As most of its residents are Tibetans, Diqing offers a wealthy of Tibetan-style specialties. Restaurants can be easily found in Shangri-La County. Shangri-La is a place where you can try Tibetan yak butter tea, tsampa and barley wine.
Yak Butter Tea (酥油茶) and Tsampa (糌粑)
Yak is the main livestock of Tibetans in Diqing. Yak milk can be made into milk cheese and yak meat cooked into very delicious dishes. Yak Butter Tea serves as an essential beverage to entertain guests, which contains high calories and keeps people warm. Tsampa (Roasted barley flour) is often made of yak butter and is the staple food of families.
Barley Wine (青稞酒)
Made from barley, Qingke Barley Wine is one of beverages for local Tibetans to entertain guests. It has a history of over one thousand years. When drinking the barley wine in a Tibetan family, you’d better flick the bowl for three times with you thumb and middle finger and at the same time, say ''zha xi de le'' (good luck).
Lute Pork (琵琶肉)
This dish is a traditional Tibetan cured meat. Viscera and bones of a pig are discarded and the main body is retained and topped with seasonings such as Sichuan pepper, amomum tsao-ko and salt. And then the belly is sutured with pig snout being stuffed with a corncob or stick to protect the body from worms. Because its shape resembles a Chinese lute, hence the name Lute Pork. The dish will surely make your eyes water with tangy aroma and lucent color. The cured pork can be preserved for two to three years.
Every year during June, July and August, a wild mushroom-matsutake will grow wildly in Diqing, which was once popular in Japan and Southeast Asia. Fresh matsutakes are fried with green peppers, amazingly tasty and refreshing.