As I was strolling the aisles of the Asian Supermarket last week, I noticed multiple versions of a little, beautifully decorated dessert. They were everywhere. Big, small, and different flavours. I’d never seen them before so I did a little research and discovered they were moon cakes, a Chinese pastry filled with a sweet, red bean filling.
Moon cakes are eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, one of the biggest festivals in China after the Chinese New Year. The Mid-Autumnal Festival is when friends and family come together across China to celebrate the full moon and the harvest that has come from the year so far. It is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese calendar (1st October this year), and moon cakes are given as gifts amongst friends and family.
I was looking forward to sharing the small, yet substantial moon cake I picked up for me and my husband
I’ve got to say the inside was not very appealing. I hoped to share it with my husband whilst looking at the moon, but the rain and clouds put a stop to that. The moon cake smelled nice, but I really didn’t like the taste. I can’t describe it, but it could be that red bean is still an unusual flavour for me. Disappointingly, even though it looked beautiful, neither of us actually liked the moon cake, and we couldn’t finish it.
I was a bit ashamed I’d never heard of the Mid-Autumn Festival or moon cakes before now, considering how widely celebrated it is. It was only through chance and food-lust that I became aware of it, but I’m glad I did. It’s always interesting to see how other countries and cultures celebrate special holidays, and I was grateful that my hungry eyes led me on a path of discovery, as they so often do.