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Moon Cakes in China

A moon cake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a kind of cookie with various fillings and different artistic pattern patterns on the surface. Most moon cakes consist of a thin, tender pastry skin enveloping a sweet, dense filling, and may contain one or more whole salted egg yolks in their center as the symbol of the full moon.

In the Tang Dynasty, the name moon cake  was firstly used. And then because of a famous legend Chang E rushing to the moon, the moon cakes become more popular among common people. Traditional moon cakes have an imprint on top consisting of the Chinese characters for "longevity" or "harmony", as well as the name of the bakery and the filling inside. Generally, moon cakes are divided into four types: Cantonese-style, Suzhou-style, Beijing-style and Yunnan-style, and the fillings are usually five kernels, lotus seed paste, sweet bean paste, jujube paste, and egg yolk.


Beijing-style moon cake: It is representative of northern moon cakes. There are two typical traditional moon cakes. One, called Red moon cake. It is made by white sugars, nuts and rock sugar residues, with a red circle and several holes on the surface to make the cake more soft when baking. The other, called White moon cake, is a flaky, white dough with a characteristic of osmanthus fragrance.


Cantonese-style moon cake: Originating from Guangdong province, the Cantonese style moon cake has multiple variations. Take the Cantonese-style moon cake with five smashed nuts as an example, it includes mashed cashews, smashed sesame seed, smashed almonds, smashed peanuts, smashed egusi seeds. The ingredients used for the fillings are various, and some elaborate versions contain four egg yolks, representing the four phases of the moon. Recently, there are coming new variations such as chocolate, ice-cream and jelly, arising a new delicacies trend.


Suzhou-style moon cake: This style began more than a thousand years ago, and is known for its layers of flaky dough and generous allotment of sugar and lard. Suzhou-style moon cakes feature both sweet and savory types, the latter served hot and usually filled with pork mince. Filling made from salt and pepper are common in flaky Suzhou-style moon cakes.


Yunnan-style moon cake: Originated and popular in the Yunnan and Guizhou area, its distinctive feature is the combination of various flours for the dough, and includes rice flour, wheat flour, and buckwheat flour.  Flower cake is the most popular cakes in Yunnan. Its crust is loose and soft and the fillings are mostly sweet.


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About the author

Carrie is an experienced traveler herself who has traveled to many countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, USA, etc. She thinks travel is one of the most important things in her life.


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