The other day I posted about the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival known as Zhōngqiū Jié which ends tomorrow, September 19th. It celebrates the harvest season and the full moon. The customary gift is known as the moon cake. Because of it’s ubiquity during the season it’s hated by many. Some view it like the fruit cake – something never to be eaten, only to be re-gifted. Others don’t like the taste, despite efforts to make it more popular.
Reading about the strong reactions made me curious to try a few. It’s only about a 40 minute walk from home to the Brooklyn Chinatown in Sunset Park which on a cool night is very doable. The area hosts scores of bakeries, most of which had tables setup in front with people hawking pre-boxed mooncakes made locally. Prices range from $15-$40 depending on size and filling. Other boxes made in China were available at corner delis for as low as $8.
I purchased a red bean mooncake at HFB bakery which was sweet and very rich. Because of language barrier I wasn’t able to find one of the traditional flavors, lotus seed paste until I hit Dragon Bay Bakery. They had the brilliant idea of a moon cake menu with prices in English and Chinese. Here I picked up a regular and a snowy mooncake both with lotus seed paste. The latter is made with rice flour. The lotus has an interesting sesame meets peanut butter flavor and pairs excellent with black tea.
Since I didn’t grow up with receiving moon cakes, I enjoyed this seasonal treat. If I have another opportunity to try moon cakes next year I’ll be adventurous and eat the watermelon and egg yolk flavor or even Durian. Anyone tried those flavors before?
The festival ends on September 19th so check them out now!