Kunming is where my lovely sister, her husband, and their two-year-old daughter have lived for the last 7 years. If you ask any Chinese person they would tell you Kunming is one of the most beautiful cities of China. Around 6 million people live in this city, yet most Americans have never heard of it. With one of the mildest climates of China, this capital city of the Yunnan Province is known for its perpetual spring-like weather.
Located in the heart of the city is a beautiful park most commonly called Green Lake Park (pictured above). If you were to stroll around the park in the morning time you would most definitely find older folks getting their exercise, Chinese-style of course, young kids with their parents overlooking the ponds of enormous gold fish, and the occasional gathering of men enjoying a game of checkers.
While we were in Kunming, my sister took us to all of her favorite spots. We enjoyed tea ceremonies, local Chinese food, open markets, American-style milkshakes (some of the best I’ve ever had), and even great coffee. Because Americans and Europeans backpacking across Asia often stop in Kunming, there have been several Western restaurants and cafes open up over the years my sister has lived here. There is a great place called the Prague Cafe, serving up some of the thickest and most delicious French Toast as well as Egg Sandwiches on homemade english muffins. The coffee we enjoyed came from a place called, Chicago Coffee, owned by a ex-Chicago resident, who has a passion for producing perfectly roasted fare-trade coffee in China. And there is also a coffee shop/ice creamery, Salvador’s, where we enjoyed creamy ice cream shakes and a light lunch of salads and sandwiches.
American food aside, Kunming’s Chinese food was out-of-this-world amazing! Beginning with some hesitation on whether or not we would enjoy authentic Chinese food, we decided to leave all reservations behind (Anthony Bourdain style) and take the plunge to sample as much as we could while we where in China.
Our Favorite Chinese Dishes:
Fried Goat Cheese and Broccoli
Kung Pao Chicken
Stir Fried Zucchini
Sit Fried Lotus Root
Beef with Mint Sprigs
Sausage Stuffed Peppers
Walking around Kunming with our family, we suddenly forgot the foul smells and unfamiliar customs of the foreign culture and started to cherish this new exotic land. The people of China were endearing, caring, and the most hardworking folks I’ve ever seen. The streets were chaotic but somehow made you feel more alive (maybe this was the several near death experiences we encountered while crossing busy streets). And the food and culture were a spice to our souls, satisfying and invigorating.