Today is the Mid autumn Moon Festival, a holiday celebrated in East Asia (known as Tet Trung Thu to the Vietnamese) to signify the end of the harvest season and the coming together of the community. After long months of toil in the fields during the summer months, the family is able to relax once again and enjoy the beginning of the fall season with their children by going out side to admire the full moon. (There’s a legend about that moon tradition too)
This is one of the many reasons why this holiday is known to be a “Children’s” festival with all sorts of games and activities for children especially the beautiful home made lantern traditions.
One thing about the Mid Autumn Moon Festival that is a foodie’s delight is the “moon cake”. Legend has it that during the Mongolian occupation of China in the 1200s, the Chinese rebel forces would transmit secret coded messages in this moon cake to signal the attack to win back the nation from the invaders on the night of the Mid Autumn Moon Festival.
These round moon shaped cakes come at quite a price, often around $8.00 each and $24.00 for a pack of four. I think one of the reasons why they are so expensive is because they are sold only once a year during the moon festival and also they are made of expensive ingredients. The original moon cake is made of lotus seed paste which can be quite expensive or red bean paste. There is also a moon cake made from various nuts and fruits, my least favorite. Inside the moon cake is a cooked egg yolk. These mooncakes are often given as gifts to friends and families and enjoyed with tea.
As time went on, these cakes evolved with various types of fillings like chocolate, ice cream, cream cheese and more.
Make sure you drop by your local Asian grocery and try some today before they go out of season 😀 put on by the UCF Vietnamese American Student Association for the Mid Autumn Moon Festival. Check it out! www.vasa.ucf.edu
so, what’s your favorite type of moon cake?
ps for those in the Orlando area, there is an awesome show going on this Sunday at UCF (Free!)