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
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
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.