The Pride of Qingdao: 10 Local Dishes That You Must Try

The Pride of Qingdao: 10 Local Dishes That You Must Try

Whenever someone mentions Qingdao, the first things that most expats will associate with it is, of course, Tsingtao Beer, touring the brewing factory, and the notoriously rowdy Qingdao Beer Festival. But don't be fooled: the local food culture is the true pride of Qingdao (granted pretty much every dish tastes that much better washed down with a fresh bag or two of beer). Read on to discover the 10 snacks that no newcomer to Qingdao should miss.


Chili Sautéed Clams. Photo:  jxrzx.com

1) Chili Sautéed Clams (辣炒蛤蜊)View In Map
If you are in Qingdao this summer, be sure you make time to enjoy a beer and eating some local seafood at a small restaurant on the side of the road – it's the local thing to do! The quintessential dish to order is the chili sautéed clams, called la de gala in the local dialect. It's easy to see why this treat is one of the 10 best dishes in Qingdao: gala makes for a mouth-watering accompaniment to any dish. At first bite they don't seem too spicy, but after just a moment the spiciness gradually increases. The texture and flavour go great with a bottle (or bag) of fresh beer as well.

Recommended Vendor: Haidao Yucun Hotel (海岛渔村大酒店)
Add: 40 Yunxiao Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区云霄路40号
Tel: 0532 8573 5588
Price: 90 RMB
Opening Hours: 10:00-22:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 12, 208, 210, 216, 228, 314, 363, 601环线or 801环线, get off at Xianggang Zhong Lu bus stop (香港中路站), and walk about 300 m.

2) Qingdao Cool Vermicelli/Agar Jelly
Qingdao summers can be really hot, which is not so great for the appetite. Qingdao Cold Agar Jelly Noodles (青岛凉粉) is a great dish to order to remedy this problem. Usually in the form of gelatinous, thick strands or thin vermicelli, these transparent noodles are slippery and a great medium for sauces. The texture is chewy and very similar to jelly fish. These noodles are usually covered in a variety of spicy, sweet, sour, or salty sauces, so be sure to try several different dishes. 

Recommended Vendor: Joe's Yangkou Seafood (乔氏仰口海鲜)View In Map
Add: 27 Donghai Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区东海路27号
Tel: 0532 8569 7777
Price: 18 RMB
Opening Hours: 09:00-14:00; 16:30-21:00
Getting There ride bus No. 25, 26, 31环线, 104, 223, 225环线, 228, 231环线, 304, 411专, 312, 314, 316, 321, 501 or 605 to the World Trade Centre bus stop (世贸中心站) and walk about 255 meters

3) Pork and Cabbage Chinese Buns
People from Shandong like to eat bun-based foods, and Qingdao locals are no exception. These local buns, cooked using tender pork and fresh cabbage (白菜肉包), make for a wonderful savoury treat.  It is also some of the cheapest fare around at only 1-2 RMB per bun.

Recommended Vendor: Sahnsheng Building (三盛楼)View In Map
Add: 226 Siliu Zhong Lu, Licang District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市李沧区四流中路226号
Tel: 0532 8465 2404
Price: 15 RMB
Opening Hours: 05:30-20:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 10, 22, 24, 112, 113, 118专, 120, 120专, 305, 305专or 325 to Xihuayuan bus stop (兴华苑站)

4) Seafood Noodles
Seafood Noodles (海鲜卤面) is a great home-style dish. The tender noodles have a very pronounced seafood flavour. Depending on location, a bowl of seafood noodles can include a variety of fresh local ingredients, such as: shrimp, clams, kidney beans, egg and pork strips.

Recommended Vendor: Jiachang Hand Pulled Noodles (佳昌手擀面)View In Map
Add: 23-3 Nanjing Lu, Across from Carrefour, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区南京路23号-3(家乐福对面)
Tel: 0532 8166 0168
Price: 15 RMB
Opening Hours: 09:00-21:30
Getting There: ride bus No. 12, 26, 33, 104, 224环线, 225环线, 228, 231环线, 232环线, 304 专, 312, 314, 319环线, 321, 374 or 501 to Fushansuo bus stop (浮山所站). 

5) Spare ribs and Rice
This dish apparently has a bit of history behind it, as according to local folklore, the method of making spare ribs and rice (排骨米饭) actually predates the formal founding of Qingdao! Despite it's old age, the dish is still prepared pretty much the same way, with high-grade spare ribs seasoned with a blend 20 different (and delicious) spices served with rice. Today, this aromatic dish is one of the most popular fast food items in Qingdao.

