The Mid Autumn Festival
September 25, 2018
Here I am, fashionably late to all the other mid-autumn festival posts currently circulating the web. Exam week has got me constantly on my toes, trying to find whatever time I can to cram for my assessments. Yet, here I am, procrastinating by doing what I love. :)
For those who are unfamiliar with The Mid-Autumn Festival, it is a traditional Chinese celebration held on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. The festival is in a sense the Chinese parallel to the traditional American thanksgiving and celebrates family, friendship, and harvest.
The Cornell Chinese Student Association hosts an annual mid-autumn festival, but I was unfortunately unable to attend this year due to work reasons. Thus, this week’s lifestyle ties back to something a little more…Brad & Butter.
In general, Chinese cuisine isn’t known for intricate pastries or sweet. Our desserts tend to be simple, rustic, and heavily reliant on flavor. One exception to this is the mooncake, which is no doubt one of my favorite pastries of ANY kind. Here’s a couple reasons why I’m in love with these intricate desserts:
Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence | Every time I take a personality trait test, this always seems to come up. I guess it makes sense that I find mooncakes unbelievably attractive due to the intricate designs. Sometimes I almost think they’re too pretty to eat.
Easy to Customize | Since the bulk of the mooncake’s flavor comes from it’s filling, you have the choice to really create any sort of flavor profile you want. In addition to the traditional flavors, I’ve seen chocolate or matcha inspired mooncakes.
Flavor Bomb | While mooncakes are very dense and very sweet, traditional Chinese fillings do a great job to cut through the sugar with earthy, herbal flavors. My personal favorites include lotus seed paste, red bean paste, and salted egg yolk.
Rich Culture & History | While I won’t go into much detail about the origins of mooncake, I was always fascinated by the intricate carvings pressed into the outer layer of the pastries. Back in the day the press for moon cakes were each hand-carved out of wood. Truly an art in itself.
Mooncake Varieties & Where to Get Them
Mooncakes are actually quite easy to make, but my memories of mooncakes are tied to the packaged, industrial ones. Of course, they come in a variety of flavors, sizes, and designs all native to their own brands.
Personally, my favorite brand that is accessible in the U.S. is Maxim’s, but if you really want a treat, I would go with the traditional ones from Xing Hua Lou.
I hope this post has inspired those who have yet to try mooncakes to get on amazon and order some because these guys are actually so delicious. Honestly, I would learn to make them and eat them on any occasion (hint nudge), but for now, let’s jut stick to them for our mid-autumn festivities.
Until next time!