Lisa and Georgie's Food Review: Dali

So we spent three days in Dali! And we definitely have eaten our way around the ancient town….

To give you an idea of what we mean by our ratings:

0 out of 10 – we will never eat again

5 out of 10 – average snack that we’d eat if it was the lesser of two evils

8 out of 10 – really good and delicious

10 out of 10 – “I’m just going to go ahead and buy five, that’s not crazy right?”


味道 – flavour

小吃 – it’s quality as a snack, is it a snack we’d have again?

外貌 – aesthetics (appearance)

菜 – it’s quality as a dish, would we have it for dinner again?

鸡肉凉米线 – jirouliangmixian

This is a cold chicken noodles dish. Georgie: vinegar and toasted sesame, cold but good noodles, added maybe a bit too much spice but still tasty. Not much chicken or veg in relation to noodles

Lisa: the noodles are cooked to perfection because they still have a bite to them without being overcooked or too tough. This means they are good for slurping (this is how Chinese people eat them!). The noodles were served with a cold sesame vinegar broth with chicken. It was a refreshing dish for a super hot day. For taste, all the ingredients were yummy. However the sauce could’ve had less vinegar and be less sweet.

8 out of 10 菜

Lisa: 8 out of 10 味道

Georgie: 5 out of 10 味道

7 out of ten 外貌

李记酱香饼 – liji jiangxiangbing

We’ve had a lot of meat and vegetable pancakes/flatbread back at Nottingham Ningbo campus but none compare to this. It was amazing. The dough was unexpectedly moist and flavoursome. The chef used a chilli, onion, garlic mix to coat the bread. It wasn’t very oily at all, soft and light. It was a great snack because it was filling enough to keep you going between lunch and dinner. Georgie hoovered the whole thing, barely giving Lisa a chance to taste. And we would happily eat it again!

8 out of 10 小吃

9 out of 10 味道

9 out of 10 外貌

盒子 – hezi

We found this hard to describe. Essentially, it is a piece of round dough, filled with a mixture, folded over and put in a toastie machine. A bit like a huge dumpling? Anyway..

猪肉盒子(pork): the mixture was delicious, a little salty but moist to balance out the flavours. It was crisp on the outside and soft in the middle to create a good texture.

茴香盒子(tofu): the flavours were simple but combined well despite the strong fennel flavour. Nice texture, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. As we ate more and more it became quite salty which overbalanced the flavour. It could have done with more complex flavours to make it as tasty as the pork.

粉条盒子(noodles): it was well seasoned, the  spicy saucy noodles inside tasted great as a filling. The soft rice noodles contrasted well with the pastry, however this one had gone a bit chewy as it had been sitting on the shelf for a few minutes already.

Overall, a great snack or for some, having two of them could make a yummy lunch.

8 out of 10 小吃

Pork: 8 out of 10 味道

Tofu: 6 out of 10 味道

Noodles: 7 out of 10 味道

9 out of 10 外貌

漾濞卷粉 – yangbi juanfen

This is a Yangbi county rice noodle roll. Lisa is going to review this as Georgie found it waaaay too spicy..!!

Over to you Lisa: It is made with thin rice noodle sheets filled with a spicy sauce and pickled vegetables rolled inside. It made for a great snack because it was finger food so easy to eat as we walked around the old town. It has a nice kick to it with a sour and chewy texture due to the vegetables. But because there were only two ingredients the flavours were simple. It could have been improved with more herbs or another element to create a more complex flavour. All in all, quite yum!

