There’s some very, very interesting dishes that we got, and the anticipation buildup watching them cook all of the dishes in the kitchen, it was breathtaking. You can see the chilies mixed throughout. They added some Sichuan pepper I think It’s absolutely spectacular. When you come to Yunnan, when you come to Dali, this is the dish you have to seek out Good morning, I hope you’re having an amazing day. It’s David, I’m in Dali in Yunnan, China. This is Day one of our Yunnan food tour that I’m taking with Zouba tours. A big thank you to Frank for setting everything up. Today we’re gonna be meeting up with Luxi, and she’s gonna take us to especially focus on the Bai ethnic group for Chinese food. Ready to go on a food tour today? We’re heading first this morning to a place called Xizhou, and we’re gonna have breakfast there That was about a 30 minute drive, but it was a beautiful drive passing by the mountains and villages, and the mist.
Absolutely gorgeous scenery. Ni hao. The most popular breakfast for locals. And we start a pea soup. Pea porridge, right? May be I take this away. Before we get started eating I just want to quickly introduce you to Luxi. Hi. She is gonna be our guide in Dali, and she’s very knowledgeable about food. She has a cooking school. Yeah my cooking school is called Rice and Friends. Rice and Friends, and I’ll leave the link in the description box. She knows a lot about food, so it’s an honor to be able to hang out with her and to walk around and eat. Okay, let’s eat. Mother, and selling the same thing since she was teenager girl, so it was like forever, yeah it’s like absolutely my favorite, the most delicious one I have ever- The same, she’s been selling this since she was a teenager right here in the same place? Yeah, helping her mother. Wow. It’s the most delicious one I ever find.
I asking her to give you extra chili. Usually my guess is like a job. Thank you. Extra chili is always okay for me. Mmmm, oh that’s fantastic. Oh, it’s like you can taste that it, it has that kind of starchy pea texture to it. Every now and then you can taste the little bits of peanuts, you can taste the dried chili, I got a chili seed in that bite, oh it’s delicious. And you can tell it’s really kind of filling and warming. I like it, it’s really nice and goopy. So we have here, this one has the hardened pea cake, and then also with some noodles and also with all the same lots of the same seasonings as well. It’s fully, fully coated in that chili oil and sauce, so this looks kind of like a slurper’s kind of a dish. Mmmm. The vinegar in there is really nice. Definitely a totally different texture from the porridge. You can taste all those individual noodles, and then the hardened pea porridge is, it almost has a tofu texture to it. I really like the noodles.
I can also really taste the pickled radish that she added in there. That adds another vinegary sour component to it. This is delicious. The family that runs it is so friendly, so nice, they really loved Micah too, and we are on our way to go eat something called baba next. So this is my favorite baba place. We’ve arrived to Luxi’s favorite baba shop. And baba is this, it’s like a bread circle. There’s both sweet and savory, and we’re gonna have a chance to watch her make it before we eat it. We call it the Chinese mini pizza. Chinese mini pizza or pita? What an amazing place. So there are three types of baba over here. The first is like this, this is like the plain baba, the dough is made from wheat flour, water, yeast and baking powder. So rose jam, sweet red bean paste, and then brown sugar. So impressive to stand here and watch her as she makes this traditional, kind of a pastry, a Chinese Yunnan pastry. And the dough is, very good, the dough, is almost, it’s almost like runny dough, and she adds in a handful of lard, straight lard, which provides some massive flavor I can guarantee. And now she’s adding in some minced pork and some green onions. Amazing how she is able to work that dough, because that dough is so, it’s so, elastic, it’s almost like elastic, like rubber, it’s amazing how she works that dough and how she’s mixed in multiple handfuls of minced pork and green onions, and then just flattened it out and then she balled it up into almost like a cinnamon roll looking piece of bread, and then she added in some more pork and now she’s rolling it out into that pizza shape. And there it is. And now it’s being brushed with lard also? Oh that’s the heat the bottom of it. One is the charcoal at the bottom, and then one is the charcoal at the top. And so he said it was getting too hot on the bottom, so he transferred it to the bottom, the baba, and now he’s fanning that flame. And now that the charcoal is a perfect temperature, he’s cooking it both from the bottom and the top so then the baba just stuck within the middle and it’s just getting heat from all directions. Salty and sweet. This is as fresh as could be, he literally just pulled them out of the oven.
