Well after getting on for 4 months in South East Asia I've finally made it in to China. As we're trying to do the whole trip overland the first port of call after leaving Laos was Yunnan, China's southwestern most province and also it' most ethnically diverse, having almost 50% of the population represented by non-Han minorities.
One of these minorities is the Dai people and with their food being heavily represented on Jinghong's menus we had to have a dabble. Alas I don't know the real names of the dishes but we ordered Dai style fried noodles, Dai style lemon chicken and Dai style braised aubergine.
Whilst the aubergine was unfamiliar (tomato, chili and just cooked onion were the main flavours) the noodles and chicken were very familiar.
The flat wide rice noodles were very Pad Thai like, as was the ground peanuts and lime on the side.
The lemon chicken, made with mince and flavoured heavily with mint and lemon, was like a larb, just served hot rather than room temp.
Even with the blaring similarities and the somewhat similar names it took me a while to realise that the Dai of China's Yunnan aren't too far removed from the Thai folk, which makes sense really when they're only a couple of hundred miles apart.
So one meal down in China but I've still not quite made it out of South East Asia, good to see some diversity in the Chinese cuisine though.