This isn't a story about trekking, it's a story about food. Confused? Let me explain...
Once upon a time in a land far far away called Yunnan, there lived a brilliant man who worked and studied all day long. To endure his privacy he worked on a small island. Every day his wife would bring him lunch. She would walk down the hill, through the rice fields, around the bend, and over the bridge (to the island). Unfortunately by the time she arrived her husband's meal was cold. One upon a time there were no microwaves, so the wife (who was also brilliant) invented "Across the Bridge Noodles".
She added a thin layer of very hot oil to her steaming noodle broth. In separate baskets she placed cold cooked noodles, egg, ham, sliced cooked duck, and vegetables. The layer of oil kept the noodle broth hot during her long journey. When she arrived at the bridge, she placed the ham, egg yolk, duck, and cold noodles into the steaming broth. The hot oil, and steaming broth cooked the meat and veggies to perfection and the husband never had to endure a cold lunch again.
To really experience this land far far away, one must partake of "Across the Bridge Noodles", and the best place is Jiang Brothers Restaurnat in Kunming. I didn't have a clue what to do so I just wandered into the restaurant. The place was chaotic, they even had a security guard directing traffic. I joined one of the cashier lines, and waited my turn. I quickly remembered that there is no such thing as a line up in China, and pushed my way to the front. All I knew was you pay at the window, and get a ticket. So I looked at the menu (6 types of Across the Bridge noodles), and ordered. I recognized dish was 10 yuan, so I gave the cashier a 10 yuan note, and held up 1 finger to indicate 1 meal. She gave me a ticket and pointed me in the direction of a dining room. Here's where my confusion started - most of the other diners (all Chinese, I was the only Westerner in the place) were taking their tickets to the self-serve window. I looked again and she pointed me to the same dining room. So off I wandered. This room was even crazier then the self-serve section. Dozens of waiters running around, dishes clanging, people yelling. I stood there dazed for a few minutes, and then boldly grabbed a waitress for assistance. I quickly found out (thanks to the help of an English-speaking waitress) that you sit wherever there is a seat, hand over your ticket, and wait for your lunch.
Splat!!! A bowl of cold noodles dropped in front of me - followed shortly by 1 large plate, 2 small plates and 3 small bowls, all filled with stuff. I didn't recognize all the stuff, but it included: small egg yolk (pigeon?) Yunnan ham, cold sliced cooked duck, another type of ham, intestines (this is a guess), cashews, pickled something, spring onions, bamboo shoots, and thinly sliced chicken. Just as I was considering what I had gotten myself into - a giant (and I mean giant) bowl of steaming broth complete with thin layer of hot oil arrived. I followed the lead of my fellow diners, and dropped the contents of my plates and bowls into the giant bowl (minus the intestines, and pickled somethings)
THE RESULT: The best dam noodles I have ever had!
As it turned out my 10 yuan ($1.20 CDN) meal was expensive (self-serve was 5 yuan) because it included entertainment in the private dining room - Yunnan folk dancing and singing.