Dai people

The Dai people (Kam Mueang: ᩱᨴᩭ; Thai: ไท; Shan: တႆး [tai˥˩]; Tai Nüa: ᥖᥭᥰ, [tai˥], Chinese: ; pinyin: Dǎizú) are one of several ethnic groups living in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture and the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture (both in southern Yunnan, China), but by extension, the term can apply to groups in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Myanmar when Dai is used to mean specifically Tai Yai, Lue, Chinese Shan, Tai Dam, Tai Khao or even Tai in general. For other names, please see the table below.

Dai peoples
中国境内傣族
Total population
c. 8 million
Regions with significant populations
 Myanmar6,345,236
 China1,158,989[1]
 Laos126,229
 Thailand145,236
Languages
Tai Lü, Tai Nüa, Tai Dam, Mandarin Chinese, Lao, Thai
Religion
Theravada Buddhism and Dai folk religion [2]

Name ambiguity

The Dai people form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China, and are closely related to the Lao and Thai people who form a majority in Laos and Thailand. Originally, the Tai, or Dai, lived closely together in modern Yunnan Province until political chaos and wars in the north at the end of the Tang and Song Dynasty and various nomadic peoples prompted some to move further south into modern Laos then Thailand. As with many other officially recognized ethnic groups in China (See Gaoshan and Yao), the term Dai at least within Chinese usage is an umbrella term and as such has no equivalent in Tai languages who have only more general terms for 'Tai peoples in general' (e.g., Tai Lue: tai˥˩, but this term refers to all Dai people, not including Zhuang) and 'Tai people in China' (e.g., Thai: ชาวไทในจีน'), both of which include the Zhuang for example which is not the case in the Chinese; and more specific terms, as shown in the table below. Therefore the word Dai, like with the aforementioned Yao, is a Han-Chinese cultural concept which has now been adopted by other languages such as English, French and German (see respective Wikipedias). As a solution in the Thai language, however, as in English, the term Tai Lue can be used to mean Dai, despite referring to other groups as in the table below. This is because the two main groups actually bear the same name, both meaning 'Northern Tai' (lue and nüa are cognate).

Although they are officially recognized as a single people by the Chinese state, these Tai people form several distinct cultural and linguistic groups. The two main languages of the Dai are Dai Lü (Sibsongbanna Dai) and Dai Nüa (Daihong Dai); two other written languages used by the Dai are Tày Pong and Tai Dam. They all are Tai languages, a group of related languages that includes Thai, Lao, and Zhuang, and part of the Tai–Kadai language family. Various dialects of the Tai/Dai language family are spoken from Assam, India to Taiwan and Shanxi Province, China. The Dai people follow their traditional religion as well as Theravada Buddhism, and maintain similar customs and festivals (such as Songkran) to the other Tai-speaking peoples and more broadly, in regards to some cultural aspects, to the unrelated dominant ethnic groups of Myanmar, Cambodia and Sri Lanka. They are among the few natives groups in China who nominally practice the Theravada school of Buddhism.

Tai groups and names

Chinese Pinyin Tai Lü Tai Nüa Thai Conventional Area(s)
傣泐
(西雙版納傣族自治州)
Dǎilè
(Xīshuāngbǎnnà Dǎi)
tai˥˩ lɯː˩ ไทลื้อ Tai Lü, Tai Lue, Lue Sipsongpanna Tai Autonomous Prefecture, Laos, Thailand, Burma, Vietnam
傣那
(德宏傣)
Dǎinà
(Déhóng Dǎi)
tai˥˩ nəː˥ tai
le6
ไทเหนือ, ไทใต้คง, ไทใหญ่ Tai Nüa, Northern Tai, Upper Tai, Chinese Shan, Tai Yai Dehong (德宏); Burma
傣擔 Dǎidān tai˥˩ dam˥ ไทดำ, ลาวโซ่ง, ไททรงดำ, Tai Dam, Black Tai, Tai Lam, Lao Song Dam*, Tai Muan, Tai Tan, Black Do, Jinping Dai, Tai Den, Tai Do, Tai Noir, Thai Den Jinping (金平), Laos, Thailand
傣繃 Dǎibēng tai˥˩pɔːŋ˥ ไทเบง, ไทมาว, ไทใหญ่ Tay Pong Ruili (瑞丽), Gengma (耿马),
along the Mekong
傣端 Dǎiduān tai˥˩doːn˥ ไทขาว White Tai, Tày Dón, Tai Khao, Tai Kao, Tai Don, Dai Kao, White Dai, Red Tai, Tai Blanc, Tai Kaw, Tày Lai, Thai Trang Jinping (金平)
傣雅 Dǎiyǎ tai˥˩jaː˧˥ ไทหย่า Tai Ya, Tai Cung, Cung, Ya Xinping (新平), Yuanjiang (元江)
傣友 Dǎiyǒu tai˥˩jiu˩ ไทโยว Yuanyang (元阳),
along the Red River
* lit. "Lao [wearing] black trousers"

