The Mid-autumn Festival is an old festival celebrated by the Chinese, but mooncakes, the indispensable food that goes with the festival have now becomes a trendy concept that local and western confectioneries like to trope on.
Whatever the various myths that give rise to the festival to be celebrated Saturday, the festival is now a public holiday for family members to get together to enjoy a night of glittering, colorful lanterns, the once-a-year opportunity to enjoy the made mooncakes to be washed down with a cup of fragrant Chinese tea in the evening lit up by the roundest and brightest full moon of the year.
This year saw so many Chinese confectioneries and restaurants here jump on the bandwagon of mooncake manufacturing, including Wing Wah, Kee Wah, Maxims, Taipan, Guangzhou Jiujia amd Heng Heung,and St. Anna. Even a western ice-cream confectionery, Haagen Daz came up with a new concept to create what it calls ice-cream mooncakes.
Mooncakes made here are selling like hot cakes not just in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Special Region (HKSAR), but also in the Guangdong Province. This year, apart from the brands traditionally sold at the Guangzhou Department Store, other Hong Kong manufacturers like Kei Wah and St Anna have placed their own counters there.
A local survey found that a box of traditional mooncakes weighing 750 grams with each bleached lotus seed paste containing two duck-egg yokes can cost between 72 Renminbi (US$8.6) and 283 Renminbi (US$34), while those with dried ham and nuts ranging between 68 Renminbi (US$8.1) and 168 Renminbi(US$20.2) The special so called white mooncakes that are of more recent inventions cost between 118 Renminbi (US$14.2) and 168 Renminbi (US$20.2).
Well, if you do not know which brand or type of mooncake to go for, why not go for a box of 10 moocakes jointly produced by 10 top mooncake manufacturers across China.
This year, ten old-name and top-selling manufacturers from Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, the Hong Kong SAR, Xi'an, Dalian of Liaoning Province and Taiyuan of Shanxi province, Hangzhou of Zhejiang Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Kunming in Yunnan Province have joined hands in bringing a best mooncake of their brand names in for a collection. It is called "Guobingshijia" or Ten of the Best Mooncakes of China. There you will find a number of Guangdong-style mooncakes, supplemented by aBeijing styled mooncake and a Jiangsu-styled mooncake and a Shanxi-style mooncake. The collection is said to be sold for about 1,000 Renminbi (US$120.4).
Delifrance, a French-styled cafe, is currently promoting the Haagen Daz ice-cream-filled mooncakes or more appropriately "mooncake-shaped ice-cream."
Each box contains eight mooncakes made with eight ice-cream flavors including Belgian Chocolate, Cookies and Cream, Cappuccino,Macadamia Nut, Mango, Strawberry, Vanilla and Chocolate Midnight Coockies.
But as the Chinese saying goes, "How is one supposed to appreciate the moon without tea at mid-autumn?"
A Chinese restaurant owner in Hong Kong has give such an advice: mooncakes with ham and nuts in it should be go with Pu'er tea or Longjing tea, lotus seed paste mooncake with Wulong tea.
(People's Daily September 18, 2002)