I didn't know virtually anything about Yunnan before picking up ___'s cookbook but the cookbook made me absolutely fall in love with the region and now I am dying to visit!
The first recipe that I tried from the book was the Grandmas's Potatoes, a dish that I was totally unfamiliar with.
Yunnan Steam Pot
One of the most famous dishes from Yunnan is Steam Pot Chicken, which is prepared in a Yunnan steam pot, which is a clay pot designed with a funnel in the center of the pot that allows steam to cook the soup gently. If you don't want to invest in a steam pot, you can just use a regular pot but I love this gorgeous steam pot below that you can pick up online!
Yunnan is famous for it's dry cured ham and the most famous and celebrated ham comes from Xuanwei County, which borders on the Guizhou Province and is located to the south.
The pigs are fed on a diet of corn and the hams are shipped throughout China. The Chinese love the pricey ham, which has an intense flavor that is completely delicious! This aged ham tastes even better the older it ages.
The ham is featured in many recipes inside Cooking South of the Clouds, including: Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles, fried potatoes with garlic chives, fried rice, Lijian "baba filled flatbreads", and many more.
Where to buy Yunnan Ham
Yunnan ham is not available in the United States but they are some other hams that make worthy substitutes.
A good substitute for the ham is Spanish Jamon Serrano, but I also find that spam does the trick too!
Smithfield ham is also another option.
Cooking South of the Clouds also featuring a plethora of noodle dishes. Many of these dishes feature rice noodles, one of the most famous being Crossing the Bridge Rice Noodles.
Yunnan noodles are typically made with rice flour and are known in Chinese at mianxian. They are totally light and refreshing to eat.
Some other noodle recipes featured in the book include: Babao-style breakfast noodles, beef noodle soup, clay pot noodle soup, and more.
The cheese in Yunnan is commonly made by the Bai and Sani people, a minority group. It's a non-melting cheese that is firm and acid set and made from goat's milk. It's often served stir fried, roasted, and steamed, simply with just salt and chili. It can also be added to vegetable stir fries. It's a mild cheese that is fresh and delicious.