Shandong cuisine often tends to be forgotten when it comes to Chinese food even though it is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of China. In this issue, we will take a look at the different styles and some of the delectable dishes served in our sister city, Shandong.
Shandong cuisine can be divided into two different styles； Jiaodong and Jinan. The Jiaodong peninsula is known for its rich seafood because of its coastal location. Jiaodong cuisine uses light seasonings to avoid overpowering the taste of the seafood itself. Unlike Jiaodong, the Jinan style comes from a mountainous area rich with vegetables and fruits. It is known for its tasty soups which they use also to prepare other dishes.
Unlike most parts of China, Shandong uses corn and a wide variety of small grains in their dishes. Corn in Shandong has a chewy texture and used often served boiled or steamed. Grains such as millet, wheat, oats, and barley are used for breads or porridge. Another characteristic of Shandong cuisine is that steamed breads is more common than rice. Other ingredients often used in Shandong cuisine include clams, sea cucumbers, scallops, shrimp, squid, sweet cabbage, eggplant, peanuts, and vinegar. The vinegar brewed in Shandong is very unique； very rich and dark unlike the lighter vinegars from the other regions.
Lastly, I will leave you with some tempting Shandong dishes: Braised carp in sweet and sour sauce, sea cucumbers with green onions, boiled dumplings, vegetable/meat buns, Shandong pancakes…doesn’t it all sound delicious?