The Mid-Autumn festival is approaching and there are many things to prepare for the festival. However, there is one essential thing that probably is the first priority for everyone, mooncake!
Mooncake is traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn festival and have been for centuries. It is said that during the 14th century Han Chinese used the mooncakes as a way of sending hidden messages to each other under Mongolian rule. They added messages to the insides of the mooncakes, which could spread the word without the Mongolians knowing (because they did not eat mooncakes). The story says that the message said to kill the rulers (the Mongolians) on the fifteenth day of the eighth lunar month, which is the day of Mid-Autumn Festival. In which they were successful and a new dynasty, the Ming Dynasty, started.
There are many many different flavours of mooncake. The different regions in china have different mooncakes that variates in taste, texture, shape and size. The most common and traditional flavours is lotus seed paste with salted egg yolk, sweet bean paste, jujube paste or mixed nuts. The flavour most found in Hong Kong is lotus seed paste with salted duck egg yolk. It is not only the traditional one but also one of the most popular tastes.
However, in recent years the flavours of mooncakes are getting wilder, more modern and innovative. The new flavours can range from jams, cream cheese, fruit, matcha, custard, coffee, chocolate, and as much as your fantasy can imagine. Not only the flavour is new but also the style of the mooncake. A popular type of mooncake is the Hong Kong origin snow mooncake. Which is a mooncake not baked like the traditional one. This type has a glutinous rice crust which is similar to japanese mochi and is served chilled. Some also offer jelly mooncake. Some companies have also transformed the mooncake to fit the changing needs of the society, and created vegan, gluten free and low sugar/low fat mooncakes.
Mooncakes can be found everywhere in the weeks before the Mid-Autumn festival. The most common places to purchase these wonderful cakes are bakeries. Some bakeries even transform their shop to only sell mooncakes. Because of the growing demand for mooncakes, several other industries have joined the fun. Hotels in Hong Kong also sell mooncakes these days. The different hotels put a lot of effort into producing high quality mooncakes as well as their boxes. The boxes are extremely special and nice to look at. Price also variates between the hotel and between the different boxes they offer.
Other companies that have joined the mooncake trend are chain restaurants, snack brands and other retailers. Some examples is KFCs chicken mooncake, The Royal Caviar Clubs caviar and black truffle snow mooncake and mini egg custard with abalone.
The mooncakes is used not only as a snack but also as a gift to family, friends, coworkers and relatives. Weeks before the Mid-Autumn Festival people purchase the mooncake to prepare gifts and have mooncakes at home. It is said however, that the mooncakes are becoming more of a gift than actual snacks and families will have mooncake for weeks after the Mid-Autumn festival. It is important to note that the mooncake is divided into smaller pieces and shared. The cake is very heavy, sweet and filling so people like to enjoy it in smaller portions. The mooncakes are enjoyed with family after the main dinner on the day of the full moon, but also with friends after the duty with the family is done.
Mooncakes are usually round or squared shaped. They are also decorated with beautiful patterns and words on top. Traditionally the mooncake is decorated with words like, longevity, harmony or other words for good fortune. However, these days the name of the bakery or the taste is written on the mooncake. Some special brands and bakeries also produce mooncakes with slogans related to the movement to support the demonstrations. There is a huge variety of design, ranging from rabbits, to moons and patterns.
What is your favourite mooncake flavour?
traditional mooncake - https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/leisure/2017/09/04/mooncakes-from-heaven-hong-kongs-sweet-obsession/
Vegan mooncake The Cakery - https://www.thecakery.com/
Godiva - https://godiva.com.hk/chocolate/new-seasonal/mid-autumn-2020.html
The Fortum and Mason - https://www.fortnumandmason.com/