Kunming Famous Foods
Kunming can be compared with a western city. Maybe even comparable with a big French city when you know how much English is spoken, or understood. With a Lonely Planet you can manage a lot, but if the ones you have to deal with aren’t willing and refuse to cooperate, the same Lonely Planet is of very little use.
In new cities, it is advisable to eat some of the local food to get a bit better idea about the culture, lifestyle and so on. The famous food of Kunming is‘crossing the bridge noodles’. This meal was a kind of hotpot. A pot hanging in the middle of a round table in a hole, heated from underneath the table. The pot was divided in two parts, with on either side different ingredients. The table was full with small plates full of meat, veggies and other things to add to the pot. After throwing in those small dishes it boils pretty fast and ready to serve into the small bowls of each person.
A visit to the market is another thing to do to get an idea about what the people buy and eat. Unimaginable from western perspective what you see being sold there. The most strange animals, birds, insects, etc. Of course the four or five chicken feet on a stick are available too, as in more Asian countries. You will also find fried pink sized cockroaches, five on a stick. There is little to none that a Chinese doesn’t eat.
China is no longer a poor people country. It’s actually very commercialized. Everywhere there are restaurants of KFC and fashion stores with dancing employees in front of it on the sidewalks, who tried to lure in potential customers. The times they are a changing is what Bob Dylan sung a long time ago. It definitely counts for China. The things which do seem behind, are their banks. The ATM’s often refuse to give money, even though showing the correct signs like Maestro and Cirrus. So, to make sure you won’t get into trouble, bring traveler Cheques or cash with you.
Special thing to do
Another interesting thing to do, different from the normal sightseeing, is visiting a football/soccer match. I have to say that you do need a bit of luck with getting yourself a ticket as nobody speaks English and all sign boards are in Chinese characters. It can be very hard to find the place where they sell tickets. I walked to a counter inside the stadium on a midweek morning and asked for a ticket, which they of course didn’t understand. Chinese have a different way of finger counting than in the west, so that doesn’t make anything clear either. Even acting as if you kick a ball and running around cheering doesn’t make sense to them.
My best advice is to look for anyone wearing a suit and therefore looks educated, which increases the chance of speaking English. Plenty of people walk on the parking area whole day. That was how I managed to get help and a ticket. In my case it was a lady who even came on matchday to the stadium to bring me to my seat. The football club of Kunming has been changing name several times over the last 16 years or so, but what’s in a name. You go for the atmosphere, the cheering and singing, maybe even for the match itself.
I can tell you that it was one of my most special experience in Kunming. Something which you can do all over China too. Most things looked as in a European stadium except for the army, who were standing on the track around, every twenty meters one, staring with their guns at the crowd. Don’t be surprised when the Chinese supporters noticing you in the middle of them and you become the center point of attention. It happened to me. I got a shirt of their club. They were singing songs and they gave me the drum to make the beat. How special a day can be, away from the normal sightseeing places.
The match was of a low level, but everything around it made it more than worth. All in all Kunming wasn’t an attractive city to travel, but you can make it special yourself by visiting strange places and events and for more Kunming sightseeing, you can look here https://www.exotravel.com/daytrips/china/kunming-city-tour/