A ten minute walk from the LINDEN CENTRE through the streets of Xizhou, brings you to the LINDEN COMMONS: Yan’s house. This iconic mansion was built in 1928, and opened for guests in 2018 after being lovingly restored by the LINDEN CENTRE’s owners, Brian and Jeanee Linden.
The hotel and grounds are nearly double the size of the LINDEN CENTRE, and are perfect for large groups and retreats. With 14 rooms decorated with traditional Bai-style antiques, the hotel also features dining areas, a gorgeous cafe/bar, conference facilities, a library, gym & yoga room, massage area, boutique gallery and last but not least, a cooking school complete with flower and vegetable gardens.
COOKING CLASS at the LINDEN COMMONS
After a walk through the bustling morning market of Xizhou to buy ingredients, a small group of us got to spend the morning in the cooking kitchen at the Commons, preparing two traditional Chinese dishes.
Since I’ve just published my debut cookbook, LUNCH BOUQUETS featuring fun lunch ideas that can be prepared in 10 minutes or less, I was excited to experience the flavors of Yunnan in a hands-on fashion.
The Cooking School at the Commons is bright and airy, with large windows overlooking the gardens. When we arrived, we were offered tea, which I sipped while I admired the cooking stations, each set up with the spices we would need for our dishes.
We started by learning how to properly hold the cleaving knife, and how to intentionally cut our fresh veggies and ingredients. Our instructor made us aware that preparing the vegetables properly is an investment into the success of the dish. This made a lot of sense once we got to our wok stations where the cooking happens quickly.
We made two traditional dishes, Numbing-Spice Tofu and Sauteed Yunnan Rice Cake . Our instructor showed us how to make a delicious Sizzling Cucumber Salad too.
After our lesson, we were offered flowers so we could garnish our dishes and take photos of our creations. I was really happy with how my dishes turned out, although my Numbing-Spice Tofu was a little too dark because I added 3/4 of a spoonful of dark soy, instead of a half-spoonful. Next time I’ll be more mindful when I pour!
After taking pictures, we got to sample all of our dishes for lunch. Every bite was DELICIOUS! I definitely plan to try these recipes again at home! Here they are in case you’re interested in giving them a try, too.
HELLO FRIEND! I’m JENNA ERICKSON
Founder & Lead Travel Ambassador for OPEN AIR PLACES.
Experiencing a day exploring the colors and flavors of Yunnan at the LINDEN COMMONS Cooking School was such a great experience! I will be posting booking details for this unique place to stay in Xizhou very soon.
Until then, you can see the highlights of my journey along the Ancient Tea & Horse Road by checking out my Instagram at @openairplaces or you can