In the spirit of the last post, I resolved to try mooncakes this year.
What is a mooncake? (quotes are 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 / Zhongqiu Festival. 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 or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick. 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 caloric content of a mooncake is approximately 1,000 calories (for a cake measuring 10 centimetres (3.9 in), but energy content varies with filling and size.
I first saw mooncakes during our first year here. But I was too scared to try one. We missed the Mid-Autumn Festival last year due to travel. So this was our year for mooncakes. When a good friend heard that we wanted to try them, she gifted us with some.
L-R-The bag, the box, and the side of the box which notes the flavor (White Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk) and where the Mooncakes were from.
I was really surprised by how sweet the mooncakes were. It was a very strong/concentrated sweetness, but not sugary–I’m not quite sure if there is an analogous flavor that I could compare it to (that I’ve had–remember I have a limited palate).
We finished several of the mooncakes in our trying, and then gifted away the rest, as I didn’t want them to go to waste.
One of Ellie’s class projects last week was to make their own “mooncakes.” Ellie was thrilled that it was pink. When I tasted hers, it was like a sweet taffy (no egg yolks there).
There are two kinds of mooncakes-the baked ones, like ours at the top, and “snowskin” mooncakes. Given our lack of enthusiasm for the more traditional flavors, I decided to pick up some double chocolate snowskin mooncakes from Polar at Great World city.
“Snowskin” refers to the fact that they are cold and must be kept in the fridge. I was told to take them out about 20 minutes before serving them.
Okay, so it’s basically a giant chocolate truffle, but it allows those of us who have limited palates to participate, so it’s not all bad 🙂 They were okay, if very rich (duh, double chocolate).
If you want to see more mooncakes, go to this gallery of more than 25 different kinds (including Angry Birds shaped mooncakes).