Monday, Oct. 13, 2008

5. Dali Courtyard Restaurant

Recharge from shopping in Nanluoguxiang at nearby Dali Courtyard Restaurant, a beautifully restored, laid-back place — it's not gussied up to a fake plastic sheen — that specializes in the food of the southern province of Yunnan. Influenced by the dishes of its Southeast Asian neighbors, Burma and Vietnam, Yunnan cuisine is light and sophisticated, and makes good use of the region's abundant mushrooms and unusual herbs. There is no menu at Dali. Diners enjoy price-fixed courses between US $15 and $40, made from whatever the chef found freshest in the market that day. The place is a little tricky to find. Your taxi will drop you at the mouth of the alley; walk straight down about 150 yards and look to your left for a red lantern down an even smaller alley.