Thanks to a favourable geographical location, fertile soil and a temperate monsoon climate, Shandong Province has developed an extensive food industry with a complete industrial chain that produces a vast variety of food. Besides its quality produce, Shandong’s cuisine is among the top eight Chinese provincial cuisines and exemplifies the culinary arts of the Yellow River region
Shandong Province is located on the east coast of Mainland China in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, facing the Bohai Sea and the Yellow Sea. The province connects the two major economic zones of Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei and the Yangtze River Delta, and links the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is in close proximity with Japan and Korea.
Shandong is a major economic, cultural and populous province in Mainland China. In 2020, the province’s GDP reached RMB7.3trn and its per capita GDP exceeded US$10,000. Grain yields have remained stable over the years with an annual total output exceeding 100 billion catties for seven consecutive years.
Shandong has a total land area of 158,000 square kilometres, 6.635 million
hectares of which are arable. The province is rich in mineral resources. More than 30 of its mineral reserves are among the top 10 largest of their kind in Mainland China, and the province contributes to one-third of the nation’s crude oil output and six per cent of its coal output. Shandong is also gifted with unique marine resources, with a 3,345km-long golden coastline that makes up one-sixth of China’s total coastline.
Shandong has 2,110 kilometres of high-speed railway coverage, including the new Weifang–Laixi high-speed railway. Six more high-speed railways are under construction at the moment.
The province has 286,800 kilometres of highways (6,489 kilometres more than last year), 7,473.4 kilometres of which are expressways (an increase of 1,026 kilometres). There are 607 berths at its coastal ports with production capability, 340 of which are deep-water berths above 10,000 tons (14 of which are new in operation). Pipelines for crude oil, refined oil and natural gas constitute 3,980 kilometres, 2,200 kilometres and 6,730 kilometres, respectively.
The total renewable power capacity is 45.412 million kilowatts, an increase of six per cent over the previous year and accounts for 28.6 per cent of the total power capacity of the province. Its capacity of photovoltaic and biomass power ranks first in the country.
Shandong had an excellent economic performance in 2020, producing a number of remarkable achievements, including:
- RMB2.2trn in the value of total merchandise trade, an increase of 7.5 per cent. This was 5.6 per cent higher than the overall increase in Mainland China’s foreign trade and accounted for 6.8 per cent of the value of total merchandise trade of the country
- RMB1.31trn in exports, an increase of 17.3 per cent
- RMB895.46bn in imports, a decrease of 4.1 per cent
- RMB410.02bn in trade surplus, an increase of 1.3 times
- 3,060 new foreign-invested enterprises, an increase of 21.6 per cent
- US$17.65bn in the value of actual utilised foreign investment (fourth highest in the country), an increase of 20.1 per cent. This was 15.6 per cent higher than the national increase and ranked first among the top six provinces and cities in the use of foreign investment
- 12.2 per cent of the country’s actual utilised foreign investment, an increase of 1.6 per cent
- RMB660.82bn of merchandise imported from and exported to countries and regions along the Belt and Road Initiative
Thanks to a favourable geographical location, fertile soil and a temperate monsoon climate, Shandong has developed an extensive food industry with a complete industrial chain that produces a vast variety of food. Its food industry has also produced exceptional accomplishments in 2020.
- There were 3,193 food enterprises above the designated size, which accounted for 12.1 per cent of the total number of enterprises above the designated size in the province
- Food enterprises above the designated size realised RMB853.48bn of revenue (an increase of 8.9 per cent) and RMB31.34bn of profit (an increase of 22.8 per cent), accounting for 10.1 per cent and 7.3 per cent of the province’s total, respectively
- The revenue of the non-staple food processing industry grew by 6.6 per cent, its industrial added value increased by four per cent and profits surged 16.8 per cent. For the food processing industry, its revenue went up by 9.8 per cent, its industrial added value grew 10.5 per cent and profits increased 35.2 per cent
- The profits of the alcoholic beverage and tea industry rose 3.5 per cent
- Among the top 100 national food enterprises, eight were from Shandong
- Among the top 100 private enterprises in Shandong, 12 were food enterprises
Characteristics of Lu cuisine
As Shandong is also called “Lu”, Shandong cuisine is known as “Lu cuisine”. It is generally recognised that Lu cuisine ranks first among the top eight Chinese provincial cuisines. Not only does it represent northern Chinese cuisine, but it also forms the base of the Chinese cuisine and everyday household recipes.
Shandong people have a pursuit of gourmet food. Thanks to the distinctive weather and geographic conditions in different parts of Shandong that lead to the production of various local produce, Lu cuisine has a number of subcategories, including Jinan cuisine, which is committed to preserving the freshness of food; Jiaodong cuisine, which sticks to the original taste; and Confucian cuisine, which follows the traditions of the royal court. Regardless of categories and their styles and tastes, these cuisines are all made with fresh and quality raw materials using superb skills and techniques and are harmoniously seasoned and artistically presented. Some of the mouth-watering dishes from this gourmet paradise include pork belly, mutton soup, grilled fish, seaweed jelly, as well as the nationally famous Dezhou’s braised chicken and Zhoucun’s flatbread.
Shandong’s time-honoured brands
As carriers and essence of a society’s civilisation of industry and commerce, time-honoured brands — brands with a legacy that continues to the present day in products, techniques and services — are closely linked to its development.
Under the influence of more than 2,000 years of Confucian culture, Shandong’s time-honoured brands embody the craftsman spirit and integrity of its people. After years of effort, some of these brands have now become leaders of their fields and pioneers in brand building and going global. They are part of Shandong’s intangible cultural heritage.
Currently, Shandong has a total of 332 provincial-level and national-level time-honoured brands, 66 of which have been granted the title of “China’s Time-honoured Brand” by the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China and 266 of which have been granted the title of “Shandong’s Time-honoured Brand” by the Department of Commerce of Shandong.
There is an old saying in Mainland China that says “food is the first priority of the people”, so it is no wonder that half of Shandong’s time-honoured brands are food-related. Located on the “golden 37-degree north latitude line”, Shandong enjoys suitable weather for nurturing plentiful specialities including livestock, poultry, fruits and vegetables and freshwater fish. The region’s distinct cooking techniques might be centuries old, but they are constantly being improved and refined, forming a collective memory of tastes that are cherished and shared by diners at home and abroad. Dong’e e jiao (donkey hide gelatin), Dezhou’s braised chicken and Zhoucun’s flatbread are all now internationally known.