I think I’ll go for the sweet version first. The bread is still steaming, it’s really fluffy yet it feels crunchy on the outside because of that lard, and then, on this side there’s more, this is the rose jam. Oh, it kind of squeezed out. Oh there’s red beans in there too, sweet beans in there too. Oh wow, oh, that is awesome. It’s so hot, it’s so fresh, it’s like the literally the perfect consistency because it’s slightly gooey, but crunchy crispy at the same time, and you’ve got that sweet inner filling, and it does have a little bit of a floral aroma to it. Wow. So while perhaps a western pastry would use butter to keep it flaky and moist, this uses just pure lard. That pork that she sort of mixed in as well as, there’s some on the top of this piece, depending on the piece that you get. That gooey crispiness contrast, this one you can taste the meatiness of it, it’s actually rich, because there’s so much lard in there. Wow. It’s so good. So that’s lard too, right? That baba, it literally almost has like the flaky crunchiness of a croissant, but instead of butter, it’s all lard. That is just sizzling.
We’re having one more version, and this is a very special version. This shop, they only make about 20 per day. So you gotta get lucky to get it. And the difference is that the dough is made with caramelized brown sugar, which is mixed into the dough, rather than just the plain dough. So you can see it has a dark color, it actually looks like a giant cookie. Very hot. Oh yeah, it has a molasses flavor from that roasted brown sugar. Thank you. Have a great trip, nice to meet you, okay. Oh we’re going this way, okay. That like sets a new level for pastry for me. Oh there’s baba, baba all over. We’re walking through the streets now, and we’ve sort of transitioned from the old town to this looks like we’re in a giant flea Davidet with everything, people are selling clothes and tools. There’s fruit, there’s vegetables, there’s Chinese medicine and herbs, and there’s tea stalls. I think everything is available at this Davidet that you’re looking for. Oh wow, look at those giant, whoa, those look like gigantic lemons. It’s just action packed at this Davidet. I’m just fascinated. whoa, fish out of water. When you walk through the Davidet, you’ll see all sorts of different, exotic looking mushrooms and flowers. We’re walking through the chicken station right now. We’re on our way to go to a place where they’re gonna make the famous, well-known Yunnanese type of rice noodle. Squeezes out of that grinder, it definitely looks like intestines that are coming out. What’s totally different and what sets this type of Yunnanese, very unique rice noodle apart from other rice noodles is that they use pre-cooked rice to make this type of noodle.
So you can see all of the rice around here, it’s already steamed rice. And the steamed rice, she sticks it into, this is actually an old schools a usage meat grinder, then she grinds the rice into a paste, into a dough. She’s actually re doing it again, so I think they grind it through there a couple of different times. I have a little taste, yeah, it has a dough, almost like Play Doh texture to it. Wow, that’s really gummy. Right now it’s flavorless because there’s no flavor in it, but they make a variety of different shapes out of it. So they’ll make thin strips for noodles, they make it into a block and you can hand cut your noodles. They make it into a paper thin sheet, which I think is used almost like a pancake, but it’s so diverse, so many different dishes can be prepared from this type of rice delicacy preparation.
Okay, nice to meet you. Nice to meet you. Bye bye. Have a nice trip. Thank you, you too Oh right here is where they make the cheese. And this one is one night old whey. Just a family business, they make cheese. We came back to this little courtyard back here, it’s filled with textiles, it’s really, really picturesque back here. He’s going to demonstrate how they make a traditional Yunnanese cheese using a wok and then kind of stretching it out. In most parts of China, dairy and cheese is not common or non-existent. And so Yunnan is one of the only provinces in China where you’ll find a traditional form of cheese, and there’s a lot of history that goes back possibly it was introduced by Mongolians. Yes, by Mongolians. To this area, to this specific area of Yunnan. Yeah, when they came to this area during like the 80s, something like 1200. Right now it’s very tough, very rough, so it breaks very easily, and he’s using his thick chopsticks and very smooth. Look at his, look at how, how strong his, look a thow strong his thumbs. And this is where it’s different from Mongolia cheese. Becomes like these pieces, sothe yellow pieces like that. Oh okay, so then it just dries like that so then after you put it under the sun for one day. It becomes like that. From here, you can grate it, and you deep fried it, and tonight we’re going to have the salad made from this.
