Mid-Autumn festival is just around the corner! Some Chinese and Vietnamese markets started selling mooncakes as early as July!
My mom picked up a box of mooncake from 99 Ranch. She likes nuts, so she picked up a set with mixed nuts and egg yolk.
This version of mooncake is considered as a ‘contemporary style’ from China and Vietnam. The Chinese and Vietnamese both celebrate Mid-Autumn festival, so several boxes at the store have both languages written on it.
The outer surface of the mooncake has either Chinese characters or an image on it.
My favorite part of mooncake is the yolk! I dislike nuts, so this particular kind of mooncake wasn’t for me. I did have a slice, though.
What’s your favorite mooncake? Mine is the Cantonese style, with just the lotus seed paste and yolk. It’s simple, but yet smooth and rich.
I actually got to try two different types of mooncake in Hong Kong two weeks later. Unfortunately, I was in a hurry to the airport and ate it in a taxi and on the plane….so no pics of it! :(
Here’s some info on mooncake, from Wikipedia:
Mooncake (simplified Chinese: 月饼; traditional Chinese: 月餅; pinyin: yuè bĭng) is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival (Zhongqiujie). The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching, when mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the four most important Chinese festivals.
Typical mooncakes are round pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 3–4 cm thick. This is the Cantonese mooncake, eaten in Southern China in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macau. A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea. Today, it is customary for businessmen and families to present them to their clients or relatives as presents, helping to fuel a demand for high-end mooncake styles. The energy content of a mooncake is approximately 1,000 calories or 4,200 kilojoules (for a cake measuring 10 cm (3.9 in)), but energy content varies with filling and size.
Most mooncakes consist of a thin, tender pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling, and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in their center as the symbol of the full moon. Very rarely, mooncakes are also served steamed or fried. Traditional mooncakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for “longevity” or “harmony”, as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside. Imprints of the moon, the Lady Chang’e on the moon, flowers, vines, or a rabbit (symbol of the moon) may surround the characters for additional decoration.
Over time, both the crusts and the composition of the fillings of mooncakes have diversified, in particular due to a commercial need to drive up sales in the face of intense competition between producers and from other food types. Part of these trends are also to cater to changing taste preferences, and because people are more health-conscious. Most of these contemporary styles were therefore especially prominent amongst the cosmopolitan and younger Chinese and amongst the overseas Chinese community, although traditional mooncakes are often sold alongside contemporary ones to cater to individual preferences.
Fillings in contemporary style mooncakes has diversified to include just about anything which can be made into a paste. Mooncakes containing taro paste and pineapple, which were considered novelty items at their time of invention have in recent years become commonplace items. In addition, filling with ingredients such as coffee, chocolate, nuts (walnuts, mixed nuts, etc.), fruits (prunes, pineapples, melons, lychees, etc.), vegetables (sweet potatoes, etc.), and even ham have been added to give a modern twist to the traditional recipes. It is also increasingly popular to change the base of the paste to a custard-style.