Languages

Peoples classified as Dai in China speak the following Southwestern Tai languages.

Yunnan (1998:150)[3] lists 4 major Tai language varieties.

Exodus

The original areas of the Tai Lue included both sides of the Mekong River in the Sipsongpanna. According to the Tai Lue, there were five city-states on the east bank and six on the west, which with Jinghong formed twelve rice field divisions with all twelve having another 32 small provinces. These were:

On the west bank - Rung, Ha, Sae, Lu, Ong, Luang, Hun, Phan, Chiang Choeng, Hai, Chiang Lo and Mang; On the east bank - La, Bang, Hing, Pang, La, Wang, Phong, Yuan, Bang and Chiang Thong (present-day Luang Prabang). (These names are transcribed according to their Thai Language pronunciations not their Tai Lue(Dai) pronunciations. If transcribed according to their Tai Lue pronunciations they would be as follows: Hung, Ha, Sae, Lu, Ong, Long, Hun, Pan, Cheng Choeng, Hai, Cheng Lo, Mang, La, Bang, Hing, Pang, La, Wang, Pong, Yon, Bang and Cheng Tong)

Some portions of these Tai Lue either voluntarily moved or were forcibly herded from these city-states around one to two hundred years ago, arriving in countries of present-day Burma, Laos and Thailand.

Diet custom

The staple food of dai nationality is rice. Dehong area eat japonica rice, Xishuangbanna and other places love to eat glutinous rice.

Bamboo rice is a famous snack of Dai nationality. It is made by putting glutinous rice in a fragrant bamboo tube, soaking with water for 15 minutes and baking with fire.

Pineapple purple rice has unique characteristics, its flavor is sweet and delicious, and has the effect of replenishing blood and moistening lungs.

Raw, fresh, sour,and spicy are the characteristics of dai cuisine. Dai people believe that eating sour heart can make eyes bright, help digestion, and also help relieve heat and heat. Sweet can remove fatigue. Spicy can increase appetite. Acid is the most delicious flavor in Dai cuisine, and all dishes and snacks are mainly sour, such as sour bamboo shoots, sour pork.

Tai Lue in Thailand

2013 Wat Rong Ngae 01
Wat Rong Ngae is a Thai Lue temple in Pua District, Nan Province

In Thailand there are Tai Lue in many provinces of the upper regions of Northern Thailand; these provinces are:

Festival

The festivals of the Dai people are mostly related to religious activities. The main festivals include door closing festival, door opening festival and water splashing festival.

The closing festival is fixed on September 15 in the Dai calendar (the middle of July in the Gregorian calendar). The opening door festival, the time fixed in the Dai calendar on December 15 (the middle of October in the Gregorian calendar). In the two festivals on the same day, all of people will go to the Buddhist temple to hold ritual activities. People will offer foods, flowers and coins to the Buddha. The three months between the closing door festival and the opening door festival are the "close" time of the year, the most religious time of the year.

The water-sprinkling festival is a traditional festival of the Dai people, meaning the New Year of June. The time is in the late June or early July of the Dai calendar (the middle of April in the Gregorian calendar). Held about 10 days after the Qingming festival, it symbolizes "the most beautiful day". The holiday usually lasts three days. In the early morning of the festival, the people of the Dai village went to the Buddhist temple to clean the figure of Buddha. After the ceremony of the Buddhist temple, the young men and women pour water on each other. Then groups of people marched around, sprinkling pedestrians as a blessing. These represent blessings.