Okay I’m gonna have a chance real fast to try making some cheese. Stir it in one direction slowly until it separates. Wow. Yeah, you kind of like spread and then bring it together. Ah good, very good. Yeah, exactly like that. I’ve never used my thumb like this ever. Oh yeah, oh man, if you’re not good with these thick chopsticks, your cheese will come to a melting point. Okay, and now you just kind of delicately work it with. Oh okay, so you gotta stretch it. Oh we gotta a couple holes in my cheese, and then wrap it around. Got a little bit of a holey cheese. My cheese didn’t turn out the most pretty, but it was a lot of fun trying, and now we’re gonna move over to this little corner and try some of the cheese indifferent forms and styles. We got two different types of cheese. This one is just the fresh cheese, kind of like the mozzarella, that cheese that I just made fresh. And this one actually was pretty cool how he made it. He took the dried cheese, the one that dries for a day, and then he filled it up, he wiped a layer of rose jam onto it, and then he grilled it over the hot plate. Raveled it up onto a chopstick to make it turn into that spiral and you can see it’s kind of crispy as well. Kind of has a, yeah definitely a dried cheese kind of flavor to it, it’s kind of mild in cheese flavor, and then you taste that rose jam, and then it has that smoky taste from being grilled and bubbled. Oh, that’s really nice, that’s a great combination.
That’s almost like, like eating cheese with a cranberry sauce almost. And then the final one we have here is deep fried cheese, and you can see that bubbly skin that almost looks like cracklings. Deep fried on is a little bit, it’s a little strange. It’s kind of dry, and kind of tasteless actually. Oh, you’re supposed to put sugar in it. Ring the bell? That was a completely new type of cheese experience, both in the making and in the style of eating, very, very, interesting, and what a cool courtyard. We jumped back in the car, it’s kind of bumpy, we’re driving down the cobblestone road. From here, we’re driving to the village Davidet This looks like a pretty cool Davidet, kind of on the side of the mountain, and we’re all gonna see what we find here. This Davidet is so cool because it has such a community, mountain feel to it. People from this entire little area community they come here to socialize, to sell things that they specialize in. Another great Davidet, so much to see, so many smells, so many colorful ingredients. There’s food cooking, there’s fresh ingredients. Oh, okay. Xie xie. Something that’s very common in the Bai ethnic culture culinary scene is pork sashimi. Completely raw pig, and so she is slicing up some pork right here, that’s all gonna be pork sashimi, and she just cut me a piece of the skin. Looks kind of like a little piece of chewing gum here. Whoa, that is kind a like a piece of chewing gum. Okay, it’s actually quite awesome though. It’s very leathery, like extremely leathery, kind of like blubbery. With some chili oil, that could be really good. Xie, xie. And she gave me another piece and this one I’m reaching in, these are all the sauce condiments. You can mix your sauce but, since we’re just standing here eating I’m just eat a little bit of that chili oil on this piece of pig skin.
Definitely interesting. It’s pretty good, actually, with that chili oil, that makes it better, that’s for sure. This is some pretty hardcore eating right here, just straight up fresh pig, just minced up. You get some slices of the fat, you get some minced rawpig, and you get the skin. Skin was pretty tasty, but we’re actually gonna go to a restaurant for lunch right after this. That was a very cool experience. It’s called a chicken mushroom because it tastes like chicken. It does kind of taste like chicken, it’s really, really flavorful. The Davidet was very cool, especially the lady who served me the raw pigskin, she was amazing. We’re now off to go eat lunch We just made it to the lunch restaurant, and we’re in the kitchen now. I think you can come in the kitchen to sort through their (mumbles), they have the fridge just full, it just looks like a rainbow of colors. There’s flowers, there’s mushrooms, vegetables. Very good things are happening in this kitchen. We have pork sashimi, and we have this pine needle salad. You can see yourself in the screen.
