Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mooncake Festival

Singapore is wrapping up its celebration of the Mooncake Festival (also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival, but as Singapore has no seasons, they call it Mooncake instead...or at least I think that's why). Anyway, the Mooncake Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese New Year. For us American kids, that means usually mid to late September.

I was intrigued by these little pastries when I first saw them on Orchard road. And no, they're nothing like Moon Pies that we eat in the States. These suckers are thick and more like a bready, cake. They cost anywhere from $10 to $50 US. Any pastry that can pull that much dough outta someone's wallet has got to be interesting at the very least. However, I had no idea what they were or what was in them. I heard several Chinese folk lore stories about how they originated from several people and even read some here on Wikipedia. They're pretty interesting.

Yesterday, when I went to my doctor's appointment. My doctor, in effort to make small talk, enquired about my experiences in Singaporean cuisine. I mentioned to him that I wanted to try one of these mysterious little cakes. Lo and behold, he just happened to have some in his office. He happily sent one home with me in a McDonald's paper sack. (Don't even get me started on that part.)
So here it is:
Isn't it pretty? It has Chinese characters on it and all these really complicated designs.

Inside is traditionally lotus seed paste and an egg yolk from a salted duck egg. The egg yolk is supposed to symbolize a whole moon. Thus, why it's named a mooncake. And since lotus seed paste is expensive, they will sometimes substitute bean paste. I don't know which mine was. I'd like to think I got an authentic, expensive one. :)

So I decided to suck it up and just try it even though I was a tad hesitant about the salted duck egg (remember folks, those are the black ones).

So it wasn't terrible. It was very dense and very rich. People don't usually eat a whole cake to themselves.

I only ate one bite. I may try some more later. I'm still warming up to it.

1 comment:

Cori said...

Leave it to the Singaporeans to ruin a cake by putting a salted duck egg in the center. (I'm feeling a little bitter tonight about that naval base that took you halfway across the world. No offense, Singapore.)