Ethnic Tensions in China: The 2008 Menglian Incident

Dai rubber farmers in Yunnan have repeatedly protested against alleged cases of discrimination and economical exploitation by the Mengma Rubber Company, The most serious incident happened in Menglian County on July 19, 2008, when the police confronted a protest by some 400 Dai farmers, killing two of them. Different interpretations of the incident were offered by the Chinese authorities, who reported that the police officers had to defend themselves against a violent aggression, and by international human rights organizations, which denounced police brutality.[4]

Gallery

Dai containers (silver) - Yunnan Provincial Museum- DSC02044

Dai containers (silver). Metalwork in the Yunnan Provincial Museum.

Manuscripts in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC03951

Dai Buddhist text. Manuscripts / writing systems in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Musical instruments in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC03831

Dai gourd pipes, also known as the hulusi, in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Tools and utensils in the in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC03605

Dai bamboo house. Tools and utensils in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum, Kunming, Yunnan, China.

Folk Arts in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC03712

Dai copulating figurines. Folk Arts in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Folk Arts in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum - DSC03729

Dai Buddhist streamer. Folk Arts in the Yunnan Nationalities Museum

Dai mask - Yunnan Provincial Museum- DSC02117

Dai mask. Exhibit in the Yunnan Provincial Museum

2013 Wat Nong Bua Thai Lue Buddha

A wooden Thai Lue (Dai people in Thailand) Buddha statue inside Wat Nong Bua, Tha Wang Pha District, Thailand

References

  1. ^ "Ethnic Groups". China.org.cn.
  2. ^ Haimei Shen. Risk Society, the Predicaments of Folk Religion and Experience of Modernity: The Guardian Spirits in the Mandi Dailue Ethnic Society of Xishuangbanna. China: An International Journal, Vol. 11, No. 2
  3. ^ Yunnan Gazetteer Commission [云南省地方志编纂委员会] (ed). 1998. Yunnan Provincial Gazetteer, Vol. 59: Minority Languages Orthographies Gazetteer [云南省志. 卷五十九, 少数民族语言文字志]. Kunming: Yunnan People's Press [云南人民出版社].
  4. ^ Yunnan Province, China: Conflict between Mengma Rubber Company and farmers, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, n.d.; Ten Years Later: Remembering the Menglian Incident of July 19, 2008, Bitter Winter, July 17, 2018.

Works cited

External links

Achang people

The Achang (Chinese: 阿昌族; pinyin: Āchāngzú), also known as the Ngac'ang (their own name) or Maingtha (Burmese: မိုင်းသာလူမျိုး) are an ethnic group. They form one of the 56 ethnic groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. They also live in Burma.

The Achang number 27,700, of whom 27,600 are from Yunnan province, especially Dehong Autonomous Prefecture. The Achang speak a Burmish (Burmese-related) language called Achang, but there is no indigenous writing system to accompany it. Chinese characters are often used instead. Many Achang also speak the Tai Lü language, mainly to make commercial transactions with Dai people.Speaking a distinct dialect, the Husa Achang (戶撒) living in Longchuan County (also in Dehong) consider themselves to be distinct and filed an unsuccessful application in the 1950s as a separate nationality. The Husa were more Sinicized than other Achang. For example, Confucian-styled ancestral memorial tablets are common in Husa homes. Most traditional Husa believe in a mixture of Theravada Buddhism and Taoism.

Baiyue

The Baiyue, Hundred Yue or Yue were various indigenous non-Chinese peoples who inhabited the region stretching along the coastal area from Shandong to southeast China, and as far west as the Sichuan Basin between the first millennium BC and the first millennium AD. Meacham (1996:93) notes that, during the Zhou and Han dynasties, the Yue lived in a vast territory from Jiangsu to Yunnan, while Barlow (1997:2) indicates that the Luoyue occupied the southwest Guangxi and northern Vietnam. The Han shu (漢書) describes the lands of Yue as stretching from the regions of Kuaiji (會稽) to Jiaozhi (交趾). In the Warring States period, the word "Yue" referred to the State of Yue in Zhejiang. The later kingdoms of Minyue in Fujian and Nanyue in Guangdong were both considered Yue states.

The Yue tribes were gradually displaced or assimilated into Chinese culture as the Han empire expanded into what is now Southern China and Northern Vietnam during the first half of the first millennium AD. Many modern southern Chinese dialects bear traces of substrate languages originally spoken by the ancient Yue. Variations of the name are still used for the name of modern Vietnam, in Zhejiang-related names including Yue opera, the Yue Chinese language, and in the abbreviation for Guangdong.

