Houston Asian Restaurant Guide > Chinese Food Articles > Chinese Cuisines > Shandong Cuisine
As an important component of Chinese culinary art, Shandong cuisine, also known as Lu Cai for short, boasts a long history and far-reaching impact. Shandong cuisine can be traced back to the Spring and Autumn Period (770-221BC). It was quickly developed in the South and North Dynasty (960-1279), and was recognized as an important style of cooking in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Shangdong cuisine is representative of northern China's cooking and its technique has been widely absorbed in northeast China.
Shandong is a large peninsula surrounded by the sea, with the Yellow River meandering through the center. As a result, seafood is a major component of Shandong cuisine. Shandong's most famous dish is the sweet and sour carp. A truly authentic sweet and sour carp must come from the Yellow River.
Shangdong cuisine is famous for its wide selection of material and use of different cooking methods. The raw materials are mainly domestic animals and birds, seafood and vegetables. The masterly cooking techniques include Bao (quick frying), Liu (quick frying with corn flour), Pa (stewing), roasting, boiling, using sugar to make fruit, crystallizing with honey.
Condiments such as sauce paste, fistulous onion and garlic are freely used, so Shangdong dishes usually taste pungent. Soups are given much emphasis in Shangdong dishes. Clear soup (or thin soup) features clear and fresh while milk soup (or creamy soup) looks thick and tastes strong, both of which are often choicely made to add freshness to the dishes. The dishes are mainly clear, fresh and fatty, perfect with Shandong's own famous beer, Qingdao (Tsingtao) Beer.
In addition to sweet and sour carp, typical courses in Shandong cuisine include braised abalone with shells, fried sea cucumber with fistulous onion, fragrant calamus in milk soup, quick-fried double fats (a very traditional Shandong dish consisting of pork tripe and chicken gizzards), and Dezhou stewed chicken. Dezhou stewed chicken is known throughout the country; the chicken is so well cooked that the meat easily separates from the bone although the shape of the chicken is preserved.