Xizhou pie: a must-try flavor in Dali prefecture

If you travel to Dali in west Yunnan, the Xizhou baba, a baked pie made of wheat flour, makes a must-try local snack. 

Yang Shunbao owns a Xizhou baba store in the Xizhou old town. In the morning, Yang has the flour fermented, makes a charcoal fire, and kneads the dough into pies. Then the salty pies are topped with chopped scallion, smashed meat and egg, while the sweet ones are filled with red bean and rose sauce.

In Yang's memory, people first used food coupons to get a pie. After that, the price for each Xizhou pie has gradually risen from a few cents, tens of cents, one yuan, to the current 10 yuan or 20 yuan. The price has changed again and again, yet the flavor remains unchanged.

"Yang and his wife are my last disciples," said Zhao Ruizhen, aged 73, who during a leisure walk came over to the store to taste the pie. Making the Xizhou baba/pie dates back to my ancestors in the Ming and Qing dynasties, and Im pleased to have passed the pie-making to a dozen of individuals.

For Xizhou locals, the pie is a homeland taste. For tourists, it is part of the culture in the ancient town.