Dong Xing Lou, a Ghost Street eatery, serves up “Lu” cuisine from China’s coastal Shandong province. Foreigners may be familiar with dim sum, Sichuan, and other regional cooking styles from restaurants overseas, but lu cai is much more influential on the mainland, especially throughout Beijing and in the nation’s northeast region. Chalk this up to both Shandong cuisine’s vast array of seafood and the ample selection of grains from the province’s inner agricultural hubs, arguably making Lu cuisine China’s most well-rounded culinary tradition.
The grains are mostly milled and used in steamed breads, which frequently replace rice as a staple. Shandong cuisine is also renowned for its more than 30 cooking techniques, from bao “quick-frying” to pa, which involves stewing, frying until golden brown, and sautéing in savory sauces.
Major ingredients and condiments: Seafood (e.g. fish, scallops, sea cucumbers), grains (e.g. millet and wheat), hardy vegetables (e.g. cabbage, potato, cauliflower, eggplant), pork, onion, garlic
Main preparation methods: You name it, Shandong chefs do it. The province’s 30-plus cooking methods include bao (quick-frying), pa (a combination of stewing and frying), roasting, boiling, sautéeing, crystallizing with honey, and more
- Sautéed chicken fillet with egg white (芙蓉鸡片, furong jipian): Despite the name, this dish is more egg-based, with a heavy sprinkling of powdered chicken for a hint of meaty flavor. The egg whites are soft but chewy – perfect for young ones who are sensitive to textures. RMB 48.
- Griddled fresh organic cauliflower (干锅有机鲜菜花, ganguo youji xian caihua): Parents looking to make their kids’ meals healthy and balanced will be pleased with this chewy vegetable dish, which includes chunks of pork. RMB 38.
- Deep-fried pork balls (干炸小丸子, ganzha xiao wanzi): Unlike generic western-style Chinese chicken balls, this pork alternative is crunchier and has more of a smoky flavor, which is accentuated by the sides of soy bean paste and cumin spice. Perfect for picky eaters who are just easing into Chinese flavors. RMB 40.
Family facilities: Western-style bathrooms with toilet paper and soap are located on the second floor. Both chopsticks and cutlery are available. Highchairs are available. The menu is in English and Chinese with pictures. The restaurant is non-smoking.
Dong Xing Lou 东兴楼
Daily 10.30am-9.30pm. 5 Dongzhimennei Dajie, Dongcheng District (8406 4118/4058) 东城区东城区东直门内大街5号
Photos: Uni You