7 out of 10 小吃

6 out of 10 味道

6 out of 10 外貌

饵块粑粑 – erquaibaba

Once again, we’re having another baba. This time it’s a little different because it is made from rice rather than bread dough. It was also made into a wrap. The use of a different dough meant that the texture was like a rice cake texture and flavour. Inside the chef added a spicy sauce, hoisin sauce, shredded potato, beansprouts and some minced pork. It was optional to add fried dough sticks and a sausage but Lisa chose not to. There was lots of spice and flavour, however the rice cake made it too heavy and overpowered the flavour of the filling. Perhaps if she had added the other two ingredients, it could have been more balanced however the sausage is normally sweet.. Nevertheless the filling was very tasty. It would have been perfect if it had been served in a thinner wrap rather than the rice cake. As Lisa didn’t know which flavour was better, she asked for a bit of both sweet and spicy. This created an interesting mix… Georgie instantly noticed the hoisin then the spice and found the mix quite odd. It was as if it wants to be three flavours at once which didn’t bode well with her tastebuds. This doesn’t mean that it wasn’t tasty though!

6 out of 10 小吃

Lisa: 6 out of 10 味道

Georgie: 4 out of 10 味道

5 out of 10 外貌

烤乳扇 – kaorushan

Firstly, this snack looks like a fried piece of really thin dough or a crispy flatbread. Let us tell you now: it is neither. It is Yaks cheese. The lady who sold it to us was so sweet, smiling and showing us an article that was written about her and her cheese sticks ten years ago. So we just had to get one despite not believing that it was cheese before we tried it. She also advertised the sauce to be chocolate which she lathered on one and put some sugar and peanuts on the second … At the mention of chocolate I knew I couldn’t refuse only to find that I made a grave mistake. It was the weirdest thing we have ever eaten. The cheese texture is crunchy and the flavour is mostly sour, then sweet and salty. We can’t even begin to describe the “chocolate” sauce – all we can say is that it’s a brown sweet grainy sauce. The likely contender for what it could be is brown sugar paste. The sugar and peanuts are self explanatory. Somehow, we ate the whole thing. I turned to Lisa as I finished it: “what I don’t get is that despite it being the oddest thing I’ve ever eaten, please tell my why I am still eating it!?” She just laughed and couldn’t think of a good answer either. Let’s just say that we avoided it from then on. Overall it’s not the best snack as it is neither satisfying or enjoyable to eat! Trust me, our smile in the selfie is innocent happiness before we endeavoured to eat it…

2 out of 10 小吃

0 out of 10 味道

2 out of 10 外貌

𤆵肉饵丝 - Dali
𤆵肉饵丝 – Dali

𤆵肉饵丝 – barouersi

This is a noodle soup dish that is local to Dali. The noodles are cooked separately to the rest of the ingredients of which are cooked by the boiling hot soup. The ingredients are a mix of pickled vegetables with 2 types of shredded pork and coriander. It smells of spice but is nice on the nose. Lisa loved the rice cake noodles (er si) as it was sliced thinly so as not to be too heavy while the rice cake has a naturally chewy texture. And Lisa just loves thick noodles anyway. One type of shredded pork was nice and salty, while the other was marinated in some sort of soy sauce. Soup had a good level of coriander and salty flavour. Overall, very enjoyable to eat!

8 out of 10 菜

9 out or 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

喜洲破酥粑粑 – xizhouposubaba

This is another variety of flatbread made in a small village outside of Dali. There are three different flavours: sweet, egg or pork. Georgie chose pork because shes normally finds meat to be the most flavoursome. It was thick, salty and dense. This isn’t necessarily a negative but did mean that having one by yourself is a bit too much. However the flavours are balanced and it is delicious. There is a higher dough to other ingredients ratio which makes it quite heavy on the stomach. One amusing thing about buying these is that the locals entice you in by shouting “pizza”. Mate, that is not a pizza, do not get a laowai’s hopes up!

6 out of 10 小吃

6 out of 10 味道

7 out of 10 外貌

酸梅汤西米露– suanmeitang ximilu (juice)

This is a juice made from sweet sour plums some plus shaved ice and it is so so refreshing for being in 30 degree heat. It had small pieces of sago/tapioca pudding and green beans add texture to the drink/dessert and green raisins add bursts of sweetness. Best eaten with a spoon but because of the scorching heat mine became a slushy consistency. But still loved it!

8 out of 10 小吃

8 out of 10 味道

9 out of 10 外貌

And that’s Dali folks!