As a renowned British food writer, I have been on many culinary adventures across the world. However, when I heard about the unique and diverse cuisine that the city of Jinan in China had to offer, I knew I couldn't stay away. So, I took on the task of exploring the best of Jinan's cuisine, and what I found was truly extraordinary.
Day One: Exploring the Night Market
My first stop in Jinan was the bustling night market. The sights, sounds and smells were overwhelming. There were food stalls as far as the eye could see, offering everything from seafood to meat skewers, to traditional Chinese desserts. I couldn't resist trying everything. The standout dish, however, was the "jianbing" – a crispy, flavorful crepe filled with eggs, crispy wonton, and thin slices of meat. It was a perfect start to my culinary journey in Jinan.
Day Two: Dumpling Heaven
Jinan is known for its hand-made dumplings, so on day two, I set out to find the best dumplings in town. I visited a famous restaurant that has been serving dumplings for over 100 years – Baotu Spring Restaurant. The dumplings were delicate and steaming hot, filled with a variety of meats and vegetables. I also had the chance to try another local specialty – "xiaolongbao", which are small soup-filled dumplings. The unique flavors and textures of the dumplings were a true sensation.
Day Three: A Fusion of Flavors
On my third day in Jinan, I visited a restaurant that offers a fusion of Chinese and Western cuisine. The restaurant, called "Dong Chen 8", has a Michelin star and is located in the heart of the city. I was particularly impressed by their dish of "sweet and sour" pork, which had a perfect balance of flavors and texture. I also tried a dish that combined Chinese vegetables with a creamy cheese sauce, which was surprisingly delicious. Dong Chen 8 proved to be a unique and exciting addition to my culinary journey in Jinan.
Day Four: A Street Food Feast
On my last day in Jinan, I wanted to experience as much street food as possible. I visited Baotuquan Street, which is known for its bustling street food scene. I tried everything from "baozi", to "roujiamo", to "mantou". My favorite dish, however, was the "mianjin", which is a soft and savory pancake that is filled with tofu and meat. The pancake had a crispy exterior and a soft interior, making it a perfect street food snack.
My journey through Jinan's cuisine was a true adventure. From the unique flavors of the night market to the delicate hand-made dumplings to the fusion of Chinese and Western cuisine, Jinan's food scene surprised and delighted me at every turn. I cannot wait to return and discover even more of the amazing cuisine that this city has to offer.