@AlexKMG & BillDan
Kunming or Yunnan are generally not regarded as a grand culinary center in Chinese food culture.
However, it is simply mean to rant about as you have been doing.
And even though Kunming doesn't belong to the top 10 cities for food in China, it bares representatives of many different cultures, and that's a plus. You can find very good - please note that I said "very good", not "acceptable" - food in Kunming and around.
You just have not been looking well, guys !
If what you are looking for is THE great and grand Kunming Local dish then you might be disappointed. But you can find good beef and brocoli for sure, just aim at the right restaurant, like a cantonese one for example ! You know, one that's going to be located on the second or third floor of a grand hotel, with fuyuan pushing DimSum trays through the aisles and stuff...
Just look around a bit ! Get out of your little area, ask people ! you have no cantonese friends at all in kunming ? or no one who knows good cantonese restaurants ? There necessarily are some, 'cause there where some already back in 1996.
I don't live in KMG anymore, but was there in 2009, and will be coming back soon, and I already know at least one place where I'll be stoping to eat : Mamafu's !!!
Yes I think that's a good restaurant, and there are many others like that around.
there are a lot of muslims too in KMG, that's another goodthing, as their culinary culture is different from the Han. Believe me Muslim food can be delicious, once again, look around !
Vegetarian huh ? yeah I think that should be pretty easy to find, but not with soup ! You keep on talking about soup ! chinese people like their soup to be tasty, and that means that the soup base will almost always be some kind of broth, either chicken, beef of something else.
So just skip soup, and go for rice, tofu (can be found in many different sorts, there has to be one kind that you will like), and green vegies. Chinese people stir frie a lot of different sorts of green vegetables.
And if that is still not to your likes, then go and try the vegetarian restaurant at Yuantong temple.
I had lunch there once, and it was delicious, extreemely tasty.
Kunming is like anyother city in China or anywhere else in the world : you go to the wrong place, well, you've gone to the wrong place. But then find the right place, and you'll keep going back again and again and again.
Oh ! last thing, about Paris and Chinese food (I'm from Paris) : we've had our great wave and rave of Sichuan restaurants, and still have. But what seems the hype now, has more and more of these restaurants are appearing in Paris, is... Yunnan restaurants ! yeah !
So be proud to be there and enjoy the food, it's becoming famous worldwide !
Go out and look better !