Recommended Vendor: Wanhechun Ribs Rice Pot (万和春排骨砂锅米饭)View In Map
Add: 66 Taidongba Lu, Shibei District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市北区台东八路66号
Tel: 0532 8363 5626
Price: 20 RMB
Opening Hours: 10:30-22:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 28 环线, 205 环线or 229 环线to Dacheng Lu bus stop (大成路站)

6) Roast Squid
Another one of Qingdao's great seafood traditions is the always tender and delicious tasting roast squid (烤鱿鱼). While it can be found at pretty much any makeshift late-night BBQ stand on the side of the street, the safer option is to stick to ordering it from (hopefully) more sanitary restaurants.

Recommended Vendor: Wangjie Barbeque (王姐烧烤)View In Map
Add: 113 Zhongshan Lu, Across from the police station at Baoding intersection, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区中山路113号中山路派出所对面(保定路口)
Tel: 0532 8286 7147
Price: 20 RMB
Opening Hours: 09:00-21:00
Getting there: ride the No. 3 sightseeing route (观光3路环线) to Tianzhu Jiaotang bus stop (天主教堂站), then switch to bus No. 6, 221 or 231 环线and get off at the Zhongguo Juyuan bus stop (中国剧院站)

7) Wonton Soup
Wonton Soup (鸡汤混沌) in Qingdao is a real treat. Fresh chicken broth, chicken strips, soft wontons and fresh seaweed make this soup one of Qingdao's finest snacks.  The wontons are big and meaty, the soup has a clean fresh flavour, and the dish is neither oily nor greasy. 

Recommended Vendor: Xiaoqingqing Hundun (小倩倩馄饨)View In Map
Add: 32 Jiangxi Lu, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区江西路32号
Tel: 0532 8582 9776
Price: 10 RMB
Opening Hours: 06:30-21:30
Getting there: ride bus No. 32, 125, 202, 218, 220, 222 or 604 to Taizhou Lu bus stop (泰州路站)

8) Mackerel Dumplings
Mackerel is a part of the daily food culture of Qingdao, and there are several ways to prepare it. But the best way to eat mackerel here is in the form of a deliciously tender dumpling (鲅鱼水饺). A mackerel dumpling is very soft and moist, and a little bit of Chinese chive gives it a special kick. And if you're still hungry after your first set of dumplings, follow it up with a nice bowl of mackerel dumpling soup. Your belly will thank you.

Recommended Vendor: Boat Song Fish Dumplings (船歌鱼水饺)View In Map
Add: 57 Minjiang'er Lu, Opposite from Ruanjian Plaza, Shinan District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市市南区闽江二路57号(软件大厦对面)
Tel: 0532 8077 8001; 8077 8002
Price: 60 RMB
Opening Hours: 11:00-22:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 222 to Minjiang'er Lu bus stop (闽江二路站)

9) Braised Pig Feet
Even though Qingdao is a seafood city, braised pig's feet (流亭猪蹄) are still quite a popular snack with the locals (and adventurous expats). The original pig's feet recipe was created at the end of the Qing dynasty, and has taken over a hundred years to become the perfection that it is today. For locals, the authenticity of the dish is determined by the richness of the soup that is used to boil the pigs feet.

Recommended Vendor: Xinfusheng Hotel (鑫复盛大酒店) View In Map
Add: 29 Bashahe Lu, Liuting, Qingdao
地址:青岛市流亭白沙河路29号
Tel: 0532 8908 8888
Price: 26 RMB per foot
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Getting there: ride bus No. 105 to Liuting Market bus stop (流亭市场站)

10) "Three-Delicious" Pot Stickers
Although pot stickers can be found pretty much anywhere in China, Qingdao pot stickers are definitely worthy of being included on this list. Qingdao-style pot stickers are served straight from the pan, and are made with delicious fresh local ingredients, giving them a wonderfully aromatic flavour that is not at all greasy.

Recommended Vendor: Qingdao Potstickers (青岛锅贴)View In Map
Add:  82 Siliuzhong Lu, Licang District, Qingdao
地址:青岛市李沧区四流中路82号
Tel: 0532 6608 1788
Price: 26 RMB
Opening Hours: 09:50-21:00
Getting there: ride bus No. 22, 23, 305, 305专, 325 or 364 to Guomianliuchang bus stop (国棉六厂站)

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Keywords: Qingdao seafood dishes must try dishes qingdao local Qingdao dishes authentic Qingdao cuisine

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