Boluo fan

Boluo fan (Chinese: 菠萝饭; pinyin: bōluófàn) or pineapple rice is a method of preparing rice for consumption that is used by the Dai people, a Tai cultural group residing in southern China.

Daai Chin

The Daai are an ethnic group living in Chin State, Myanmar. The Daai consist of 32 Chin tribes, which have been registered by the Government of Burma since 1890. The recent Military Regime’s census mentions the Daai tribe as the 62nd of 135 tribes of Burma. Researchers refer to them as the Daai group in the ethnic survey book of Burma. The Daai Chin appear to be of Mongolian, Indo-Chinese, and Tibeto-Burman descent. The Daai people live in the Mindat, Paletwa, Matupi and Kanpetlet townships of Southern Chin State in Burma. There are more than 180 Daai villages with a total population of somewhere between 60,000 and 90,000. Their population makes the Daai-Chin the majority tribe of the Southern Chin Hills.

Dai bamboo house

Dai bamboo house is a kind of stilt building; mainly made of bamboo, it is a "bamboo building".

Bamboo house is a typical architecture of Dai nationality. The lower floor was about seven or eight feet high, and the horses and oxen were hitched to the posts. There is a terrace near the upper stairs, which turns into a large room with a long shape. The rest is a large open space with a low roof, sloping on both sides, eaves to the floor and generally no windows. If the eaves are slightly higher there are small windows on both sides and a door on the back. In the middle of the building was a fire pool, burning day and night. The roof is covered with thatch, and all the doors and windows are made of bamboo. The construction is so easy that it only takes a few days to cut down bamboo and gather neighbors together. But they are also perishable and must be repaired each year after the rainy season. This construction method is conducive to damp proof, drainage of rain, and to cater for the topography of the PingBa area.

Most Dai nationality live in the Pingba region. With no snow all year round, abundant rainfall, an annual average temperature of 21 ℃, without four seasons, the environment is very suitable for building bamboo structures. Besides being breathable and cool, bamboo buildings also have the function of avoiding miasma, dampness and flooding, preventing insects and snakes from entering and resisting earthquakes. In addition, they are easy to set up.

Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture

The Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture is located in western Yunnan province, People's Republic of China, and is one of the eight autonomous prefectures of the province, bordering Baoshan to the east and Burma's Kachin State to the west.

Hulusi

The hulusi (traditional: 葫蘆絲; simplified: 葫芦丝; pinyin: húlúsī) or cucurbit flute is a free reed wind instrument from China and the Shan State. It is held vertically and has three bamboo pipes that pass through a gourd wind chest; the center pipe has finger holes and the outer two are typically drone pipes. It is not uncommon for a hulusi to have only one drone pipe while the second outer pipe is merely ornamental. The drone pipe has a finger hole, which allows it to be stopped. Advanced configurations have keyed finger holes similar to a clarinet or oboe, which can greatly extend the range of the hulusi to several octaves.

The hulusi was originally used primarily in the Shan State of Myanmar and Yunnan province by a number of ethnic-minority groups, in particular the Dai people who call the instrument "pi lamtao" (筚朗叨 – the word "pi" means woodwind instruments, and the word "lamtao"(namtao) means gourd), and has gained nationwide popularity throughout China; similar to the popularity of the harmonica in the West, and "improved" versions have been produced outside the indigenous realms. Like the related free reed pipe called bawu, the hulusi has a very pure, very mellow clarinet-like sound.

A similar instrument called hulusheng is a mouth organ with a gourd wind chest.

Klong yao

Klong yao (Thai: กลองยาว, pronounced [klɔːŋ jaːw]) is a long drum used in Thailand and Khawng yao in Great Laos. It is generally slung over the shoulder and played with the hands. It has a wooden body and a drumhead made from water buffalo skin, and is usually decorated with a colorful skirt. It is played in many festival parades in Thailand. Extremely large klong yao, which may be up to 10 m in length, are sometimes encountered in parades, where they are carried by truck.

Similar drums are used by the Dai people of the Yunnan province of southwest China, as well as in Burma. It is the equivalent of the Cambodian skor chhaiyam.

