we’re still on the outskirts of kunming – on the way to dali. and we encounter slightly better food here – pretty delicious, but the best thing really is the view.
there’s a beautiful naturalness to everything – the water, the mountains – it’s enough to make a poet out of you. and if au naturel ain’t all it’s cut out to be, then here also I encountered possibly the most beautiful temple I’ve seen (like, we’re talking MOST BEAUTIFUL EVER SEEN).
our driver stopped us off at this restaurant in the old town of Dali – the apricot flower village restaurant. it was a pretty nice-looking restaurant full of locals and tourists alike, with a large, open courtyard and nice looking wooden furnishings.
we pretty much gave up on navigating the menu – we may understand (a tad of) mandarin, but it wasn’t enough to comprehend what our waitress was saying – and I think the miscommunication definitely went both ways.
but we got lucky – a plate of vegetables reminiscent of morning glory arrived sauteed in garlic, chicken cubes were fatty but fried with wok hei, and a pot of soup chock-full of tofu and tender fish.
post-lunch, we headed for a cruise down the er’hai lake, where panoramic views awaited us.
n.b. have you seen such beautiful flowers out a spring onion before?
as did exotic foods like these tiny prawns:
and a pokey plant with fruit almost purpose-built for throwing at a lucky bell in the middle of a pond.
that’s right, do a double-take and get a closer look.
the boat does dock, so you have a bit of time to walk about and buy a small cup of greasy fried prawns – if you so desire.
and if not, the cruise comes with a lovely indigenous Bai dance (Bai being one of the yunnanese tribes) and a three-course tea-tasting (which they offer to sell to you subsequent to the performance, of course).
but I want to talk to you about the congsheng temple – which has to be the best temple I’ve seen. it’s majestic, well-kept, fantastically beautifully-colored, and just plain amazing.
we were pretty much awestruck.
it doesn’t even need words.
after that, we took a long drive back to dali’s historical city, and ate possibly the best pizza in our lives at goodfellas. superlatives – but there was something utterly delicious about the pizza.
it was heavy on the cheese, with a good mix of ingredients for seasoning, and the crust was light without being ephemeral or insubstantial.
so good. get the salad (which comes beautifully colourful and piled high) to cut the richness of the pizzas, and a plate of fries for filler (if famished, just as we were).
just in case:
- apricot flower village restaurant: 杏花村饭店 at 大理市 玉洱路165号(近玉洱公园), tel 0872-2670087
- the er’hai lake: 洱海湖
- congshen temple and its three pagodas: 崇圣寺三塔
- goodfellas pizza: No.20 Renmin Road, Dali 671003, tel 0872-2501920
more in this series of series-es:
- kunming city, china
- kunming outskirts, china
- kunming to dali, china (you’re here!)
- lijiang sights, china
- lijiang eats, china
- lijiang to shangri-la, china
- shangri-la, china
- kunming eats, china
p.s. I’ll be adding details to the trip posts as I remember them – so check back if you’re planning your own!