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A taste of China / Food & Drink

Shandong cuisine, an original taste of China

By Zhiyu Wang

December 22

Shandong cuisine has had a huge influence on food in northern China, and now it’s ready to have a huge influence on your mouth.

Shandong cuisine has had a huge influence on food in northern China, and now it’s ready to have a huge influence on your mouth.

Shandong was a seat of civilization in ancient China and an early cultural center. Its cuisine, one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China, developed a style that would be adopted by neighboring regions, especially in the north.

1. Sweet and Sour Carp

Sweet and Sour Carp
Sweet and Sour Carp [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Hongzhang]
As a coastal region, Shandong makes use of seafood for many dishes, including its most famous: Sweet and Sour Carp. Authentic Sweet and Sour Carp uses fish from the Yellow River and be cooked with sugar and vinegar.

Tasting guide: Shun He Business Hotel Chinese Restaurant  in Jinan serves Shandong style dishes and is known for its Sweet and Sour Carp.

2. Braised Intestines in Brown Sauce

Braised Intestines in Brown Sauce [Image Credit: www.sdchina.com/Sun Qiaoqiao]
This dish got its Chinese name “Jiu Zhuan Da Chang” for its precise cooking procedures. Pig intestines, the main ingredient of this dish, are boiled, fried, then seasoned with more than 10 ingredients including cinnamon and black pepper. As one of the most famous dishes of traditional Shangdong cuisine, this dish is popular for its rich taste and special seasonings. You can taste sweet, spicy, salty and sour all in the first bite.

Tasting guide: Ju Feng De Restaurant in Jinan.

3. Sautéed Sea Cucumber with Scallions

Sautéed Sea Cucumber with Scallions [Image Credit: www.jiaodong.net]
Sea cucumbers contain 18 kinds of amino acids which can enhance metabolic function and increase energy. Most sea cucumbers used for this dish are from Qingdao. Scallions are the main seasoning ingredient used to ease the fishy smell of sea cucumbers. This dish tastes mild and is famous for its nutritive value.

Tasting guide: Liang You Restaurant in Qingdao serves this time-honored dish and other seafood.

4. Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables

Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Hongzhang]
People have traditionally made preserved vegetables, called Meicai in Chinese, in their homes during winter. The pork is braised for a few hours and preserved vegetables are added. It goes well with steamed buns.

Tasting guide: Braised Pork with Preserved Vegetables is one of the top dishes in Kong Shan Restaurant in Jinan.

5. Cold Lotus Root

Cold Lotus Root [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/Wang Hongzhang]
Even though Shandong Cuisine is characterized by frying, there are some cold dishes you should try as well. Lotus roots are picked and prepared while fresh, with some salt and sesame oil added. This dish is better as a side-plate than on its own.

Tasting guide:Some small restaurants like Dong Jia Restaurant in Jinan serve this dish best.

6. Braised Eggplant

Braised Eggplant
Braised Eggplant [Image Credit: VCG]
Shandong’s climate is great for growing eggplants, making them a regional staple. In this dish, they are chopped, fried and seasoned with salt and sugar. While it might sound easy, eggplants require precise timing during cooking, so it makes sense to try this dish at a good restaurant.

Tasting guide: A lot of small restaurants serve this dish, but we recommend Ju Feng De in Jinan.

7. Notoginseng Salad

Notoginseng Salad [Image Credit: VCG]
Notoginseng Salad combines traditional Chinese herbs with fresh vegetables, and is said to be good for your health. Notoginseng is an herb used by Chinese to ease tooth pain and skin ailments.

Tasting guide: Kong Shan Restaurant in Jinan is the best place to try this dish.

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