Kra–Dai-speaking peoples

The Kra–Dai-speaking peoples refer collectively to the ethnic groups of southern China and Southeast Asia, stretching from Hainan to Northeast India and from southern Sichuan to Laos, Thailand and parts of Vietnam, which speak languages in the Kra–Dai language family and share some similar traditions.

Laopin language

Laopin (Chinese: 老品) is a Loloish language of Menghai County, Yunnan, China. Laopin is spoken in Manpin 曼品村 (or Laopin 老品), Manhong Village 曼洪村委会, Mengzhe Town 勐遮镇, Menghai County.There fewer than 1,000 speakers out of 1,300 ethnic members in Menglian County. They are classified as ethnic Dai people by the Chinese government.

Mangshi

Mangshi City (Chinese: 芒市; Tai Nuea: ᥝᥥᥒᥰ ᥛᥫᥒᥰ ᥑᥩᥢᥴ; Jingpho: Mangshi Myu), formerly named Luxi City (潞西市), in some literatures is written as Mangshih, is a county-level city of Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture, in the west of Yunnan province, People's Republic of China. It is the prefectural seat. Mangshi has an area of 2,900.91 km2 (1,120.05 sq mi), with an urban area of 18.66 km2 (7.20 sq mi). Han Chinese, Dai people Tai Nuea branch and Jingpo people Zaiwa branch are the major ethnic group. In the history, Mangshi was divided into 3 tusi territory. Luxi County was founded in 1949, and finally upgraded to a county-level city in 1996.

Migan

Migan (Chinese: 米干; pinyin: mǐgàn) is a type of rice noodle from the Dai people, a Tai cultural group from Yunnan Province, China. It is made from ordinary non-glutinous rice, and it is only sold fresh.

Sangkong language

Sangkong (Chinese: 桑孔; autonym: saŋ˥qʰoŋ˥) is a Loloish language spoken in China by the Hani people in Xiaojie Township 小街乡, Jinghong County. They are called Buxia (布夏) by the local Dai people (Li 2003).

Li (2003) covers the Sangkong dialect of Manwanwa village 曼宛洼寨, Menglong Town 勐龙镇, Jinghong County. It may be the same as the Muda language. You Weiqiong (2013:172) reports that Buxia 布夏 (Sangkong 桑孔) is spoken in 7 villages of Menglong 勐龙. Sangkong uses a dichotomous verb pronominalization rule where ŋa and ʑe represent 1st and non-1st person marking, respectively.

Simao District

Simao District (Chinese: 思茅区; pinyin: Sīmáo Qū; formerly known as Cuiyun District) is a district under the jurisdiction of Pu'er City, Yunnan Province, China. It is the seat of Puer Prefecture. Formerly both Simao and the surrounding region of Pu'er prefecture played a major role in the historic tea horse trade between Yunnan, Tibet and India, with Simao acting as the southern terminus or starting point for the transport of tea by mule caravan north to Dali, Lijiang and Lhasa. Tea remains a central crop and product of the region.In 2007, the city of Simao (思茅市) changed its name to Pu'er city (普洱市). By doing so, it has had an effect the size of the official Pu'er (普洱) tea production area.

Tai Lue language

Tai Lue (Tai Lü: ᨣᩴᩣᩱᨴᩭ, kam tai lue, [kâm.tâj.lɯ̀], Tai Tham spelling: ᨣᩴᩣᩱᨴᩭᩃᩧ ᩢ) or Tai Lɯ, Tai Lü, Thai Lue, Tai Le, Xishuangbanna Dai (Chinese: 傣仂语; pinyin: Dǎilèyǔ; Thai: ภาษาไทลื้อ, phasa thai lue, pronounced [pʰāː.sǎː.tʰāj.lɯ́ː]; Vietnamese: Lự or Lữ) is a Tai language of the Lu people, spoken by about 700,000 people in Southeast Asia. This includes 280,000 people in China (Yunnan), 200,000 in Burma, 134,000 in Laos, 83,000 in Thailand, and 4,960 in Vietnam. The language is similar to other Tai languages and is closely related to Kham Mueang or Tai Yuan, which is also known as Northern Thai language. In Yunnan, it is spoken in all of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, as well as Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County in Pu'er City.

In Vietnam, Tai Lue speakers are officially recognised as the Lự ethnic minority, although in China they are classified as part of the Dai people, along with speakers of the other Tai languages apart from Zhuang.

