We arrived in Jinan after what seemed a pretty quick 2 hours and change. My Mother In Law, Fifth Aunt, Second Aunt, Second Uncle, their Granddaughter, Fourth Aunt, the Missus and I made up the group. We were met at train station by one of the Missus's Uncles. The Missus's Grandmother's Sister had married and moved to Jinan decades ago. I have often been told that the Missus's Great-Grandfather had ensured that his children married well, and they all had fruitful lives. While the Missus recognizes the names, She has very little recollection of Her Uncles. On an interesting note, while the Missus Grandmother had six daughters, this sister had four sons! I could tell by the chatter that there was quite a bit of catching-up going on as we headed off to lunch......
And you guessed it! It was a banquet, of course! So are you ready for another banquet post?
The crowning course of this banquet were the braised pig's feet. And one of the Uncles showed us how it was prepared for serving.
As luck would have it, though the entire family is really into food, we ended up sitting next to the Uncle who was the most serious "foodie" of the group. He spent much of the meal graciously telling us about the dishes, and pointed out which could be termed as traditional Jinan preparations. Truth be told, I had no idea what Jinan Cuisine was going to be like, and we were both pleasantly surprised at this arm of "Lu Cai" (Lu Cuisine). The flavors in Jinan were big, and the food hearty.
The Missus's Uncle gave us so much information, that I wish I could spend a week with him. And of course there was so much food. As with the other banquet post, I'll just comment on a few things here and there.
While the Pig's Feet we had at our Pig's Feet Banquet in QingDao was to be enjoyed for the gelatin and texture; this one was chock full of flavor.
The Missus still talks about the Cucumber Jiaozi. It was so unexpected, with the refreshing and palate cleansing flavor of cucumber coming through. According to the Missus, this restaurant is known for their dumplings, and I can see why.
I'd never had a kidney dish I enjoyed, ever..... until this day. The flavor was like the essense of offal. Meanwhile, Uncle explained to me the short comings of this kidney; the color and sheen was wrong, by the looks and texture he could tell that this kidney had probably been refrigerated for a while. Like I said, these folks are serious about their food, not only do they know the "what", but the "why" as well!
I was told that this dish featuring tendon is a traditional Jinan preparation.
The peppers had been stuffed with sesame seeds, and was crunchy, nutty, and floral, with just a slight bit of back of the throat spice. We were told that we'd be running into this preparation of pepper in Xi'an.
This interesting looking dish were slices of eggplant "stuffed" with shrimp, battered and deep fried.
I know I've missed a couple of dishes......
The amount of knowledge the Missus's Jinan family displayed made me even more sure that China was a country full of foodies! If there was one thing I learned in China; it was the importance of family. The flavors of the food may have been totally different from QingDao, but the warmth, humor, and generosity were in full display. I remember telling the Missus that I wished we were spending more than one day Jinan. To say we enjoyed the food and company would be an understatement. What an amazing family!