DAY 2 SHANDONG TRAVEL: SHANDONG CUISINE
miss thousand Buddha
weeping willows in frenzy
lotus yet to bloom
In the dry heat of Jinan, with the flying fairy wings from eight thousand willows, we walked from Baotu Spring to Da Ming Lake ( Lake of Grand Splendour). All the waters of 72 springs feed into this large lake, occupied 46 out of 86 hectares in area). It was not the season for the lotuses; we missed the grandeur of flowering in the lake and a visit to the Mountain of a thousand Buddha.
We had lunch before the next journey to Qufu, Confucius birth place. Food for customised tours were much better than commercial tours. I have left out five more dishes in order not to overwhelm you.
Shandong cuisine is a major regional cuisine of China. Other than the main Lu Cuisine, the food was not spectacular. They tasted more or less the same in those few days. The portions were too large, salty and oily to our taste and tongue. There were more than a dozen dishes in each meal per table of 12 people. However, fish and sea food were better, and the pork was simply too fat even for me. The buns were hard. Despite lots of onions, fungus, garlic and vinegar, the cooking rarely made use of them, except as a dipping sauce for the meat. I think if you could just enjoy five dishes, that would be good enough. The soup and beer helped the salty taste. I told my group to enjoy Shandong cuisine, the way they cooked, not the way we wanted them to cook. The same principle applied when we visited the West. The westerners served dish by dish, small portions, but the Chinese served appetisers, main courses and deserts all at once, and that could be overwhelming. The pork dish was to show you how fatty they were; the consolation was no beta agonists in their feed. I must comment the pork ribs were good; donkey meat, a local delicacy, was fairly good too.