World of Yunnan Cuisine cookbook:
- Variety of ingredients not available in other provinces (or in only a few)
- Unusual combinations of ingredients and tastes, along with different cooking methods
- Many wild mushrooms, vegetables, wild herbs and spices, and use of flowers in cooking
- Heavy use of spicy peppers and prickly ash, a lot of sour flavours as well as sweet ones
- Huge influence from the 25 ethnic minorities that live in Yunnan
- Almost 40% of the population are of an ethnic minority
- Major influence from the foods of the surrounding countries, including Myanmar, Thailand, Viet Nam, Laos, Cambodia
For me it's fascinating, that some frequently used ingredients are almost the same as in the European Alps.
For example salted and air-dried ham, grilled goat cheese, porcinis or leaf salad with fresh herbs are definitely not, what I expected to find in China.
Sorry, Yunnan has a 54.64% forest cover rate, not two-thirds.
Still, that's pretty impressive.
Yunnan cuisine is survival food in a modern setting.
This also applies to other cultures.