User profile: Natsymir

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Forums > Living in Kunming > Tasty local everyday food

I really love hot and sour soup, suān là tāng (酸辣汤), but haven't been able to find it in Kunming. I haven't really looked though because my chinese skills are so poor, but I'd be grateful if someone could recommend a place that has or might have this dish.


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Up the mountain from Baoxing temple, there are a couple of dusty, eerie and seemlingy abandoned temples that might be worthwile if you fancy climbing the steep stairs and aren't afraid of the monkeys that will harass you on the way. On the mountaintop is a temple I think was called Jiding si, which was mysteriously open when I got there, but without a soul to be seen. It's old, empty and not very interesting, but if you love temples like I do it's worth it because of the odd and ghostly mood.

We saw most of the area in a day without car or guide. Me and my sister joined some chinese hikers, set off by foot from Shaxi and trough a beautiful and peaceful dry valley with ancient rock carvings that eventually led to Shizhong temple. After this we walked along the concrete road to Baoxing temple, and then up the mountain to the abandoned ones. After that it was getting late and we were very hungry, not having had lunch, so we quickly walked down and continuted along the main road; here I assume we passed Haiyun temple but probably missed it because it was past closing time then. We got out trough the main gate and, finding ourselves much farther from Shaxi than we would have been at Shizhong temple, flagged down a passing bus to get back.

I've tried this recipe now, and I can definitely vouch for it. The taste was very savory and nice; I used the fish mint but not the sawtooth herb. However, it wasn't nearly as ultra-über-mega-spicy as I'm used to from the Dai restaurants in Kunming, and I'll have to experiment a bit so I can achieve that.

Hoping on a plane costs a lot of money and trouble, that's not something all of us can or want to afford. That being said, you have a point of course, most people don't leave Kunming that often, but even Kunming itself benefits from being in Yunnan, seeing as it has great weather and very nice surroundings; you can easily get a little bit of nature without even having to travel to another city, just get out in the mountains. In terms of amazing 'getting away'-opportunities, even if just for a day, Kunming has every other major chinese city beaten hands down, perhaps except Xining, Ürümqi and Lanzhou, and it seems to me few laowai wants to live in those three anyhow. For me, coming from a european city with extremely boring natural surroundings, this is a very big issue, as living in Kunming completely re-ignited a passion for the outdoors that I can never pursue in my hometown. (And then, sure, say Dali would be even better in this regard, but we're talking about major chinese cities only here).

I personally also think Kunming has a very nice cuisine, as I really enjoy yunnanese food, but I know the 'food in Kunming'-question is a sensitive issue on this site, so I'm not gonna push that one.

There is of course a MAJOR advantage of choosing Kunming over any eastern cities, and this advantage will remain no matter how polluted, congested, backwoods or whatever you might consider Kunming: Kunming is in -Yunnan-.



The temple itself is interesting, but small; the surrounding exhibitions range from pointless and boring to rather fascinating, but you really need to know chinese or have somebody translating for you to get anything out of it. If you only have limited time in Kunming, skip it and head for the Bamboo Temple instead. Otherwise it's worth a visit.


The place itself is somewhat interesting, the hike there through the mountains is very nice and the views absolutely stunning.


Though overpriced, the bread is good and the pizza not bad (though a bit small). However, this place score tons of points for the great and cozy atmosphere, it's absolutely worth repated visits.


The temple itself is not very interesting, but the grounds are beautiful and the adjoining park (Admission fee: 5 yuan) makes for a pleasant stroll or picknick in a quaint and somewhat forgotten corner of Kunming. I don't know if people are ever allowed into the pagoda;if so, it would make for a grand view of the city, and be worth one extra star. Definitely worth a visit. Note that the temple compund and the park is connected via an underpass just behind the park's west gate.


It's a pleasant little temple, but the local temple staff wants nothing but your money, and will try their best to get it through various semi-scams.