The dining options gathered on Xiaohe Zhijie are great in both quantity and quality. Based solely on crowd draw, the jewel in this street’s culinary crown would have to be Yun Shui Yao. Hey, you want Yunnan food where else you gonna go? Well, you could beat the maddening crowds and still score some top Yunnan fan by heading canal-side to Yunnan Pot (滇锅 – dian guo). We think you’ll be glad you did.
Yunnan Pot inhabits a grey brick house with fantastic outdoor seating, and while not a speck of English is to be found on the menu (there are some pictures), the pleasing atmosphere lends itself to an adventuresome esprit. Our meal started, as meals are wont to do, with appetizers. The Yunnan Spring Rolls (云南手工春卷, 32RMB) were crispy and wonderful. The Cold Tofu Skin with Spices (凉拌千张, 8RMB) and the Egg Pancake with Chinese Toona (香椿煎蛋, 28RMB) were simply delicious cold and hot starter options. The main dishes were also largely impressive. The Beef Hot Pot (寻甸大酥牛肉火锅, 98RMB) contains delicious slow-cooked beef, potatoes, and radish, and they’ll add some noodles at the end. The Lemongrass BBQ Fish (香茅草烤鱼, 58RMB) was enjoyed and devoured by all. The Fried Shrimp with Tea Tree Mushroom (茶树菇煸大虾, 136RMB) is not so cheap, but that’s what you pay if you want to taste this special mushroom from Yunnan. The next dish, Copper Pot Steamed Rice (铜锅焖饭, 58RMB) was spectacular. Essentially it’s a baked rice dish with potato and crispy bacon bits. This dish actually got better as we reached the bottom of the pot with all the crispy browned rice. We washed it all down with Homemade Dark Plum Juice (滇锅自制酸梅汁, 16RMB/jar), that was sweet, sour and refreshing.
They also serve Fried Matsutake (炒松茸, 158RMB); a treasured mushroom air freighted in fresh from Lijiang. In fact, any item on the menu marked with an airplane means it was shipped fresh from Yunnan. We were not brave enough to try the other specialties like Stir Fried Pupa (蜂蛹, 88RMB), and Bamboo Worms (竹虫, 58RMB), but if you dare, they’ll oblige, and those things are supposed to be full of protein. Overall, we were pleased with the fare and the fee, but were really taken by the ambience. Parking is available on the street.