By Zhang Zixuan
BEIJING, Aug.1 (Xinhuanet) -- Yantai is celebrated for its seafood, which is an important part of Shandong cuisine, one of China's four major styles of cooking.
Unlike the cooking methods in coastal areas of Southern China that add various condiments to give the seafood different flavors, the most common way of preparing seafood in Yantai is quite simple - either steaming or boiling with sea salt, to best retain the seafood's freshness and sweet juices. Swimming crabs, mantis shrimps and clams are tastiest when cooked in this way.
Seafood can also be used to make creative meals.
Seaweed is chopped into pieces and mixed with minced pork to make stuffing for steamed buns. The delicious aroma fills the air even before the pot is uncovered.
The Yantai menzi, which looks like translucent cubed jelly, is agar made of seaweed. Menzi has the flavor of seafood and meat, which can be fried with various things to make different dishes.
Both the steamed seaweed bun and menzi are foods that can only be found in Yantai.
Another must-try is the local shrimp paste. Made with only shrimps, the paste is dark red and smells stinky but tastes wonderful. The best way of cooking it is to mix the paste with beaten eggs and chopped scallion, then steam the mixture into custard.
Seafood is also dried to make snacks here. The dried squid best preserves the original flavor. It's juicy and sweet even when dried.
Yantai is also well-known for its fruits. Apples, cherries and pears are the most popular and are sold throughout China. During harvest season, there are several orchards open to tourists, who can stay for a few days in local farmers' and fishermen's hostels and handpick their own fruit.
(Source: China Daily)