Zaozhuang is in the south of Shandong province, neighbor of Jiangsu province in Eastern China. Zaozhuang is a quaint, relaxed, charming traditional little town. We found some really great Shandong chicken, northern style noodles like zha jian mian (my favorite!), scallion pancakes, refreshing cold dishes and oven-baked flatbreads here. Shandong cuisine (Lu cuisine) is considered the most influential in Chinese cooking. The majority of all Chinese cooking styles all stem from this region.

Shandong chicken is rubbed with spices and honey, then deep fried to golden brown. The birds are then stuffed with ginger, garlic, star anise, Sichuan peppercorns and orange peel. Then braised in a broth seasoned with Chinese herbs, rock sugar, soy sauce and rice wine. It’s delicious served with the reduced braising broth, a slightly vinegary sauce and refreshing marinaded cold cucumber.

Shandong flatbread.