Shandong cuisine


Shandong cuisine

Shandong cuisine (zh-stp|s=|t=|p=Shāndōng cài) more commonly known as Lu cuisine (zh-stp|s=|t=|p=lǔcài) is one the Eight Culinary Traditions of China. It is derived from the native cooking styles of Shandong, an eastern coastal province of China. Shandong cuisine consists of two major styles:

*Jiaodong style: This style encompasses dishes from Fushan, Qingdao, Yantai and surrounding regions. It is characterized by seafood cooking, with light tastes.

*Jinan style: This style encompasses dishes from Jinan, dezhou, Tai'an and surrounding regions. It is famed for its soup and utilizing soups in its dishes.

Influence

Shandong cuisine is considered the most influential in Chinese cuisine, with majority of the culinary styles in China having developed from it. Modern day schools of cuisine in North China, such as those of Beijing, Tianjin, and Northeast, are all branches of Shandong Cuisine. Also, the typical dishes in most North China households' meals are prepared in simplified Shandong methods.Fact|date=November 2007

Ingredients

Though modern transportation methods have greatly increased the availability of ingredients throughout China, Shandong cuisine remains rooted in its ancient traditions. Most notable is the staggering array of seafood, including scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, and squid, all of which are well-known in Shandong as local ingredients of exemplary quality.

Beyond the use of seafood, Shandong is somewhat unique for its wide use of corn, a local cash crop that is not widely cultivated elsewhere. Unlike the sweet corn of North America, Shandong corn 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 peanut crops, 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 that hail 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, oat and barley can be found in the local diet, often eaten as porridge (Zhōu), 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.

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 not uncommon. The large, sweet cabbages grown in central Shandong are renowned for their delicate flavor and hardiness. As has been the case for generations, these cabbages are a staple of the winter diet throughout much of the province, and are featured in a great number of dishes.

Possibly Shandong's greatest contribution to Chinese cuisine has been in the area of brewing vinegars. 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 flavored, sharper vinegars popular in the southern regions, Shandong vinegar has a rich, complex flavor which, among some connisseurs, is considered fine enough to be enjoyed on its own merits.


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