Tai Nuea language

Tai Nuea (Tai Nüa: ᥖᥭᥰᥖᥬᥳᥑᥨᥒᥰ) (also called Tai Nɯa, Tai Nüa, Dehong Dai, or Chinese Shan; own name: Tai2 Lə6, which means "upper Tai" or "northern Tai", or ᥖᥭᥰᥖᥬᥳᥑᥨᥒᥰ [tai taɯ xoŋ]; Chinese: Dǎinàyǔ 傣那语 or Déhóng Dǎiyǔ 德宏傣语; Thai: ภาษาไทเหนือ, pronounced [pʰāːsǎː tʰāj nɯ̌a] or ภาษาไทใต้คง, pronounced [pʰāːsǎː tʰāj tâj.kʰōŋ]) is one of the languages spoken by the Dai people in China, especially in the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Autonomous Prefecture in the southwest of Yunnan province. It is closely related to the other Tai languages. Speakers of this language across the border in Myanmar are known as Shan. It should not be confused with Tai Lü (Xishuangbanna Dai). There are also Tai Nuea speakers in Thailand.

Water Festival

The Water Festival is the New Year's celebrations that take place in Southeast Asian nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand as well as among the Dai people of China. Orginally, it is Burmese people tradional to celebrate the water festival. Burmese (Myanmar) new year (aka water festival) happen in April. It is called the 'Water Festival' by Westerners because they notice people splashing or pouring water at one another as part of the cleansing ritual to welcome the New Year. Traditionally people gently sprinkled water on one another as a sign of respect, but as the new year falls during the hottest month in South East Asia, many people end up dousing strangers and passersby in vehicles in boisterous celebration. The act of pouring water is also a show of blessings and good wishes. It is believed that on this Water Festival, everything old must be thrown away, or it will bring the owner bad luck.

Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture

Xishuangbanna, Sibsongbanna, or Sipsong Panna, shortened to Banna (full name: Tham: ᩈᩥ᩠ᨷᩈ᩠ᩋᨦᨻᩢ᩠ᨶᨶᩣ; New Tai Lü script: ᦈᦹᧈᦈᦹᧈᦵᦋᦲᧁᧈᦘᦱᦉᦱᦺᦑ᧑᧒ᦗᧃᦓᦱ; Chinese: 西双版纳傣族自治州; Thai: สิบสองปันนา; Lao: ສິບສອງພັນນາ; Shan: သိပ်းသွင်ပၼ်းၼႃး; Burmese: စစ်ဆောင်ပန္နား) is a Tai Lü autonomous prefecture in the extreme south of Yunnan, China. The prefectural seat is Jinghong, the largest settlement in the area and one that straddles the Mekong, called the "Lancang River" in Chinese.This region of China is noted for its distinct culture, one unlike that of the Han Chinese. The people, architecture, language, and culture more closely resemble those of the Shan, Dai and Tai peoples, which includes the Thai and Lao.

Yunnan cuisine

Yunnan cuisine, alternatively known as Dian cuisine, is an amalgam of the cuisines of the Han Chinese and other ethnic minority groups in Yunnan Province in southwestern China. As the province with the largest number of ethnic minority groups, Yunnan cuisine is vastly varied, and it is difficult to make generalisations. Many Yunnan dishes are quite spicy, and mushrooms are featured prominently. Flowers, ferns, algae and insects may also be eaten. The cuisine of Yunnan is often compared to the cuisine of Southeast Asia as the province borders the region and many of the ethnic minorities or related cultural groups also have a presence in Southeast Asia.

Three of the province's most famous products are the renowned Pu'er tea, which was traditionally grown in Ning'er; as well as Xuanwei ham, which is often used to flavour stewed and braised foods in Chinese cuisine and for making the stocks and broths of many Chinese soups, and guoqiao (crossing the bridge), a rice noodle soup with chicken, pig's kidney and liver, fish and pickled pork.

Yunnan cuisine is unique in China for its cheeses like Rubing and Rushan cheese made by the Bai people. Other influences include Mongolian influence during the Yuan dynasty (ie. Central Asian settlement in Yunnan), and the proximity and influence of India and Tibet on Yunnan. Yunnan cuisine is gaining popularity in the west.

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