It is now finally time for another hawker food post – street food post. The first one about Beijing Street Food, I think was the most successful post out of all I had on this blog. This time we went to Jinan, and we planned to try some of Shandong cuisine dishes, but somehow we ended up on a Shandong food street of Jinan – Furong Ancient Street. So what did we find there?
The very first impression I have got about Shandong street food we got was from the automated fryer machine for meat skewers. You can get those of different tastes – chicken, pork or even beef. The price for one you can expect RMB 5-10. People normally get bunch of those served in a paper bucket with soya sauce and chili over it.
That was my first stop where I wanted to get it… I still can’t believe that five years ago, when I just arrived to China, I would refuse tasting any street food. Now times have dramatically changed.
Squid balls are basically balls made of squid, grilled open air and then without asking you the seller dips it in THYME, which I personally really don’t like. When they handed them to me, I just took a tissue and removed as much thyme as I could.
If not for thyme, those balls could be the pick of the day. My verdict is tasty, juicy and convenient to eat – a must try. One skewer will set you back only RMB 15 for 5 medium size balls.
Chicken wing skewers and Pork knuckles.
Those two, somehow, were sold together everywhere. I like German pork knuckle but the Chinese version – Shandong street food pork knuckle was not that inviting.
However, the chicken wing skewers were alright. Each will cost you around RMB 10-15.
I was surprised about this dish. I actually got very close to it and as a foreigner I was even allowed to take a picture.
It was a steamed-grilled pineapple stuffed with egg and spices, I suppose the taste must be pretty unique. Unfortunately, I did not risk trying it as I am not a big fan of hot fruits.
Just like Beijing , Shandong street food also has some bakes goodies to offer – potato chips Chinese style, sesame pastries and Chinese bread. Chinese pastries and breads are mostly extremely sweet. Even finding standard non-sweetened TOAST BREAD is a challenge.
Potato chips actually look pretty cool – it is just one potato cut and spread on entire length of the stick. The taste is always the same – the combo of MSG spices. So be careful with this one.
As for the sesame pastries, they are unusual, but quite nice. First time I tried, I surely was not “wow-ed”. Now, I can have one once in a while, but still do not call it my favorite.
Pastries will cost you RMB5-10, while a potato chips RMB 10-15.
Rice noodle on an oyster/mussel.
Basically, it is the same dish, just the seafood is different. If you are entering market, I suggest you find the oyster first and then move on to mussels, otherwise, you are too full for a oyster.
As I really stay away from oysters, I did not try it. But AH had 5 mussels and a oyster and was really happy about it. The line for those are quite long – on top it is covered with rice noodles and grilled up. This indulgement will set you back around RMB20.
It is all about squid – deep fried (I love the most), minced and deep fried as a ball or just grilled. It is all nice and amazing but do not be late for the moment when it is dipped into spices as it might actually destroy the taste.
And, yeah, be careful, the juices and oil drips!
Crickets and other unidentified insects.
Just like in Wangfujing, there is a selection of insects which you can ask to grill. Amazing source of protein and a unique experience is there for you. Want to give it a chance?
The best I have tried were the dumpings, the lady sells them by 4 or 8 pieces. They are fried and then steamed, the juice and soup is boiling inside and makes the meat so tender. I wanted to come back just to get more the day after I tried it for the first time. Shandong dumplings I will remember you!
The second is the mango crepe, which was actually nicer than the one I’ve tried before. Lots of mango and lots of cream. Can you believe it?
Shandong street food turned out to be more appealing than Beijing street food. I believe it is one of the greatest ways to explore the cuisine, have fun and enjoy your time!