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The Ultimate Guide to Food in Qingdao

Qingdao is widely known as the hotspot of cuisine in the province of Shandong and it’s clear to see why. The area is famously known for its beer (it even has a museum) and ingenious seafood creations - it’s not to be missed! From budgeting to where to actually go - this guide will have you covered.

Author: Toria Peirson
26 Nov 17:01

Qingdao offers every style of food for every kind of palette. If you’re feeling adventurous and fancy trying traditional food you will not have a struggle finding an authentic seafood restaurant which are widely popular with the locals. Due to large Muslim population, you will find multiple Islamic style restaurants scattered around Qingdao which provide tasty kebabs and mutton dishes. European meals are also offered throughout the area but be warned that they are almost always served in hotel restaurants which can translate into a hefty bill. If you’re looking for a taste of home, you can always head to McDonalds or KFC which are situated near the train station. Perfect after a day of travel!


Getting food in Qingdao, there are various places to go for an enjoyable meal. For an affordable meal with gorgeous views, head to Laiyang road. The road is situated on the seafront which is fantastic for tasting traditional seafood cuisine overlooking the gorgeous waters of the Yellow Sea. If you want to have more of an interesting dish, head to Yunxiao Food Street which offers gourmet dishes with better quality seafood at a slightly higher price. Head to the hotel restaurants if you want a divine dining experience with a great atmosphere (and less of a language barrier) but be prepared for a much higher bill than the other areas.


Food in Qingdao is predominantly seafood and the local restaurants put a unique spin on typical Shandong food. In the summer months expect to see the menus filled with crab, lobster, scallops, squid and shrimp. The food is usually presented with rice and noodles and it almost always contains shallots and soy sauce (they’re extremely popular among locals). Any menu in Qingdao will have a type of seafood stewed with shallots.

Most restaurants will offer seafood deepfried and roasted however if you want to truly eat like a local you should have your food cooked the “Qingdaose” way. This follows the concept of preserving the food’s natural taste by cooking it simply. Nearly all restaurants offer this option as it is the locals’ favourite way of cooking their food in Qingdao.

Pricing and Budgeting Tips for food in Qingdao restaurants:

A meal in one of the more affordable restaurants will range from 20-30¥ A meal in a more expensive restaurant can coust around 150¥ A beer can usually cost 20¥ A bottle of water is usually between 2-3¥

Tipping for food in restaurants is not customary in China and can be seen as offensive. However, if you are eating in a hotel restaurant a 10% service charge is usually expected.

Some phrases to use when ordering food:

Firstly when you’re ordering sea food, use the phrase : wǒ xiǎng chī hǎi xian

Then follow with how you want it:

  • If you want ‘Deep Fried’ seafood: Yóu zhá
  • If you want ‘roasted’ seafood: Kǎo
  • If you want ‘Stewed’ seafood: Dùn

  • If you want a beer with your food: Píjiǔ

  • If you want water with your food: Shuǐ

One final tip:

Always use chopsticks to eat and when they're not in use you should place them beside your plate. This can help you avoid a foodie faux-pas.

Toria Peirson

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