Food & Cuisine in Lijiang

Lijiang is a region blessed with a diverse range of natural resources and agricultural products, in part due to its advantageous geographical position and its perpetually mild climate. The unique Naxi cuisine was developed over many generations using these rich local ingredients.  Their dishes are a must try during your visit to Lijiang.

Find yummy authentic Naxi snacks on the streets of Lijiang city.

In our Lijiang Restaurant Guide below you will find information about the mouth-watering array of food and cuisine in Lijiang, as well as some restaurant tips for great dine out options; just what the doctor ordered after a long day of sightseeing and shopping. See our China restaurant guide for general food ideas during your holiday in China.

Food & Cuisine in Lijiang

Drinks

Cafes and restaurants in Lijiang and other area of China are allowed to remain open only till 11pm. So when in Lijiang remember to finish your dinner by that time. While in Kunming or Dali you may come across Western style bars - there are no such outlets in Lijiang. Local drinks are available and you may like the taste of Sulima and Lijiang Yinjiu. These drinks are the modernised version of the beer that the Mosuo and Naxi people have relished for a long time. A Chinese version of lager is also available but most tourists find it bland and prefer the local drinks.

When you are dining in Lijiang you should try Chinese tea as Yunnan is well known for its tea. Pu Her (a place that grows a premium tea of the same name) is some distance away down south on the way to Xishuanbanna. Almost all the shops here serve Chinese tea replete with all traditions. You will find this tea very different from what you get in a Western Chinatown.

For a drink you can head to 'bar street', where you will find a narrow canal with bars lined up on both sides. You will find groups of girls singing on both sides, with each group trying to outdo the other. Small handouts are expected from bar patrons as support for the singing groups.

If you really miss a Western style bar you can head straight for the heart of the Old Town where you will find the 'Sexy Tractor' and an Irish run bar. In the new town you can satiate your thirst at ‘Frosty Mornings', one of the larger Western bars.

Eating

Hunger can be appeased in Lijiang in a Naxi restaurant or at a Tibetan or Sichuan one. Western food is also served at some restaurants but is relatively more expensive. You can also find multi-cuisine restaurants in Lijiang.

If it is authentic Naxi cuisine that you want to sample, then you should try some of the tasty snacks that can be bought from street stalls. Do try Jidou Liangfen, a local favourite which is plain old chick peas transformed into a jelly-like dish. You should also have Baba, which is made from the ubiquitous potato - fried and seasoned. For dessert try Bingfenliangxiao or end your meal with butter tea. Distinguished visitors are treated to a formal Naxi banquet known as Sandieshui. This banquet has an array of around 39 dishes, with all the local specialities making an appearance.

With the number of visitors from abroad increasing steadily, several Western and Chinese restaurants have cropped up in Lijiang. In fact a few of the restaurants have been opened by people who visited Lijiang and saw opportunity in the restaurant trade. Tourist experiences can be swapped and valuable tips can be picked up here. Square Street in Lijiang is a major tourist attraction and also a great place for sampling local snacks. Snacks from the Yunnan province can also be sampled here. The famous Cross-bridge Rice Noodle is available at Square Street. Several Western style restaurants have made an appearance in Lijiang, with more of them in the Old Town. All types of eating places from steakhouses to star-rated hotels can be found here.

Bars

Gaily decorated bars can be spotted in several locations in Lijiang. Xinhua Street, over the tranquil waters of the Old Town, boasts of several local bars. Come night and a congregation of people can be seen on this street, regaling each other with stories and enjoying the fascinating night scene. Quite a few of the bars are operated by Westerners who came to visit but stayed on, charmed by the place. Most of the bars are wooden structures rising to just about two storeys. In a nutshell, the nightlife in Lijiang is varied and enthralling.