Archive for September 19th, 2007

Mooncake Festival

Once again the Mooncake (Mid Autumn, 中秋) or Lantern Festival is coming again. And it’s time to eat my favourite 月餅 (mooncake) but not too much due to my high cholesterol…

Of course, the Mid Autumn festival or whatever name you called it, is on the 15th of August under the Lunar month. Just like the past few years, the mooncakes are already for sale even before the start of Chinese 7th Month! Can’t blame them, selling mooncakes is getting more and more competitive.

When I was just about 4 or 5 years old, I remember it was a time of reunion of family members. All would gather together in the evening and had our dinner. After dinner, the children will gather together in the open field or playground or backyard to play with their simple lanterns. The adults will prayed with their offerings and after that, we will feast on the mooncakes or other food.

The above is me holding a simple lantern in Sep 1966, about 41 years ago. Life was simple but happy then.

Later when we shifted to Haig Road in the 70s, the Mid Autumn festival was celebrated with just a simple meal without the lanterns. Probably my brother and I thought we were in our teens and shouldn’t be playing the lanterns. Lantern or no lantern, here are some food that are related to the Mid Autumn festival;

1. Traditional Piglets in basket;

Photo credit : Henley46

These plain little piglets were my favourites when I was a kid. They were usually given free when you purchased mooncakes from the stall. Now you need to buy or pay for them…and there are different designs and of course more expensive.

2. Water caltrops ( 菱角);

These are actually a type of water chestnut. The look of these water caltrops may not attract the youngsters nowadays, and eating them also not easy.

Photo Credit : Exif

See the inside of this water caltrop;

Photo Credit : FoggyChan

3. Mini Yam;

Photo Credit : Neowy

Not really my favourite but taking a few bites is ok. Definitely not the whole piece for me…

4. Pomelo;

This is definitely a Multi-Use Pomelo. After eating the juicy fruit, the adults will usually dry the skin. The innovative one will used the skin to make into lanterns. Of course some preferred to wear the pomelo skin as a hat over their heads.

5. Mooncakes;

Finally my favourites…mooncakes. I still preferred the traditional types lotus seed with 2 salted eggs in it.

Some of the traditional shop names related to mooncakes are Tai Thong 大 同, Da Zhong Guo 大中囯 or Da Tong 大東, etc… Remember those traditional paperbags used to contain the boxes of mooncakes;

Photo credit : Kybrdgal

The boxes used to contain the mooncakes then were very similar in design and not so beautiful compared to now.

I remember in the 80s when I was still a regular in the Airforce, I did part-time marketing in mooncake (of course not allowed officially, but the enterprising me…). I checked the Yellow Pages for big corporations and I sent faxes to their personnel department to market Tai Thong (大 同) mooncakes. I went to Tai Thong at Gay World then (now at Mosque Street) and asked them for better discounts when I placed order from them. I even managed to get orders from staffs of Singapore Mint!

They are still using the traditional receipts;


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