Lu(鲁) Cuisine – One of The Eight Chinese Regional Cuisines
Lu Cuisine, also called Shandong Cuisine, is originated from the native cooking styles of the State Qi and State Lu of the Spring and Autumn Period and Warring State Period (770 B.C.-221 B.C.) Developed through the Qin and Han Dynasties (221 B.C.-220 A.D.), it has become the representative of the Northern Food since the Song Dynasty (960 A.D. -1279 A.D.). It is the most prevalent distinct regional cuisine in China, popular throughout Beijing, Tianjin, all over North and Northeast China. Most People agree that Lu Cuisine ranks the first among the eight regional cuisines.
Lu Cuisine consists of three major styles, namely, the coastal Jiaodong style (mainly seafood), the inland Jinan style, and the self-contained style of Confucian Residence Cuisine. The Jiaodong style favors prawns, conch, abalone, oyster, kelp and other seafood as the raw materials and employs quick frying, grilling deep-frying, steaming, liu (frying and braising lightly) and other cooking methods. It tastes fresh and light. Jinan style is known for the soup. Cooked with the quick-frying, braising, deep-frying and pan-frying techniques, the dishes taste light, fresh, crisp and tender. Well-known dishes include Qingtang Shijin (assorted Vegetable Soup) and typha latifolia vegetable milky broth, which are fresh and tasty. Confucian Residence Cuisine is deluxe delicacy blending in different styles and featuring in rare ingredients. In ancient times, the Confucian Residence Feast could further divide into different levels like Bird’s Nest Feast. Four Shark Fin Dishes and Three Sea Cucumber Dishes.
Lu Cuisine tends to be salt flavored, fresh, tender, savory and crispy. The chefs are good at applying shallots, garlic and ginger to add the flavor in whatever cooking techniques used, being it quick frying, braising, dressing or marinating. As Shandong is the major producer of scallion, it is widely used in dishes like Congshao Haishen (braised sea cucumber with scallion) and Congshao Tijin (braised tendons with scallion), all featured with strong scallion flavor.
Lu Cuisine is unique in its way of cooking seafood. With numerous cutting and cooking techniques, it can turn one kind of seafood into a dozen of delicious dishes. Take, for example, quick-fried kidney and squid, red-cooked conch, and fried oyster, they are all special delicacy.
Lu Cuisine is particular about making soup, good at making consomme and milky broth and applying them in all kinds of dishes, such as sea cucumber in consomme and ” family fortune delight ” in broth, which are all delicacy in high-ranked feasts.
Guota Huangyu (Collapsed Yellow Croaker)
Made with fresh fish. According to legend, in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), a clever woman cook put half-fried yellow croakers into the pot with onions, ginger, garlic, star anise and broth, and simmered until the sauce is thickened. It turned out that the result tasted much better than the original fried fish. When the crispy fried food is steamed and gets softened. Jiaodong people call it ta (collapsed). Thus, the dish got the name Guota Huangyu (collapsed yellow croaker).
Braised Pork Balls in Gravg Sance
Braised Pork Balls in Gravg Sance, also known as the big meatballs and Sixi Yuanzi, refers to four large deep-fried and steamed meatballs covered with sauce. According to legend, it got the name from Zhang Jiuling, a statesman in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to celebrate four joyful matters-his success in the imperial examination, being courted as the husband of the princess, getting married and starting a family, and reunions with the big family. In northern China, Braised Pork Balls in Gravg Sance is a must in the wedding ceremony, or the celebration of the birthday of the elderly, symbolizing happiness and family reunion.