Its that time of the year again, Moon Festival time where the streets are closed off in Chinatown for the Moon festival (or Mid-Autumn, Lantern festival or Mooncake festival) and storekeepers display fancily embossed tins of gleaming mooncakes. For those unfamiliar with the Moon Festival, according to Wikipedia:
"The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn Equinox of the solar calendar.
Traditionally, on this day, Chinese family members and friends will gather to admire the bright mid-autumn harvest moon, and eat moon cakes and pomeloes together. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as:
- Eating moon cakes outside under the moon
- Putting pomelo rinds on one's head
- Carrying brightly lit lanterns
- Burning incense in reverence to deities including Chang'e
- Planting Mid-Autumn trees
- Lighting lanterns on towers
- Fire Dragon Dances"
I can't say that we did any of these, but the closest one we came to was the first one, eating Mooncakes, not under the moon but at night (does that count?).
There are several kinds of fillings for moon cakes including lotus seed, red bean and fruit & nut and the more expensive ones have salted egg yolks inside them (the more yolks, the more expensive generally). In this case, I am a cheap eater as I don't eat like the egg yolks, much to the joy of the salted egg lovers around me.
Today we have mooncakes with a red bean filling which I haven't tried before as the Lotus filling is my usual favourite. Each cake has 2 yolks and the box of 4 was $24.95. The embossing is impressively deep and clear, like a stamp and I cannot resist running my fingers over its deep grooves. Cutting it up into eighths, we bite into the triangle slices. Its nice and sweet with a deep, deep, dark red almost black velvet bean filling, good, but I miss the nuttiness of the Lotus seed filling, still my favourite.