Lijiang's cellared liquor is made by adding distiller's yeast and local spring water to highland barley, wheat and barley, the mix of which is then cellared for years. It is transparent, amber-colored and fragrant. It is honored as a provincial banquet drink and was served to British Queen Elizabeth during her trip to Yunnan.
Duolijibu (Dried Crabapple):
Crabapples are called duoli in Lijiang. The local breed is round in shape and somewhat larger than a grape. The skin is red and meaty. It blooms in March, and ripens in August. The dried ones taste sweet and sour, and have some medicinal effects, such as a diuretic, reducing thirst and strengthening the stomach. In the folk medicine of the local Naxi ethnic group, the dried crabapples are the main ingredient in prescriptions for urinary diseases. In the harvest season, almost every household in Lijiang dries crabapples in the sun. The dried fruit can be bought in Lijiang all year round.
The main ingredients are wheat flour, ham and edible oil. The cakes are either sweet or salty and taste sharp and crisp. They can be kept for several days. Local people often carry them while traveling, or send them to friends as a local specialty. It is, indeed, a local specialty because only local water and wheat can produce a wonderful taste, they say.
This is a traditional food of the Naxi people. When butchering a pig for the New Year, almost every Naxi household will make it. Rice is mixed with pig's blood and various spices, and is then stuffed into the pig's intestine. It is cut into slices and then deep-fried or steamed. It nourishes the blood and vital energy in the body.
In Lijiang, bean jelly, made from beans of a local breed, can be eaten either hot or cold. In summer it is very refreshing to have a bowl of cold bean jelly seasoned with red pepper, pepper, scallion and vinegar. In winter people like to have it hot, and visitors can often see on the street stoves made out of oil drums on which bean jelly is being grilled. A bowl of hot bean jelly is just what your stomach needs on a chilly day.
This type of tea grows on snowy mountains, hence the name. The tealeaves are white, and look like they have been processed. The tea has a refreshing fragrance and a sweet aftertaste. It helps reduce inner heat, enrich the saliva and stabilizes the blood pressure. Tourists can try a cup of hot Snow Tea (using 2-4 grams of tealeaves) or mix other tea leaves with it to alleviate fatigue.
Lijiang ginseng grows on the sunny and temperate banks of the Jinsha River. Studies show that it contains various medicinal elements. It has great tonic value, and is good for those who suffer from cardiovascular, stomach, and liver diseases, or diabetes. It also helps fight cancer.
When you visit a local family in the area of beautiful Lugu Lake, the host will present you with a bowl of sulima made by the local Mosuo and Pumi people. This fragrant alcoholic drink is orange-colored and of low proof. It is also nutritious.
If you have a chance to visit a Mosuo family, you will surely be treated to pig's fat preserved and made in a special local way. It is nutritious and tastes neither fatty nor greasy. It can keep for a long time. Besides treating guests with it, the Mosuo and Pumi people also send it as a gift.
Salted sour Fish:
This is a traditional food of the Mosuo and Naxi people to treat guests and send as gifts. Though the taste varies from home to home, one thing is common: fish from Lugu Lake weighing 250 grams are used. Whenever a fisherman catches such a fish, he will place it in a special wooden basin and bring it home. The housewife will clean the fish quickly and put the still struggling fish in an earthen jar, and season it with salt, pepper and cooking wine. When the jar is filled, it will be sealed and kept in a cool place. After about 10 days, the jar will be unsealed. The salted fish can then be eaten cooked or raw.