Sakura Cafe: Great Korean food
A very good place to go whenever you are hungry, they also have good breakfast and great pies (apple and strawberry), everything at reasonable prices. The setting is beautiful, there are tables directly at a small canal (okay, this is not too difficult to find in Lijiang!) and the atmosphere inside is very comfortable.
They also have a wide variety of local, italian, western and korean dishes, and they are all good!
Favorite Dish: Our favourite dish was definitely the hot (in both ways) korean soup, don´t recall the name but think the other soups were served cold.
- Budget Travel
Don Papa: The best western restaurant
I’m glad that I found Don Papa in the Old Town of Lijiang. The food was so delicious. I wanted to try each dish from that restaurant, but I failed because I didn't have no enough time. And since I found it in Lijiang, I kept getting fatter.
It was not easy to find it. I would have missed it if they had not displayed colorful desserts at the entrance. Entering it was one of my best decisions during this trip. The owner spoke Chinese and French. So in the restaurant, the official languages were French, Chinese and English. I enjoyed all the dishes and decoration of that restaurant, and pleasant talk with other customers and the staff.
It’s one of the smallest and the best western restaurant (French) that I’ve found in China.
Favorite Dish: Shepherd Pie, onion soup, salad, icecream, pie, 12 kinds of pizza and omelets
Sakura Cafe: Be sure to try their Hot Pots
In my other tip (in "must-see's"), I mentioned that the food was yummy-- and it really is at Sakura. There's a full menu of local Naxi dishes, Japanese dishes, Korean dishes... and, for those needing a taste of the west, pizza, hamburgers, etc. We sampled lots and were pleased with every dish we tried. I'd recommend asking the staff about their favorites, or just look at the dishes people nearby have ordered. Everyone is friendly (we had one couple offering us a taste off their dish!), and the atmosphere is great. We loved the mix of world music they played-- just wish they'd make a CD!
Favorite Dish: We loved the hotpot (with a choice of meats and veggies). Nothing could have been nicer on a VERY cold wintery day! Also I remember the stir fried eggplant being particularly yummy. And if you have an appetite for pizza, look no further! It's better than any I've had in Hong Kong!
Food stands in the old market square: Dare to be different - breakfast al fresco
While fellow-travellers headed down to the main drag to fill their morning bellies with familiar comfort food, I headed off to watch the old market square coming to life. The locals were drinking tea from their own tea jars, and feeding on soup and dumplings bought, freshly-made, from traders on the market.
So I set off to find out where it was all coming from and to investigate the fare that was on offer. It was amazing! Soup (I passed on that for breakfast, although it is a staple for many Chinese at breakfast time), heaps of fried things that looked suspiciously like some former insect, various vegetable dishes... the variety was amazing, and stood in stark contrast to the stands that were opening around, and which were clearly catering for a tourist clientelle.
Favorite Dish: I opted for a savoury dumpling, the size of a large fist, that could have been filled, for all I know, with some of those insect-resembling dishes. I don't care. it was delicious and warming and filling... just the thing to be munching in the early morning sunshine while watching others hard at work.
It cost so little that they practically paid me to eat it: probably around 20 cents. Yummy!
I did relent and have a less-than traditional coffee in a bar on the square that enabled me to continue my surveillance of Naxi salespeople setting up their colourful stalls. A lucky move as it turned out, as I met there a really nice French woman, also on her own, with whom I went off cycling that day.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
Jiannan Chun Xiao Chi: Fried Meal Worms
Have you ever seen the movie - How to Eat Fried Worms? It's about a boy who settles a bet with his mates by digesting worms baked, juiced and of course, fried. Well, here's your chance to really try how fried worms taste like. GO to Lijiang Old Town. Pop into any Naxi Eatery. Order the worms and eat it. I bet you it'll be an anti-climax since it's crunchy but rather bland. It won't be too different from the pop corn shrimp they serve at Long John Silver's.
Review : High on ick factor but taste was blah.
