Qingdao is an open, modern international city in China that offers a sense of youthfulness and is built around the country’s open door policy. Known for its world-famous brewery and Beer Street, this dynamic and stylish port town is a great place to visit.
The old part of the city has a distinctive German influence, with long rows of buildings reminiscent of Germany’s early 20th century architecture. It’s also home to a variety of restaurants specializing in seafood, including shellfish, shrimps and crabs.
1. Pork Ribs and Rice
Qingdao, located halfway between Beijing and Shanghai, has a reputation as one of China’s most livable cities. It has a good weather climate and its people are very friendly.
Pork ribs and rice are one of the top ten famous foods in Qingdao. This dish originated in the Shandong Peninsula area and was first cooked here.
The cost of pork ribs is rising after Beijing suspended imports of pig meat from major supplier Germany, which has been hit by African swine fever outbreaks. Restaurant owners say it will eat into their profits until the market recovers from a coronavirus pandemic.
2. Braised Cuttlefish Eggs
Qingdao is a coastal city and its cuisine is rich in seafood. Its dishes are deep fried, braised, roasted and stewed, commonly using soy sauce, garlic and shallots.
Jiaodong chicken wings, braised cuttlefish eggs and sea cucumbers with minced meat are some of the famous local dishes. They are prepared in a simple style, but are unforgettable.
This Chinese-style braised cuttlefish recipe uses baby cuttlefish, which are slow-cooked in a flavor-packed sauce made with regular and dark soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, ginger and hot chili peppers. The result is tender, flavorful and comforting.
One of the most popular forms of Chinese eating is hot pot (huo guo). It started as a simple, communal style of dining that spread throughout China, adapted and modified by each region to fit their local tastes and ingredients.
Regardless of its origins, today hot pot is everywhere and is considered by many to be the defining DIY dining experience of China. It’s a way for groups to enjoy fresh, wholesome, delicious food with each other.
At the heart of a typical hotpot is a table-top cauldron of bubbling broth that diners cook their own food in, by dunkging thin slices of raw meat, vegetables, and tofu into. These can be spicy, sour, or plain.
4. Clams with Spatzle
Qingdao is renowned for its seafood, its European architecture from the German concession era and, of course, its Tsingtao Beer. This is no surprise given the region’s 862km coastline and burgeoning seafaring industry. But the city is also home to a number of technological marvels including a world-class nuclear plant and the country’s largest electric car plant.
One of the best local delicacies is a simple dish combining the tiniest clams with the longest spatzle nipper. Combined with a generous serving of vinegar, this is a meal for the taste buds that will last long after your last sip of Tsingtao’s signature craft brew. The dish owes its success to a cleverly designed stainless steel steamer and the use of a scallion-infused vinegar that will leave you with a crisp tidbit of scallion goodness.
5. Stir-Fry Seafood
In Qingdao, you will find many restaurants that specialize in seafood. Locals love stir-fry seafood as it allows them to eat their favorite fish and still preserve the original flavor.
Unlike other Chinese cuisines where the cook bury the food in a lot of oil and spices, Shandong chefs focus on preserving the taste, color, and cut of the main ingredients. Therefore, very little spice or sugar is used in their cooking.
A great choice is the clams with spatzle, which features the clams’ fragrance of scallion oil and the scent of spatzle (a German style egg noodle). It is very tasty with its smooth taste and freshness.