Food - Drink
What Are Mooncakes, And When Do You Eat Them?
With fall around the corner, you may start to notice pictures of mooncakes popping up on your social media feed, and you can even spot them in-person at East Asian bakeries and markets. Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese pastry associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar.
Most mooncakes are made with a thin, chewy, flaky crust stuffed with various fillings, including ones with mixed nuts, red bean, salted egg yolks, white lotus, and savory versions made with pork. Modern confectioners experiment with mooncake fillings containing fruit, yams, flowers, custard, chocolate, coffee, and matcha.
The most common type of mooncake is the Cantonese version, filled with a sweet and salty paste of lotus seeds and duck egg yolk. Mooncakes have been used as offerings during the Mid-Autumn Festival for 3,000 years, and even after centuries of evolution and development, it still takes bakers up to eight hours to make a single batch.
As time-honored as they are, mooncakes have a somewhat polarizing flavor and a surprisingly high fat and sugar content; a single small cake has an average calorie count of 716. However, for a once-a-year celebration with millennia of tradition behind it, the annual indulgence of mooncakes is beyond worth it for the pastry's fans.