Kunming Food Guide: 10 Must-Eat Restaurants & Street Food Stalls in Kunming

December 16, 2017 Giuseppe Pratt

Kunming is the capital and largest city of Yunnan province in southwest China. Known as Yunnan-Fu until the 1920s, today it is a prefecture-level city and the political, economic, communications and cultural centre of the province as well as the seat of the provincial government. Kunming is also called the Spring city due to its weather. The headquarters of many of Yunnan's large businesses are in Kunming. It was important during World War II as a Chinese military center, American air base, and transport terminus for the Burma Road. Located in the middle of the Yunnan–Guizhou Plateau, Kunming is located at an altitude of 1,900 metres (6,234 feet) above sea level and at a latitude just north of the Tropic of Cancer. Kunming has as of 2014 a population of 6,626,000 with an urban population of 4,575,000, and is located at the northern edge of the large Lake Dian, surrounded by temples and lake-and-limestone hill landscapes.
Things to do in Kunming

1. QingNiao Western Restaurant (CuiHu Dian)

No.132 Cuihu South Road, Kunming, China Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Reservations, Seating Chinese, Asian, Thai Lunch, Dinner 0871-5315507
Excellent
34%
Good
47%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 38 reviews

QingNiao Western Restaurant (CuiHu Dian)

Great restaurant next door to the Grand Park Hotel

Reviewed By JZMGold - Minneapolis, Minnesota

The building is a throwback to French colonial style, and with a nice Terrace the place has a great ambiance. I went with a group of eight for lunch. The food came fast, and there seemed to be a fleet of servers there to help. We ordered a mix if Chinese and Western food, with the Chinese fare being the better of the two. This place would get full marks if the spaghetti had been a little less salty.

2. French Cafe (Wenlin Shop)

No.70 Wenlin Street, Kunming, China Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol French, Cafe, European Brunch, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner +86 871 6538 2391
Excellent
36%
Good
46%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
6%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 50 reviews

French Cafe (Wenlin Shop)

Reviewed By McNallister - Hanoi, Vietnam

You'd expect a place that bills itself as French to serve decent wine and some standard French dishes e.g. steak frites. But this seems to be yet another foreign-owned burger and pizza joint. (They do have at least one French dish to be fair - a croque-monsieur - which is a kind of upmarket toasty). The staff seem distracted and inattentive. The cafe gets quite smoky and doesn't have a no smoking area, despite being on two floors.

3. Salvador's Coffee House

Wenlin Jie, Wenhua Xiang #76, Kunming 650031, China Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Free Wifi, Outdoor Seating, Highchairs Available Italian, Healthy, Cafe, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Drinks, Late Night HK$24 - HK$63 +86 871 6536 3525
Excellent
53%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
15%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 236 reviews

Salvador's Coffee House

Salvador's Coffee House aims to provide a diverse selection of international cuisines made from fresh and healthy ingredients and is well known for homemade ice cream and local organic coffees.

Reviewed By Clare059 - surrey, uk

This restaurant is well worth seeking out. It is on Wenhua Alley about 30 seconds walk from the junction with Wenlin Street and has it's name clearly above the restaurant frontage.
There is some outside Seating and as a previous reviewer noted the portions are very generous. I had tuna melt pizza and my husband had a burrito. Both were delicious.

4. Dian Yue Tie Road Theme Restaurant —— HuoCheNanZhan 1910

8 Houxin Jie, Kunming, China Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff Chinese, Asian, Yunnan Lunch, Dinner 0871-3169486
Excellent
26%
Good
52%
Satisfactory
14%
Poor
4%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 41 reviews

Dian Yue Tie Road Theme Restaurant —— HuoCheNanZhan 1910

It's the old south railway station in Kunming - 火车南站 in Chinese

Reviewed By Arnaudur - Paris, France

One of the best place I've been in Kunming : the food is awesome, the menu is readable with pictures and English translation, the old train station is gorgeous... Don't hesitate to have a meal there !!!

5. The Wicker Basket Bakery Restaurant

3 Locations in Kunming to Serve You | See Webpage for Locations, Kunming, China Takeout, Seating, Waitstaff, Reservations, Outdoor Seating American, Cafe, International Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch HK$47 - HK$102 +86 871 6456 3819
Excellent
45%
Good
38%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 44 reviews

The Wicker Basket Bakery Restaurant

We are a family-friendly BAKERY RESTAURANT striving to provide affordable meals, baked goods,specialty coffees, beverages and foreign grocery products while providing employment and life skills training for people with disabilities and the under-privileged. We are known for giving GENEROUS PORTIONS and charging REASONABLE PRICES. Our evening SALAD BAR is a favorite - Saturday breakfast features ALL-YOU-CAN EAT PANCAKES AND A BOTTOMLESS CUP OF COFFEE. NO PRESERVATIVES are used in any of our baked goods. GROCERIES: We provide a modest assortment of Western grocery items for your convenience.We have 3 LOCATIONS in Kunming to serve you. (for maps to our three locations look for us on our website or Word Press Blog)

Reviewed By wildcrazygoats - Sydney, Australia

The owners & staff obviously take great pride in their work - the service is excellent , the food cooked and presented very well with fresh ingredients.
It is not high end dining but it is very good value for very good food
Their bakery products are especially good

6. HongDou Yuan (WenLin Jie)

No. 142 Wenlin Street, Kunming, China Waitstaff Chinese, Asian, Yunnan Lunch, Dinner 0871-5392020
Excellent
26%
Good
53%
Satisfactory
21%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 23 reviews

HongDou Yuan (WenLin Jie)