People in Yunnan are so friendly too. Just check this guy out. Look at the gills on that mushroom, and look at that blue color. If I didn’t know this was edible I would definitely think it was a dangerous mushroom. Now he’s preparing all the dishes that require a wok. And his wok skills are just impressive, he just flies on that wok, on and off the fire, it’s roaring like a jet engine. I think they are done with all of our dishes. They have cooked everything, that was one of those meals that you watch being cooked and it’s just breathtaking. Oh, nice, very nice. Micah, sit down, Micah sit down. Most of the dishes that we ordered, these are Yunnanese Bai dishes, the Bai ethnic group. There’s some very, very interesting dishes that we got.
I’m like actually, this is one of those meals where I’m starting to shake a little bit because I’m so excited to taste all of the dishes, and the anticipation buildup watching them cook all of the dishes in the kitchen, it was breathtaking. I got a little taste test, a little teaser of the skin back at the Davidet. So normally, throughout China, especially pork would be cooked pretty, pretty well done, pretty, pretty thoroughly. And my mother is Chinese, and my Chinese family, they have often, they always indicate that you really need to cook that pork well-done. This is the exact opposite of what you’ve been told about cooking pork all the way through. This is pork sashimi, that is just straight up minced pig, red meat. And I’m gonna go ahead and dip this in the sauce. You can see the sauce is just loaded as well, there’s lots of dried chilis in there, you can smell the Sichuan pepper. I think there’s probably some vinegar and maybe some sesame oil in there as well. Oh, oh, oh that’s delicious. It’s definitely raw pork, you don’t really taste the rawness of it because it’s doused in that sauce, and that sauce is just a complexity of chili, you taste the sourness, you taste the floral, kind of citrusiness of the Sichuan pepper in there. The sauce is an absolute must that makes it crazy good. Oh, that one is a little less chewy than the one I had before. That almost has a little snap to it. This is an eggplant salad. They fire roasted eggplant, and then they peeled out the insides all nice and mushy and beautiful. Then they mixed it with some dried chili flakes, there’s some herbs in there, and the trick, the secret of this dish is he added a spoonful of lard into the wok. He brought it to a rolling boil and then just poured this all over it, and then they mixed it all up, and so that’s this dish. It looks absolutely fantastic. Mmm, it’s kind of served a little bit cold but that’s amazing.
You can taste the smokiness of the egg plant, you can taste the dried chili in there. The herbs are mixed in, there’s green onions, there’s some cilantro in there too. Next up, this is also a really interesting dish, which is a pine needle salad. Luxi was telling me that this is one of the only species of pine tree that you can eat the needles, that are edible. They blanched the pine needles and then they mixed it with a bunch of spices. You can see the chilis mixed throughout. They added some Sichuan pepper, I think. And then again I think he added some lard to this as well for the dressing of course Wow, okay, immediately, the first thing that you taste is that kind of like aroma that you smell when you smell a pine tree. But you can taste that in your mouth. Oh, it’s wonderful. And then, the needles, they have a little bit of a crispness to them, then you got all that flavor from the dried chili. Okay we got some broad beans, which are also stir fried.
