Compared with dumplings of other regions in China, Shandong dumplings are characterized with sea food fillings. That’s because Shandong Province is by the sea, where fish are is abundant.
Famous Types of Shandong Dumplings:
The most common fillings of Shandong dumplings are: Spanish mackerel, ink-fish, yellow croaker, sea urchin and sea worm. The most popular and classic one is the Spanish mackerel dumpling, which is known for its thin dumpling wrapper, scrumptious filling, and high nutritional value.
Recipe for Spanish Mackerel Dumplings:
1. Ingredients: Spanish mackerel (1,000g); pork (100g); leeks (150g); flour (500g); egg; starch; water
2. Seasonings: green onions; ginger; wild pepper; garlic; salt; sesame oil; cooking wine; soy sauce; vinegar
Note: This recipe is for two to three people.
How to make the Shandong dumpling wrapper:
Step 1: Put flour into a bowl. Add water while stirring the flour with chopsticks. The ratio of flour to water is 2:1.
Step 2: When the flour becomes flake-like clots, add an egg and a pinch of salt into the basin, then start to knead the dough.
Step 3: Stop kneading the dough when it has a rough surface. Then put the dough aside for twenty minutes.
Step 4: Knead the dough again until it has a very smooth surface. Wait for another twenty minutes.
Step 5: Spread some flour on the chopping board and take out the dough from the bowl. Rubbing the dough between your hands until it looks like a rod.
Step 6: Slice the dough into small balls and flatten them with your hand.
Step 7: Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into round thin pieces. The rim of the wrapper should be thinner than the central part.
How to make the filling for Spanish mackerel dumplings:
Step 1: Cut the fish's belly and remove the guts and gills. After washing away the blood and slime, move the knife in a horizontal direction and cut the fish from tail to head. Keep the flesh on both sides, peel off its skin and debone it. Then chop the fish into mash.
Step 2: Chop the pork into mash.
Step 3: Boil a few wild peppers in some water and let it cool. When the pepper water is cold, drop in a few chopped green onions and sliced ginger.
Step 4: Remove the yellowish part of the leek, wash and then chop it.
Step 5: Mix the mashed Spanish mackerel and mashed pork together in a bowl. Add cooking wine, sesame oil, starch, egg white, salt, and the wild pepper water made in Step 3.
Step 6: Use chopsticks to quickly stir the filling in one direction. When you feel that the filling is sticky, add chopped leeks, and continue to stir.
How to wrap and boil the dumplings:
Step 1: Hold a piece of dumpling wrapper in your hand, put a scoop of filling at the center of wrapper and then fold it in half. Firmly pinch the semicircular edge to prevent leakage.
Step 2: After wrapping all of the dumplings, bring some water to a boil.
Step 3: When the water is boiling, put the dumplings into the pot and gently separate them with chopsticks or spoon.
Step 4: When the water boils again, add a small bowl of cold water into the pot. This procedure needs to be repeated three times, to make sure the Shandong dumplings are cooked thoroughly.
How to make the dipping sauce:
Mix together the mashed garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and vinegar. The sour, salty and spicy flavor will serve as a perfect foil for Spanish mackerel dumpling’s umami.
1. It is very important to use fresh raw ingrdients. Good-quality Spanish mackerel has bright black eyes, a white belly, crimson gill, and a florescent blue or green back. You can also test the freshness by pressing the fish to see if bounces back. If it does, its flesh is firm and thus it is worth buying.
2. The egg and salt are added to the flour, to make the dough together when being rolled.
3. The wild pepper water helps get rid of the Spanish mackerel’s fishy smell, and the egg white will make the filling tender and juicy.
Where to Eat Shandong Dumplings – Best Restaurants
Shun Hong Sea Food Restaurant, Jinan 舜鸿海鲜小馆
Nearly all the famous Shandong cuisines can be found in this restaurant. Apart from Spanish mackerel dumplings, you can also try sea food signature dishes like crab spawn and flatfish.
1. No.184, Wei Shi Yi Lu Road, Huaiyin District
2. No.7, North Bei Guan Road, Tianqiao District
Opening hours: 11:00-21:00
Average cost per capita: CNY70
Jin Chun Xi Restaurant, Jinan 金春禧
Dumplings of various fillings here are super popular, including Spanish mackerel, inkfish, mutton, shrimp, leek and cucumber.
1. Floor 4, Zhong Hai Huan Yu Cheng Mall, South Second Ring Road, Shizhong District
2. Floor 4, West Building of Shi Mao International Square, Quan Cheng Road, Lixia District
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00; 17:00-21:00
Average cost per capita: CNY75
Chuan Ge Yu Dumpling Restaurant, Qingdao 船歌鱼水饺
This restaurant has many branches all over the country. We recommended accompanying Spanish mackerel dumplings with a spicy dish together such as stir-fried oysters or yellow-wine-pickled crab claw.
1. Floor B1, Wan Xiang Cheng (The Mixc), Shan Dong Road, Shinan District
2. Buidling 1, No.57, Min Jiang Er Lu Road, Shinan District
3. No.1, Mai Dao Road, Laoshan District
Opening hours: 10:30-21:00
Average cost per capita: CNY100
Shuang He Yuan Dumpling Restaurant, Qingdao 双和园饺子
You can choose large or small servings of each type of dumpling here. The most popular picks are Spanish mackerel dumplings and assorted sea food dumplings filled with dried scallops, shelled shrimp and sea cucumber.
1. No.12, Shang Qing Road, Shibei District
2. No.129, Li Cun Shu Yuan Road, Licang District
3. No.19, Da Yao San Lu Road, Shinan District
4. No.25, Nan Feng Road, Shibei District
Opening hours: 10:30-21:30
Average cost per capita: CNY70
Feng Ze Yuan Restaurant, Beijing 丰泽园饭店
Feng Ze Yuan is considered the No.1 Shandong restaurant in Beijing. If you go here, you should also try roasted sea cucumber and braised intestines in brown sauce.
1. No.83, West Road, Xicheng District
2. Floor 5, Wang Fu Mansion, No. 301, Wang Fu Jing Street, Dongcheng District
3. No.15, South Road of Workers’ Stadium, Chaoyang District
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00; 17:00-19:00
Average cost per capita: CNY160
Dong Lai Chan Fang Restaurant, Shanghai 东莱馋房
Spanish mackerel dumplings in this restaurant are famous for their chewy wrappera, juicy filling and refreshing taste. Other dishes here also have authentic Shandong flavors
1. No.7, Floor 4, Jing Pin Shopping Mall, Yu Yuan Road, Jing’an District
2. No.206, Floor 2, Global Financial Center, Century Avenue, Pudong District
Opening hours: 11:00-14:00; 17:00-21:30
Average cost per capita: CNY120