Seafood tickles taste buds

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2011, 12:00am


The Lu cuisine tradition of Shandong emphasises seafood, steamed bread and a rich variety of vinegars. Lu cuisine is divided into two basic schools, Jiaodong and Jinan. As a coastal city, Qingdao belongs to the Jiaodong school.

In Qingdao, and the Jiaodong school, seafood is king. Options range from open-air markets, where you can steam, grill or deep-fry fresh seafood and have a pint from a beer stand, to incredibly formal upscale restaurants with dozens of intricate options and an aquarium full of live seafood to help with your choice. Excellent local dishes include sizzling clams on an iron plate with vegetables or scrambled eggs, deep-fried sea snails that resemble eggplant, and sweet and sour fish that comes deep-fried, steamed or grilled.

Taishan Road is a popular open-air market with beer stands where you can find seafood snacks and kebabs. The draft beer here is always chilled and mixes perfectly with the slightly spiced whole fish skewers, seafood noodles or clam soup.

Established restaurants such as Chunhe Lou and Bei Da Huang serve classic Chinese dishes and Qingdao seafood. The variety of seafood - massive elephant clams, dozens of lobster and shrimp varieties, deep-sea fish, prawns and scallops - plus the innovative, clever cooking style will appeal even to those who are not particularly fond of seafood.

Qingdao is also well known for northern-style beef and lamb barbecue and noodle dishes, most of which can be found on streets where the seafood grills and beer stands operate.

Most restaurants in Shandong province have bread, corn, millet or steamed buns instead of rice, although rice is readily available and generally of a higher quality than southern rice.