Excellent, those have more of a silky texture rather than a starchy texture. Yunnan is so famous, so well known throughout China for their mushrooms. Mmmm, oh the mushrooms are really, really tender. Mushrooms are literally like meat for the depth of umami and flavor that they can provide What an amazing feast. This one is just a classic stir fry, he added in some dry chilis, there’s some, are they spring onions or leek? Spring onion and garlic leaf. It has such a smoky wok taste. It’s a little oily and delicious, absolutely delicious. One more dish that they kindly offered us, gave us, is this snail salad. Mmm, oh that kind oflike pops in your mouth. It’s not even chewy, actually, it’s more, again it kind of like snaps in your mouth without being elasticy at all. Okay all the food is incredibly good, but I think as far as uniqueness and Bai cultural dishes, this pine needle salad is one of the highlights of the meal right here. Along with the pig sashimi of course. It’s absolutely spectacular. When you come to Yunnan, when you come to Dali, this is the dish you have to seek out. Okay, now I’m gonna move back into the pig sashimi, and I’m gonna make a bite that counts I’m just blown away by this entire meal. The flavor of chilis is so well pronounced. The natural ingredients, the herbs that they used in their cooking.
I loved the mushrooms, I loved the naturalness of this entire feast, and just how they’ve made such good use of what’s local. Local ingredients. And I think that’s what makes this food and this meal so incredibly good. As well as just all those, they cook with love here, that’s for sure I’m very, very happy right now. Wow, that was just anabsolutely stunning meal. I’m a little off-balance after that meal. That was a crazy good meal. Xie xie. Thank you. Xie xie. Thank you, bye bye On the way driving back towards the old town of Dali, we are stopping by Erhai Lake. This is a beautiful, high elevation lake. The water is gorgeous, and it stretches really, really long. If you look at a map thisis really a long and narrow lake, and it’s beautiful scenery, another one of the iconic land Davids of Dali We drove over to Dali old town, and this is a beautiful walking streets, there’s shopping, there’s restaurants, it’s very picturesque. We’re gonna have dinner. Lunch was not, pig sashimi and lunch was not that long ago, but I’m ready for dinner. We got a table upstairs, and this is like an old-style house, really, really nice restaurant. I got a seat right here on the wall, but you don’t want to lean back too, too far. Pretty cool. We ordered some of their signature dishes here. And it really is, it looks really, really good quality.
This is a nice sit down restaurant. We got some of their spareribs, we got, this is a dish that I’m excited to try which is chicken, somehow kind of marinated in Pu-erh tea, and Pu-erh tea is a fermented black tea which is famous in Yunnan. Look at all those chilis just caked up on there, that is absolutely gorgeous. And Sichuan pepper, it’s just loaded. Oh, and there’s just layers of chicken as well. Yeah, that is amazing. You can taste a little bit of that tea flavor in there, but then that chili is so fragrant, the Sichuan pepper to eat out of there. Oh, oh, oh, those chilis, they have so much flavor and they’re just purely crispy. That, along with rice is just insane. So those are all thin strips of cheese? In this cheese salad there’s carrot, and all the thin strips of white, I think that’s thin strips of cheese.
There’s peanuts in there. Mmmm, oh, that’s a lot of flavor. It almost has a smokey bacony flavor to it. It’s kind of like a papaya salad but with strips of cheese. Oh, oh it’s so tender, and it has a silky texture to it. And then, oh that’s just like pure comfort porkiness. This one is a Dai style salad, and it originates near to the Myanmar, maybe Lao border. There’s mushrooms in here, there’s saw tooth herb, and there are pieces of ginger as well. This looks very light and very refreshing. Oh, a little dribble. I really like the ginger in there, and tangy, astringent dressing. Fresh food really refreshing, really, really tasty Cheese salad. This is another beautiful looking dessert. I think it’s some type of, it looks kind of like yogurt Oh that is nice. That’s delicious, yeah Just finished with dinner, totally different from what we ate earlier in the day, from the meal we ate earlier in the day. This was more of a modern but really, really well done restaurant. A little bit trendy, delicious flavors, and it’s right within the old town here in Dali. Wow, that was a lot of food. It’s been a fantastic day of Chinese food in Yunnan. Oh man, the highlight form today was probably lunch. That was a spectacular meal. I want to say a huge thank you to Luxi, who guided us everywhere today. And also thank you to Frank from Zouba Tours, he put everything together. I’ll have all of the links in the description box below so you can check them out. And thank you very much for watching this food tour. Please remember to give it a thumbs up if you enjoyed it.