Wang Jing, co-owner of Qing Yun Lou Shandong cuisine restaurant [Photo/China Daily]
Opened in 2009, the Qing Yun Lou Shandong cuisine restaurant has long been considered Beijing's guardian of Shandong, or Lu, cuisine among foodies who share love for the one of the earliest formed culinary arts in China.
Located on the east bank of Shichahai Lake, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing, the restaurant's owners claim a legacy dating back to the original Qing Yun Lou restaurant built on the site in the early 19th century.
The new eatery follows recipes rummaged from historical documentation to bring out the authentic Lu culinary flavors, according to co-owner Wang Jing.
The ancestral restaurant was the former employer and trainer of chefs who built the brand image of the most famous Shandong cuisine restaurants in Beijing during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and some of the brands live on, says Beijing native Wang.
"We are successful with the Vietnamese restaurant Nuage, but feel it necessary to restore old Beijing's Lu flavor on this historic site," Wang explains.
The Lu cuisine restaurant is on the first floor of the lakeside building, and its carved windows boast views of the ancient hutong neighborhood and the lake.
Beijing's imperial era is closely related to Lu cuisine, because chefs from the province were the first to come to Beijing to serve Chinese emperors. The creation of many classics are associated with royal family members, especially the Empress Dowager Cixi, says chief chef Yu Peng, a culinary master who has previously consulted for the Palace Museum.
Yu has been in the profession for about two decades, and says, the charm of Lu delicacies lies in a wide range of ingredients, rich flavors, good nutrition and attractive presentation.
One signature Lu dish is sliced perch with rice-wine sauce, which was also my own favorite during the visit.