Shandong cuisine

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Braised spare ribs with gluten (simplified Chinese: 面筋红烧排骨; traditional Chinese: 麵筋紅燒排骨; pinyin: miànjīn hóngshāo páigǔ)

Shandong cuisine (simplified Chinese: 山东; traditional Chinese: 山東; pinyin: Shāndōng cài), more commonly known in Chinese as Lu cuisine (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ; pinyin: lǔ cài), is one of the Eight Culinary Traditions () of Chinese cuisine and is also ranked among the Four Great Traditions (). It is derived from the native cooking styles of Shandong, a northern coastal province of China.


Shandong cuisine consists of 2 styles:

  • Jiaodong style, encompassing dishes from eastern Shandong like Fushan, Qingdao, Yantai and surrounding regions. It is characterised as seafood dishes with light tastes.
  • Jinan style, comprising dishes from Jinan, Dezhou, Tai'an and surrounding regions. One of its features is the use of soup in its dishes.[1]


Although less available in overseas Chinese restaurants, which are usually operated by migrants from southern China[citation needed], Shandong cuisine is considered one of the most influential and even the foundational school in Chinese cuisine,[2] with the majority of the culinary styles in China having developed from it. Modern cuisines in Northern China - Beijing, Tianjin and the northeastern regions - are all branches of Shandong cuisine. In addition, typical dishes in most Northern Chinese households' meals are prepared using simplified Shandong methods.[3]

During the Spring and Autumn Period(770-221BC),when Shandong was a territory of Qi and Lu. Both states were economically and culturally developed, and had mountains and fertile plains. They had abundant aquatic products and grains as well as sea salt. Some of the first descriptions of Chinese culinary methods come from these two states. Yi Ya, who was a retainer of Duke Huan of Qi, was renowned for his culinary skill. Confucius, who was born in Lu, is said in the Analects to have mentioned that "One should not indulge overly in fine flour, or in kuai (a dish akin to carpaccio) that is sliced too thinly"; about food, he also recommends that people "do not consume food which looks spoiled, smells spoiled, is out of season, is improperly butchered, or is not made with its proper seasoning", showing that a certain level of refinement in food preparation methods was already present in Shandong at the time.

Shandong cuisine as it is known today was created during the Yuan Dynasty. It gradually spread to north China, Beijing, Tianjin, northeast China, and the emperor's palace where it influenced imperial food. Shandong cuisine comprises mainly eastern Shandong and Jinan dishes.


Although modern transport has greatly increased the availability of ingredients throughout China, Shandong cuisine remains rooted in its ancient traditions. Most notable is the array of seafood, including scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, and squid.


Beyond the use of seafood, Shandong is somewhat unique for its wide use of maize, a local cash crop that is not widely cultivated in northern China. Unlike the sweetcorn of North America, Shandong maize is chewy and starchy, often with a grassy aroma. It is often served simply as steamed or boiled cobs, or removed from the cob and lightly fried.


Shandong is also well known for its crops of peanuts, which are fragrant and naturally sweet. It is common at meals in Shandong, both formal and casual, to see large platters of peanuts, either roasted in the shell, or shelled and stir-fried with salt. Peanuts are also served raw in a number of cold dishes from the region.


Shandong is also distinct from most of China's other culinary traditions in its wide use of a variety of small grains. Millet, wheat, oats and barley can be found in the local diet, often eaten as congee, or milled and cooked into one of the many varieties of steamed and fried breads eaten in Shandong. More so than anywhere else in China, Shandong people are known for their tendency to eat steamed breads rather than rice as the staple food in a meal.

Staple vegetables[edit]

Despite its rich agricultural output, Shandong has not traditionally used the wide variety of vegetables seen in many southern styles of Chinese cooking. Potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, mushrooms, onions, garlic and eggplants make up the staple vegetables in the Shandong diet. Grassy greens, sea grasses, and bell peppers are also common. The large, sweet cabbages grown in central Shandong are renowned for their delicate flavor and hardiness. These cabbages are a staple of the winter diet throughout much of the province, and are featured in a great number of dishes.


Possibly the greatest contribution of Shandong to Chinese cuisine has been in brewing vinegar. Hundreds of years of experience combined with unique local methods have led to Shandong's prominence as one of the premier regions for vinegar production in China. Unlike the lighter flavoured, sharper vinegars popular in the southern regions, Shandong vinegar has a rich, complex flavor which, among some connoisseurs, is considered fine enough to be enjoyed on its own.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Shandong Cuisine". Retrieved 2015-02-25. 
  3. ^ "Shandong Cuisine". Retrieved 2015-02-25.