Lu cuisine, also referred to as Shangdong cuisine, is one of China's Four Major Styles of Cooking featuring freshness of materials and salt flavor. It is derived from the traditional and historical cooking methods of Shandong, an East China’s coastal province. Lu cuisine is considered the most influential and popular in China. Modern day schools of cuisine in North China, such as those of Beijing, Tianjin, and Northeast, are all branches of Shandong cuisine.
The history of Lu cuisine can date back to Qin Dynasty (221 BC to 207 BC), when salt was used for seasoning in Shandong. The history book has recorded the eating of lumpfish and carp in the Yellow River in ancient times. Today Yellow River Carp Prepared with Sugar and Vinegar is still among the best dishes of Lu Cuisine, which shows how long a history Lu Cuisine has. Through generations of refinement, Lu Cuisine developed into a representative cuisine in the north. During the periods of Yuan, Ming, and Qing dynasties, Lu cuisine becomes the most prevalent distinct regional cuisine in China, popular through out Beijing, Tianjin and Northeast China.
Seafood is the most notable ingredient of Lu Cuisine as Shandong is a costal province, including scallops, prawns, clams, sea cucumbers, and squid, which are all local ingredients of exemplary quality. Besides seafood, corn, peanuts, grains such as small grains, millet, wheat, oat and barley, and staple vegetables of Shandong province including potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, mushrooms, onions, garlic and eggplants.
Category and representative dishes
Lu cuisine consists of Jinan cuisine and Jiaodong cuisine. Though the two cuisines have the same geographical position and belong to the category of "Lu cuisine", they have their own characteristics.
Jinan cuisine selects materials extensively. The dishes with thick color are particular about being bold and unconstrained. Moreover, it is characterized by using soup and utilizing soups in its dishes. The use and making of clear soup, milky soup and superior soup all have strict stipulations. The famous dishes of Jinan include Wu Ren Stuffed Bun (bun stuffed with walnut, peanut, ginkgo, melon seed and sesame) and Yellow River Carp Prepared with Sugar and Vinegar.
Jiaodong cuisine, which includes dishes in Qingdao, Yantai and Weihai, is characterized by seafood cooking, with light tastes. The cooking method of Jiaodong cuisine is particular about freshness, liveliness and insipidity though its flavor gives priority to tenderness. Some famous snacks include stir-fried clam, frozen vegetables with green-bean starch noodles and Chinese fried dumplings.