Sakura Restaurant: Sakura Restaurant
Located in Lijiang Old Town, it turns a 2-storey anicent house into a breezy restaurant along a river stream that serve fantatic Korea and Japanese food. Few years ago, Kim Myung-ai of South Korea and her Chinese husband came to Lijiang as tourists. Attracted by the natural beauty of the city and the simple and honest people, they decided to set up a small coffee shop here. Today, the mom-and-pop operation has expanded to serve tea, all sorts of drinks, and Korean food. She has also obtained a marriage certificate and a residence permit from China and decided to settle with her husband in Lijiang permanently.
Favorite Dish: Dinner of Korean "Stone Bowl Rice" set, including soup and 3side dishes only cost 20Yuan. A great value for money!
Naxi Restaurant in Lijiang Old Town
Too bad I do not remember name of this restaurant. It is a Naxi Restaurant located in Xin Yi Street in Lijiang Old Town, along river side. Good food, good amosphere, and friendly staff wearing traditional Naxi costumes.
Favorite Dish: Fried bamboo.
Fried Yak Meat.
Jiannan Chun Xiao Chi: Fried Bee Larvae
Now, Hubby and I are big fans of Jerry Hopkins and since we've eaten the worst thing in the world (balut-preserved salted duck fetus), we've gained some of the super-hero immunity when it came to other disgusting stuff.
Steamed Silkworm ? I'll eat that ! Tequila with a Meal Worm? Let me chow it down! Fried Scorpion? Let me chew that sucker!
So when the Lijiang locals told me that they had bee larvae appetisers in a restaurant, I told them to bring it on. They did. The bee babies came deep fried with salt,pepper,msg and chilli powder. And from far, they looked like plump kernels of popcorn with large eyes. Only they tasted better. They were crisp, fatty and surprisingly, nutty-tasting. Hubby and I knocked each other chopsticks in an effort to grab the last larvae. I won.
Review: A distinctive, delicious taste. Some people say that the taste was redolent of honey but I didn't detect it at all.
The noodle stall next to the Naxi Music Academy: Across the Bridge Noodles or Kitchen Sink Noodles?
What: Across-the-bridge noodles (guoqiao mixian) is a Lijiang specialty but the name is seriously a misnomer. They should have called the dish "kitchen sink noodles" since you'll be presented a warm bowl of cooked rice noodles, a plate of RAW vegetables, RAW chicken, raw fish and basically the whole kitchen sink, etc.
How to eat this dish: Dump the raw ingredients into the hot soup and stir it around for a while. Wait for a while to exorcise the salmonella before gobbling up everything.
Where to eat this dish: You can try this at a little stall sandwiched in an alley between the Naxi Orchestra Hall and a souvenir shop or at Brother's Jiang.
Review: Despite the thin film of oil placed on top to retain the heat of the soup, the dish is healthy. And whatever is healthy usually doesn't tentalise the taste buds. Compared to the Hong Kong's Push Cart Noodles (crammed with every part of the pig that is beautifully braised), this dish is a bland alternative. Slurp on these warm noodles only if you're after a quick and cheap(RMB12) protein fix. It's much needed after an energy-draining day of sight-seeing and bashing other tourists in crowd-infested Lijiang Old Town.
Things to note:
1)Not suitable for vegetarians and weight conscious sods.
2)There is also a old wives' tale about how the noodles came to be. I'd rather not regurgitate the tale since it's told ad-nauseum by other Vters. I enclose a gratifying recipe instead.
Favorite Dish: Ingredients for Bridge Noodles:
9 oz (250 g) coarse rice noodle (hokkien:chor bee hoon)
1 oz (25 g) spinach
2 oz (50 g) boneless chicken breast
2 oz (50 g) fish fillet, skinned
2 oz (50 g) prawns, shelled
1/2 tsp rice wine
1/8 tsp fresh ginger, chopped
1/8 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce
6 cups (1,500 ml) reduced sodium and fat chicken broth
Blanch the spinach briefly in boiling water, drain, and set aside. Mix the rice wine, ginger and the soy sauce into a marinade. Slice the chicken, fish, and prawns paper-thin. Spread out on a serving platter and add the marinade. Let stand.
