Five Mooncakes to Try this Mid-Autumn’s Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋节 or Zhōngqiū jié in Chinese) is a harvest festival held every fall. It is one of China’s most important holidays. The China Institute will be holding our Mid-Autumn Festival for families and children on Saturday, September 10 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm!
As a Chinese person, the Mid-Autumn festival dinner is one of the most important meals of the year. Think “Chinese Thanksgiving” if you will, and with its extravagant menu, comes extravagant mooncake! After all, this day is also known as Mooncake Day, and it is the perfect excuse to indulge in these decadent and tasty pastries! Packaged in beautifully designed tin or card boxes and coming in all colors and flavors, the mooncake is very versatile. The rich crust can be filled with meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and so much more. Here are just 5 popular mooncake fillings to try this Mid-Autumn Festival!
1. Egg Yolk: This is the mooncake I was most familiar with growing up. Once you cut through the sweet lotus seed or red bean paste, the salted duck egg in the center looks just like a moon! In Chinese culture, the full moon represents prosperity and togetherness. The savory and sweet combination is the traditional mooncake and it popular in Southern China areas like Guangdong and Hong Kong.
2. Five Kernal: This classic mooncake is filled with a combination of five types of nuts and seeds such as walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, and almonds. They are held together with maltose syrup. There is also a version that features roast pork!
3. Seafood: Now this is a pricey filling! These lavish mooncakes can have anything from seaweed to shark fin inside them and they naturally have a salty taste.
4. Ice cream: Yes I said ice cream! And with a chocolate crust, you can’t go wrong. Some even still have an egg yolk in them. These sweet mooncakes have risen in popularity in recent years especially with the young people.
5. Cream Cheese: This is perhaps the most modern mooncake I have found. Enclosed in a crispy crust, the cream cheese can be mixed with other flavors. It can range from sweet to savory depending on what is inside. This is probably the easiest to DIY to suit your tastes!
Now if there is anything I have learned from all these mooncake flavors, it’s that anything can be a mooncake and there are no boundaries. One simple google search leads to thousands of innovative recipes on Pinterest including cheesecake, tiramisu and even jelly! This just gives us more delicious options to chow down on!
When September 10th rolls around, if find yourself without a wedge of mooncake…stop by China Institute’s FREE Mid-Autumn Festival for a bite!
– By Lisa He