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Mooncakes
Date:2013-09-10 16:10 From:yanzhu 【Print】 【Closed】 【Collection
Mooncakes are traditional Chinese pastries generally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The festival typically involves family getting together to share mooncakes while watching the moon.
 
Typical Chinese mooncakes are round in shape, and measure around 10 cm (4 inches) in diameter and 4-5 cm (2 inches) in thickness. Most mooncakes consist of a pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges shared by family members. They are generally served with Chinese tea, and very rarely, mooncakes are served steamed or fried.
 
Mooncakes are the must-eat food for the Mid-Autumn Festival. It was customary for house wives to prepare mooncakes at home when the festival was approaching. However, as the production is labor-intensive and they are widely available in markets, very few people make them at home nowadays. The price of mooncakes usually ranges from $ 10 (70 yuan) to $ 50 (340 yuan) for a box of four. However, very expensive mooncakes have appeared recently with some reaching thousands of yuan for a box.
 
The History of Mooncakes
 
The custom of eating mooncakes has it's origins in the uprising that ended the Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368). People in the Ming Dynasty that followed ate mooncakes every Mid-Autumn Festival to commemorate the uprising. Far from everyone looks back to the Yuan Dynasty nowadays, with mooncakes more a representation of the full Mid-Autumn moon in people's minds, and something nice to eat with family.
 
For more on how the custom of mooncake eating began see The History and Origins of the Mid-Autumn Festival.
 
Traditional Mooncakes
 
Fillings
Lotus Seed Paste Mooncakes Lotus seed paste mooncakes
The types of filling vary according to the region's tradition. The most used fillings are as follows:
 
Lotus seed paste (莲蓉, lían róng): It is made from dried lotus seeds. Lotus seed paste is considered by some people the most delicious and luxurious filling for mooncakes.
 
Sweet bean paste (豆沙, dòu shā): There are several types of sweet bean paste: mung bean paste, red bean paste and black bean potato paste. Red bean paste is the most commonly used filling for mooncakes.
 
Five kernel (五仁, wǔ rén): This filling consists of 5 types of nuts and seeds. The types of nuts and seeds vary according to different regions, but commonly used nuts and seeds include: walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, and almonds.
 
Egg Yolk Mooncakes Egg yolk mooncakes
Egg yolk: A whole salted egg yolk is placed in the center of mooncakes to symbolize the full moon.
 
Jujube paste: A sweet paste made from the ripe fruits of the jujube (date) plant. It is dark red in color.
 
Regional Varieties of Mooncakes
The variety of mooncakes varies according to different regions. The fillings used in mooncakes depend on local eating culture and tradition. The most popular variations include:
 
Cantonese-style mooncakes
 
Cantonese-style mooncakes originate from South China's Guangdong Province. The ingredients used in the fillings are various, which reflects the Guangdong people's adventurous nature in eating.  The most used ingredients include lotus seed paste, melon seed paste, ham, chicken, duck, roast pork, mushrooms, and egg yolks. Cantonese-style mooncakes taste sweet.
 
Suzhou-style mooncakes
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