BEIJING is an ancient capital, home to six dynasties over the ages, famous for both exquisite imperial court cuisine and various other popular delicacies. A large variety of diners have swarmed into the city from far and wide with their distinguished social status and good taste.
Delicacies of imperial cuisine on display.
In China, eight great culinary traditions enjoy a vaunted reputation, and Shandong cuisine, more commonly known as Lu cuisine, is one of them. In Beijing, Shandong cuisine remained highly popular among officials and ordinary people throughout history during different dynasties. Shandong, located half hemmed with the Bohai and Yellow seas, with abundant natural resources and convenient transportation, is the birthplace of many renowned people, thus giving rise to multiple famous delicacies. As a Chinese proverb says, “Those in subordinate positions will follow the example set by their superiors,” thereby the folk customs of civilians have been influenced by the prominent of society at that time.
Shandong cuisine gained popularity at the imperial kitchen. In the late Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it had already been introduced into the imperial diet and the chefs from Jiaozhou of Shandong were highly regarded. Later, throughout the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Shandong cuisine dominated the imperial dining table, famous for the eminent culinary skills and flavor. Another reason was that Shandong was not far away from the imperial court and the taste of Shandong cuisine was similar to that popular in northeast China which was the local cuisine that the emperors of the Qing Dynasty felt palatable.
Shandong cuisine is exquisitely prepared, healthy, and nutritious. The finest ingredients are selected, along with salt and soup used to enhance the flavor. Local scallions are used together with gingers and garlics. Palatable soup and various types of seafood are the prominent features of Shandong cuisine.
There are multiple classic recipes in Shandong cuisine.
Braised Intestines in Brown Sauce is one of them, which requires nine cooking steps and eight seasonings including fructus amomi, cardamom, red pepper, and aniseed. Prepared expertly, instead of over-powering the flavor, the condiments enhance and add texture to the mellow, sumptuous taste of the braised intestines.
Fried Carp with Sweet and Sour Sauce is another traditional dish of Shandong’s capital city Jinan. The city is situated north of the Yellow River where the carps are fresh and delicious. Fried carp with golden scales and a red tail is an exquisite, lovely dish on any banquet.
Dezhou Style Braised Chicken needs a half kilo tender chicken. Deep-fry the chicken till it turns golden, then add in mushroom, soy sauce, clove, and some uncommon spices including fructus amomi, fructus tsaoko, angelica dahurica, fennel, and maltose. The final dish is tender and rosy with an alluring aroma.