It’s that time of the year again – Mid-Autumn Festival is on September 19th 2013 this year (also known as the Moon Festival as the moon is currently at its roundest and brightest). This festival has been around since the Zhou Dynasty of 1046 – 246 BC when it was a moon sacrificial ceremony. The ceremony was all about giving thanks to the moon for the seasons, as it allowed their crops to harvest.
Since then, this festival has clearly been adopted to a festival with family and friends; either indoors where you eat Moon Cakes and give thanks, or outdoors where many celebrations take place in the form of dragon dancing, the lighting of lanterns, traditional Chinese plays, large displays, and so forth.
Given its “second” name, it would make sense that the traditional food for this festival are Moon Cakes. Moon Cakes come in many different shapes and sizes, traditional flavours (red bean, lotus seed) and more modern flavours (chocolate, ice cream). The flavours of Moon Cakes are dependent on the region of Asia in which you reside. As well, the price can fluctuate from $10HKD to over $500HKD.
One of my students brought me a Moon Cake this year. The previous year I had a student bring me two homemade Moon Cakes – one red bean and one egg. I actually really enjoyed them. This year, the Moon Cake I received was lotus paste with two egg yolks and was store bought. The first thing I noticed was how heavy and dense the cake was. I can’t even imagine how many calories must be in it. On the first bite, it wasn’t so bad. The lotus paste was manageable, though there was no way I could eat the whole thing. Once I cut into the egg yolk, though, it was game over. The yolk was dry, crumbly, and so salty. Definitely not my idea of a good dessert.
I’ll have to try my luck with a more modern Moon Cake next time – a chocolate and vanilla ice cream Moon Cake sounds much more delicious!