First, the goat's milk is boiled. After removing it from the heat, a souring agent is added so the milk curdles. The souring agent, known as naiteng, is made from a cultivated vine. Then the milk curdle is heated to speed up the process of division into white curds and yellow whey.
The curds, which look and taste like cottage cheese, can be eaten as a treat by adding sugar.
The curds are scooped up and poured into a cloth which is then tightly pressed to squeeze out the whey. Then the cube of cheese is pressed between two rectangular pieces of wood for several hours to remove the liquid, leaving rubing looking like tofu and ready to eat. It can be enjoyed directly with sugar or spiced salt, or deep-fried as a snack.
Today, rushan and rubing are not only eaten by the Bai people. One can find dishes made of the two cheeses in restaurants that serve Yunnan cuisine.
Home to vast grasslands, Inner Mongolia is also famous for beef, lamb and dairy products. When guests arrive at a herdsman's home, which is usually a Mongolian yurt, they are greeted by an array of milk skin, milk cakes, cheese and milk tea.
Mongolians traditionally make cheese using cow's milk and occasionally substitute it with sheep's milk. A local staple is aaruul, a dried and often sweetened variety that often takes the shapes of small worms or square cubes.
To make aaruul, the milk is curdled and the curds wrapped in fine cloth to let as much liquid as possible drip out.
They are then pressed into the shape of a cake using two wooden boards weighted down with stones. The solid cheese is then cut into smaller pieces and arranged on wooden boards to dry in the sun, a process that usually takes place on the roof of the yurt.
The dried cheese can be preserved ceremony for a long time because as much moisture as possible has been removed. One can simply chew the aaruul as a snack, which tastes sweet and sour like yogurt. The cheese is a necessity for nomads because it provides rich nutrients.
Packaged aaruul snacks can be found in supermarkets or purchased online, with fruity flavors also available.
Byaslag is another mild, unripened Mongolian cheese that takes the shape of square cakes.
It's made by boiling the milk and adding a small amount of kefir so the milk curdles before the liquid is drained and the curds pressed between wooden boards. The byaslag can be eaten directly, soaked in tea or served with soup.
In the Tibet Autonomous Region where dairy is a main component of the local cuisine, one can find the unique yak cheese that's quite hard to chew. It's made of skimmed yak milk, a leftover from making yak butter, which is heated to 50 to 60 degrees Celsius before adding yogurt. After removing the whey, the curds are then dried to make the hard-textured cheese.
The Tibetan people like to put yak cheese in yak butter tea, eat it as a snack or enjoy it with zanba, a staple made of roasted barley flour. On the cold, high-altitude plateau, yak cheese could replenish energy and provide protein.
Tibetan butter tea is a local specialty that blends butter made from cow's, yak's or goat's milk, which is similar to Western butter with very strong tea. The butter can also be used to make breads and cakes.