China | Lijiang, Yunnan

15123577114_d0bcc6ef32_cSnapshots from Lijiang, Yunnan ^-^

Where to begin! We’ll start with the food…

15557673999_871ee37d99_c…like 过桥米线/guoqiao mixian. Also called Crossing the Bridge Noodles. The broth (served boiling) comes in big clay pots…

15745089052_8ee9f1116a_c…and the rice noodles, vegetables, raw eggs, and meats come on the side.

Slide everything into the broth and devour. This dish tastes similar to pho ga (the Vietnamese chicken noodle soup). No coincidence because Yunnan and Vietnam share a border. It’s neat to see (and eat!) all these geographical influences.

15558987620_c3999e015d_cYunnan also borders Sichuan, and we had plenty of solid Sichuan food (post on Chengdu next week).

15558387248_87b2453bb7_cAnd of course, Naxi food. Think buttered tea in the mornings. Potatoes, yak, and mushrooms during lunch and dinner. Always with a big bowl of rice on the side. Nothing fancy, very satisfying.

15558986960_45c221db41_cI had this cooling jelly dessert every single day, heheh. Herbal jelly base, topped with mashed taro and mochi balls. A bit of black sugar syrup.

15123597294_6d73e704df_cThese rose petal-stuffed pastries are a popular local snack…

15558108668_d66af6c5e6_c…and right up my alley. The outside is a flaky lard-based pastry (similar to Wife Cakes). The inside is filled with rose petal jam and plenty of fresh rose petals. Buy cakes straight from the oven and eat them hot. Glorious!

15720102706_2452182dac_cI took the bus (first time taking a bus in China!)…

15558990990_d5613bdd32_c…out to Baisha village…

15745353462_c48bf026ed_c…to meet with Dr. Ho. More about Dr. Ho here.

15741616451_0a0191cd1f_cHotels in Lijiang are a funny thing. I stayed at three different places, and though the big name brands were nice, I preferred the individual family-run hotels. There’s a bunch scattered throughout Lijiang, some with just four rooms, others up to dozen.

15719818356_ea415255b5_cI found the last (and my favorite) hotel just by walking past it one morning. I put in a cash deposit and checked in a few hours later. The rooms were centered around…

15741896071_806c036a2e_c…a courtyard with two tea tables, and that’s where I spent every afternoon.

15558700900_0936bba3e1_cThe first afternoon I went on my own, brewing and drinking (turns out I make very good company for myself)…the owner joined me an hour later bringing some of his tea to share. Good stuff, raw pu’erhs. And then we drank some “American tea” (aka black-tea based blends). He said it was horrible but very interesting to try. I agreed, and we went back to drinking more Chinese tea. We did this for three afternoons. And when we ran out of stuff to talk about, he took out his newspaper, and I took out my books. It was perfect. I wish I could do it all over again….

15719853746_3a111e2e76_c…but that’s the thing about travel! You can’t repeat/recreate experiences. And if you attempt to, you will be disappointed. I think it’s best to just love the moment and keep it as a memory (this is also why I never bring back mementos).

P.S. More Yunnan posts here.


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