There are several food courts in Kunming that serve local and regional specialties.
Two of the better ones is the one in the city centre called Xiang Yun Mei Shi Cheng (祥云美食城) which straddles Bao Shan Jie (宝山街) and Nan Qiang Jie (南疆街) at the back of the Parkson Shopping Centre. The other being in Xiao Xi Men (小西门) called Jia Xiang Xiao Chi Guang Chang (嘉香小吃广场) on the corners of Ren Min Zhong Lu and Dong Feng Xi Lu, hidden to the back of and underneath the Brothers Jiang Across the Bridge Noodles store on Ren Min Zhong Lu. Both are rather large, with quite a bit of choice from small vendors and with semi-communal seating.
There is also a smaller one diagonally opposite the Jian She Lu cinema on Long Xiang Jie (龙翔街) under Roberts School of Languages and the all you can eat BBQ place. There is a newer one under the Wang Fu Jing Shopping Centre(王府井)in the middle of the city. If your down near Shi Ji Cheng (世纪城) there is one on the ground floor of the main shopping centre next to Carrefour.
Go to a university or school. Find a/a few good teachers, lots of Chinese friends and immerse yourself in the environment when you can. Listen, ask, read, talk and learn. Concentrate and keep on studying (hard) over many many years and you'll probably get fluent, probably. Depends on you.
Was recommended this restaurant by some Malaysian friends and it did not disappoint. Still working my way through the menu but the things I've tried like the curry laksa, Hainan chicken rice, Har Mee (prawn stock noodles), BBQ pork rice, rendang curry chicken and Acar (pickled salad) all hit the spot with authentic, well rounded flavours. Not only is the food good but it's all served in a meticulously clean and comfortable environment.
Finally some decent Malaysian/Singaporean food in this town. Please don't disappear!
On a cold Sunday night there was just nothing more satisfying than having a proper wood-fired pizza, a greek salad, a bowl of pumpkin soup, and a big glass of house red all wrapped up in a snug and cosy environment. Keep up the good work lost garden.