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Dai

The Dai ethnic minority mainly lives in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture of Yunnan Province in southwest China. With the development and change of their dietetic history, the Dais have developed their unique dietetic customs with rich staple food, non-staple food, and dishes, which feature diversification, sourness and piquancy, and appetite stimulation.

The Dai areas are famous for rice production, and paddy rice is the staple food. Rice is with all the three meals a day. All dishes and snacks are mostly sour. It is said that sour dishes help digest the Bais' daily food made of glutinous rice which is hard to digest

The daily meat comes from pigs, cattle, chicken and ducks. The Dais eat no or little mutton, while those living in the inlands are fond of dog meat. Balsam pear is the most productive and commonly consumed daily vegetable. Apart from it, there is a kind of bitter bamboo shoots in Xishuangbanna. Therefore, there is a bitter flavor in the Dai food.

The Dai areas are damp and hot, with a diversity of insects. Local dishes and snacks made of insects constitute an important part of the food of the Dai people. Cicadas, bamboo worms, spiders, field turtles and ant eggs are often seen on the dining table.

Wine drinking is an old habit of the Dai people. Wine is a necessity for feasts. The Dais are also fond of tobacco. They have two ways: one is to chew betelnuts filled with the tobacco powder; the other is to smoke tobacco with a tube. Almost every Dai male has a liking for tobacco.

Chewing betelnuts is the most common addiction of the Dais in different areas. Meanwhile they have another habit -- drinking tea, since tea is a local product of the Dai areas, and Xishuangbanna is the homeland of Pu'er Tea.

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