Heat a pot of water to boiling and add the noodles. Bring back to a boil and cook uncovered until they are soft, about 4 minutes for dried noodles and 2 minutes for fresh ones. Drain in a colander and lay the vegetable on top.
Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a saucepan.Bring to a fast boil for 1 minute. Transfer to a tureen and bring to the table with the platter of meats and the colander of noodles.
Pour the meat and noodles into the boiling hot broth. They will cook instantly. Stir and serve in individual bowls.
Rembrandt Cafe: Happy owner of Cafe
Near Stone Bridge, a wooden house stood beside a water way, lightened by red lanterns. It was Rembrandt Cafe. The first time I stopped at Rembrandt Cafe because I liked its name and location.
Three lovely girls worked there. One of them, Sasha, was the owner. She and her cafe have been in Lijiang Old Town for 6 years. I enjoyed talking with her, a happy, independent and intelligent woman. But the stars were two little doggies, you will see them in the pictures.
I liked the decoration and atmosphere of it, quiet, natural, simple and comfortable. And I liked the staff.
If you go to Rembrandt Cafe, I hope you enjoy your time there, delicious Italian food, maybe the girls can still remember me.
Favorite Dish: About food, I recommend pasta, mushroom pizza, XXX pizza( sorry, I forgot the name), Naxi fried rice.
Sunshine Bar & Restaurant
This bar have very modern and beautiful decorations, located near the entrance of Lijiang Old Town. Only thing I don't like is that they put all the liquor under the light-display, they were all warm when serve, making ice cubes melt quickly, diluted the taste.
Su He Old Town: Roasted Yunnan Ham
What : Silvers of wind-dried roasted Yunnan Ham.
Review: The crisp silver of fat and pork melted on my tougue and meld well with the plump rice grains.
Where to eat this : Su He Old Town, Lijiang, Yuanan
Name of Dish : Roasted Naxi Ham
Local Eatery: Steamed Meat Buns (Baozi)
What do the locals eat for breakfast in Lijiang? Baozi of course, a fluffy steamed bun filled with meat, vegetables or bean paste. You can find these buns in pratically any eatery in town, coddled in huge bamboo/stainless steel steamers. Since these little things are a paltry 0.80RMB each, you can try all the varieties if you're a greedy sod.
Here's the more common varieties found in Liijiang:
1)Rou Bao - Pork Bun
2)Xiang Gu Bao - Mushroom Bun
3)Cai Bao - Vegetable Bun
4)Dou Sha Bao - Red Bean Bun
5)Tu Dou Bao - Potato Bun
5)Xiao Long Bao - A mini-me version of the pork bun. It's supposed to be filled with broth but the ones found in Yunnan are dry.
An eatery in Su He Old Town: Food Outside of Lijiang Old Town
There's no doubt about it, the food taste a lot better when it's served outside of the touristy Lijiang Old Town. If you can, take a day trip to the nearby old villages of Su He or Baisha and dine in any of the eateries there. The food will cost a fraction of the prices in Lijiang Old Town and the taste will be a lot closer to the original Naxi recipe.
Favorite Dish: Local deep fried mullet ( Naxi Fried Fish ) coated with tangy black beans, garlic and chilli oil. Though the dish looks awful, the fish flesh was fresh and succulent under its crispy coat. No wonder since we saw the cook washing the fish in the stream outside of the restaurant just a couple of minutes before cooking it!
Prague Cafe: We went there 4 times! Or was it 5?
So why did we end up going there that many times? Well becaues it's centrally located, it's got good coffee, nice ambiance and yummy but cheap burgers ;-) Local food in Lijiang are a bit greasy so it's easy to just go for Western food that are relatively safe. We stumbled upon Prague Cafe on our first night for coffee and dessert and we found ourselves going back and back again ;-) It's always frequented by Western tourists and Chinese young people alike. They either just hang around there or watch DVD's on the 2nd floor.
Favorite Dish: Chicken Burger, Blueberry Smoothie, Cappuccino
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