As you`ve already noticed, every week we`re focusing on the basics of the eight Chinese cuisines, so this week we decided to take a look at Shandong cuisine (山東菜). And we`re bringing you along!
Shandong cuisine, more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine, is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions of Chinese cuisine and one of the Four Great Traditions (四大菜系). It is derived from the native cooking style of Shandong Province, a northern coastal province of China.
Shandong was one of the first civilized regions in China and an early cultural center, so its cooking tradition set the style for the regions around it, especially to the north in Beijing and northeastern China. Shandong Province has a long coast, so fresh river fish and seafood were always the local delicacies. Also it is widely known for the vegetable dishes and their style of frying in high heat that locks in the flavors and isn’t oily.
The 5 main flavours of Shandong Cuisine are fishy, salty, tender, light and crispy.
Read the staples of what makes the Sandong Cuisine unique bellow:
- Spice: Shandong people like spices in the onion family such as green onions and garlic. Ginger is also commonly used along with a little red pepper. But spice is less heavily applied than in Sichuan cuisine. It is meant to accentuate the flavor of the food, not overpower it.
- Condiments and other seasonings: Vinegar is heavily used and so is lots of salt. The province is known for its fine dark connoisseur kinds of vinegar that some people drink as a medicinal drink. Soy sauce is also used.
- Daily staples: The area lies along the border between the temperate north and the semitropical south, so both wheat and other temperate grains and rice are available and are daily cereals. Wheat noodles, steamed wheat bread and steamed pastries are commonly eaten and is the staple in many meals. Porridge made from oats, millet, and/or barley are also eaten. White rice is regularly eaten, and corn on the cob or fried corn is common. Their meals are sort of a combination between hearty and heavier northern Chinese regional food and light southern Chinese regional food.
- Common vegetables: Peanuts, soybean products, also tomatoes, potatoes, mushrooms, onions, eggplant, seaweed, and especially cabbage.
- The Chef’s goal: unlike other Chinese styles such as Sichuan style where the cook buries the food in a lot of spices and oil, the main aim of an authentic Shandong style chef is to preserve the cut, color, and taste of the main ingredients. So relatively little spice or sugar is used generally and the bao stir fry method is used often.
Ordering an authentic Shandong dish shouldn`t be hard. The classic dishes include braised sea cucumber with onion, cartilage stewed with onions, and meat stewed with onions. Roast meats are also served with onions. The onions are first deep – fat fried before the dishes are quick – fried, stir – fried, stewed, or sauted so they absorb the onion flavor. People in Shandong also like foods made of wheat flour, such as steamed buns, baked buns, pancakes, crisp cakes, and big cakes stuffed with minced meats. If you want a completely authentic Shandong dish, you should order from Parkside Restaurant Chinese menu. Check out our Traditional Chinese menu here…
If you want to experience a taste that has that “Shandong vibe”, choose dishes similar to the ones we named above. Either way, try and let us know what you thought about it!