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Shandong Cuisine


Shandong Cuisine and the Cuisine Culture of North China

North China seems to be inferior when it comes to the eating culture, compared with south China where almost each province has developed its own distinctive cuisine style. However, just as the Yellow River valley is often deemed the cradle of the Chinese nation, the cuisine traditions of the area have a unique position in China’s food culture, too.

Shandong cuisine represents the most prevailing food styles in north China. Most modern schools of cuisine in north China, such as those of Beijing, Tianjin, and the Three Northeastern Provinces, are all branches of Shandong cuisine. The dishes served when you visit a northern Chinese household are most likely prepared in simplified Shandong cuisine methods.

Characteristics of Shandong Cuisine

Shandong cuisine is rooted in its ancient traditions. A large peninsular province, Shandong is rich in produce both from agriculture and from the sea. Though with ups and downs, the province managed to remain consistently among China’s most prosperous regions in terms of economy over history. Nowadays, it is still China’s most important vegetable production bases. Shandong cuisine boasts a wide selection of raw materials: vegetables, seafood, domestic animals and birds. The array of seafood is impressive: scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, squid, etc. Staple vegetables in Shandong diet include potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, mushrooms, onions, garlic and eggplants. There are two sub-branches within Shandong cuisine: Jinan and Jiaodong styles. The former is named after the capital of the province, representing the part of Shandong cuisine culture based on the agricultural produce of inland area, while the latter, named after the Jiaodong Peninsular, has greater emphasis on seafood.

People from south China often speak of Shandong cuisine dishes as “heavy and strong” in flavor and aroma. The use of onions (or garlic and ginger) as a seasoning – onions deep-fat fried before other materials are cooked - is a distinguishing feature of Shandong cuisine. Hot fire is often used in stirring and frying. The dishes are mainly clear, fresh and fatty, cooked by such methods as quick-frying (爆 bao), quick-frying with corn flour (熘 liu), roasting (烤), boiling (煮), etc.
Garlic, onion, and ginger are widely used in Shandong cuisine.Shandong cuisine dishes are often cooked over a hot fire.

Garlic, onion, and ginger are widely used in Shandong cuisine.

Shandong cuisine dishes are often cooked over a hot fire.

People in north China enjoy the reputation of being generous, hospitable, and straightforward in personality. And Shandong cuisine culture, as their representative diet, bears traits of such a character. A guest from Zhejiang (southeast China) could not help marveling at the very quantity of food served in each single dish. The ingredients are also shredded into pieces larger than those in a dish of southern style. Extravagance and dinning etiquette are stressed at a formal banquet, especially at a “Confucius Mansion Banquet”.

Representative Dishes of Shandong Cuisine

A real taste is in the eating. Take the chance where possible to know what Shandong is really like.
Sweet and Sour Carp, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese CuisineDezhou Stewed Chicken, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese Cuisine

Sweet and Sour Carp

Dezhou Stewed Chicken

Fried Pork Joint, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese CuisineChicken Stewed with Chestnut, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese Cuisine

Fried Pork Joint

Chicken Stewed with Chestnut

Earthen Jar Pork, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese CuisineRed Braised King Prawns, Shandong cuisine, Four Styles of Chinese Cuisine

Earthen Jar Pork

Red Braised King Prawns


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