Reviewed By ZhongguoKM - Kunming, China

Excellent food, friendly and efficient service. This place is always a winner. I come here two or three times a year.
Yesterday, as always, I made a point of ordering one of their signature dishes: crispy fried red beans 酥红豆。They make several excellent variations; the ones I had were fried with bits of bitter leaf greens, 苦菜。This is Yunnan food at its best.
Also had a dish of 水煮肉, made with plenty of cabbage. The bits of meat had been marinated properly and were quite tender. They season such plates to suit the taste of chili-loving locals, so if you want less, you must remember to tell them.
Those two plus a bowl of steamed rice cost 50 Yuan. Enough for two people. I don't know if anyone there speaks English. It's possible, but I can't guarantee it. The menus have pictures, but are not bilingual. Diners were mostly Kunming locals, but I met some out of town Chinese as well.
I arrived at 5:30 just as they opened. By 6, the place was full and people were eating at small tables set up on the sidewalk. By 6:15 when I left, they were taking names on a waiting list. So, it's a popular place; always a good sign in China. They have been operating in the same spot for 15 years.
This is a "don't miss" eating experience if you are coming to Kunming.

7. O'Reilly's Irish Pub

Beichen Pedestrian Street B13, Kunming, China Takeout, Television, Serves Alcohol, Seating, Waitstaff, Full Bar, Free Wifi, Reservations, Outdoor Seating Irish, Bar, Pub, British Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks HK$39 - HK$196 +86 871 6561 5661
Excellent
50%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
4%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 44 reviews

O'Reilly's Irish Pub

Located within the up and coming Beichen pedestrian street precinct of Kunming City, O'Reilly's Irish Pub is the first Irish Pub in Southern China and the most authentic Irish Pub in all of China! Opened in Dec' 2011, O'Reilly's offers a taste of real Ireland in the heart of Yunnan province. Experience traditional Irish music or catch up on the latest sports and drown out the hustle and bustle of Kunming city life. As daylight fades the 'craic' begins! Settle in with a creamy pint of Guinness or one of our many beers, wines, and spirits. Our kitchen offers a variety of savory Irish dishes and modern day pub cuisine. Let the friendly staff at O'Reilly's Irish Pub make your day or night an occasion to remember. Come in, kick back. and discover the 'craic' that O'Reilly's Irish Pub is famous for! Open Monday to Friday from 4pm - 2am, open Saturday to Sunday from 10am - 2am.

Reviewed By patski83 - Kunming, China

The original Oreillys pub in Kunming and still my favourite. Good pub food and a great selection of draught beers. Atmosphere picks up on weekends and can play pool upstairs.

8. JianXinYuan (BaoShanJie)

No.195 Baoshan Street, Wuhua District, Kunming 650021, China Seating, Waitstaff Chinese, Asian, Yunnan Lunch, Brunch, Dinner 0871-3186320
Excellent
16%
Good
57%
Satisfactory
23%
Poor
4%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 42 reviews

JianXinYuan (BaoShanJie)

Reviewed By centrepa - USA

There exist Jianxianyuan branches across the city of Kunming. This location is the original and you will see locals (and tourists) alike lined up to get the original recipe. Most tourists will order the "Across the Bridge Noodles" (guoqiao mixian) which you should sit up stairs (hand your receipt to one of the wait staff up there). They will bring you a giant bowl of boiling hot broth, a platter of items and a bowl of cold rice noodles. Put the egg and raw meat in first then the rest of the platter. Adding the noodles last. There are various prices for this, but usually the "traditional" (18 kuai) or the next one up (25 yuan) is more than adequate.
If you trust your stomach I like the cold noodles which you should go to the outside window to collect. Alternatively, most locals will get some variation of the rice noodles. My favorite is "cuiwang" (crispy pieces of port skin, tofu, and meat). If it is hot outside add a cup of the cool papaya jello (mu gua shui).
Seating is first come first serve, so don't worry about plopping yourself down where ever you please. Enjoy!

9. Lost Garden Restaurant

Huanggong East Street, Wuhua District | 7 Yiqiutian, Kunming, China Seating, Waitstaff, Serves Alcohol, Wine and Beer, Free Wifi International, European, Vegetarian Friendly Breakfast, Lunch HK$24 - HK$110 +86 871 6511 1127
Excellent
50%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
0%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 31 reviews

Lost Garden Restaurant

Lost Garden Restaurant has been moved to Humdinger nearby. After the opening of our new brewpub restaurant a year ago, and more recently, a complete renovation and redesign of the common area of Lost Garden, the restaurant part of Lost Garden has been reduced to the breakfast for our guest. Our famous pizza area available at Humdinger. Stay tuned for more changes.

Reviewed By agathebluess - Melbourne, Australia

Convenient location in a calm laneway: you can easily walk to the birds market, the park etc Very nice and helpful staff despite all the (scary) disclaimers about what you can and can’t do in the guesthouse; what they can/can’t help you with and how much they charge for it. The room I was in (downstairs) had a lovely shower and nice decoration touch with wooden furniture and copper sink. But it is VERY dark as there is only 2 tiny windows and as it’s downstairs, sun doesn’t get there. Slightly expensive for what it is when travelling solo.

10. As you like.

5 Tianjundian Xiang, off Wenlin Jie, Kunming, China Seating, Waitstaff Pizza, Cafe, European, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Dinner +86 871 6541 1715
Excellent
60%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
0%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 25 reviews

As you like.

Reviewed By Diwen D - Kunming, China

The pizza is amazing real Italian hard to find something like this in Europe. Only 4 points because of the owners attitudes.spent a lot of money there but seems she doesn't care...She knows how to make pizza but not how to treat guests. Experienced it 3 times that's why I don't go there anymore. But the pizza respect...if you want to eat the best in KM go there...

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