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How to Celebrate the Moon Festival
Date:2013-09-10 16:07 From:yanzhu 【Print】 【Closed】 【Collection

Today, Chinese people celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival with dances, feasting and moon gazing. Not to mention mooncakes. While baked goods are a common feature at most Chinese celebrations, mooncakes are inextricably linked with the Moon festival. One type of traditional mooncake is filled with lotus seed paste (see side photo). Roughly the size of a human palm, these mooncakes are quite filling, meant to be cut diagonally in quarters and passed around. This explains their rather steep price (around $5.00 in Canada). A word of caution: the salty yolk in the middle, representing the full moon, is an acquired taste.

More elaborate versions of mooncakes contain four egg yolks (representing the four phases of the moon). Besides lotus seed paste, other traditional fillings include red bean paste and black bean paste. Unfortunately for dieters, mooncakes are rather high in calories.

While in the past mooncakes took up to four weeks to make, automation has speeded up the process considerably. Today, mooncakes may be filled with everything from dates, nuts, and fruit to Chinese sausages. More exotic creations include green tea mooncakes, and ping pei or snowskin mooncakes, a Southeast Asian variation made with cooked glutinous rice flour. Haagen-Daz has even gotten into the act by introducing a line of ice cream mooncakes in Asian markets.

Given the difficulty of making them, most people prefer to purchase their mooncakes instead of making them. You'll find them at Asian bakeries beginning around mid-August. Meanwhile, for those with a culinary bent, here are several recipes.

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