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International friends have a taste of Shandong cuisine in Jinan

2021/6/16 13:44:00

Recently, “Touch Shandong” column invited seven international friends, who come from Thailand, Nigeria, Uganda and Yemen, to Mizhiyuan Restaurant near Mizhi Spring in Jinan to have a taste of the authentic local dishes, and learn the cookery and culture of Shandong cuisine (also known as Lu cuisine as Lu is the abbreviation for Shandong province).

Yan Hetian, senior catering professional manager, senior technician, and national judge of Chinese food, welcomed the international guests and introduced to them the history and characteristics of Shandong cuisine. According to Yan, Shandong cuisine is the first of the four (or eight) traditional Chinese cuisines, originating in the Spring and Autumn Period over 2000 years ago. It is the cuisine with the longest history, the richest techniques and skills, and the most emphasis on the cook’s training. It is a representative of Northern Chinese cuisines and had profound influence on Imperial cuisine greatly in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Representative dishes of Shandong cuisine include sweet and sour carp, braised intestines in brown sauce, cattail milk soup, etc.

Sweet and sour carp is today's main dish. The chef of Mizhiyuan Restaurant performed knife skills for the guests, cutting slits evenly on the belly and back of the carp so that it can be fried in paste and sugar and vinegar sauce. The international friends were greatly amazed by the chef's neat skills. Under the hand-by-hand guidance of Yan, they tried cutting potatoes into shreds, the very basic training of knife skills.

It was launch time after everyone had experienced cutting vegetables. Yan introduced the ingredients, cooking methods and cultural allusions of Shandong dishes as they were served on table one after another. Yan told the international guests that the head and tail of the carp were high up, meaning “Carp jumps over the Dragon Gate (to transform into a dragon)” as it goes in Chinese mythology, and thus conveying Chinese people’s best wishes for success. The international friends were greatly intrigued by the rich allusion contained in the dish, as well as by its good taste.

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