Types Of Traditional Mooncake
September 05, 2019 | Blog
You might’ve already heard the legend behind the mid-autumn festival, or the “mooncake festival”, which revolves around married couple Hou Yi and Chang’e. To prevent its theft, Chang’e drank the elixir of immortality Hou Yi had been given, and stayed on the moon to be close to her husband. Commemorative mooncakes and fruit are offered on the anniversary of this event. This tale might be ubiquitous, but the types of mooncakes offered in various regions remain mostly unheard of. Check our list and see how many of these traditional mooncakes you’ve sampled!
You can definitely tick these mooncakes off! These are the more conventional mooncakes sold in the market, and can be found regularly in shopping malls, food stores, and various other locations throughout the mid-autumn festival period. Though modern mooncake makers now offer a wide array of new flavours, the most popular fillings are the traditional lotus paste with salted duck egg yolk, or red bean paste coated with a thin golden-brown crust. The egg yolk remains a prominent feature in most mooncakes, as it symbolises the fullness of the harvest moon and is a sign of good luck.
During China’s dynastic times, scholars sat for the Imperial Examination to fill administrative positions within the imperial court. Hokkien mooncakes, then known as Scholar Mooncakes, were arranged in order to reflect each imperial grade’s positions, with the top scholar receiving the largest mooncake. Today, it is traditionally still given to children and teens studying for their exams. Each mooncake resembles a white disc, filled with a mix of candied winter melon, tangerine peel, melon seeds, sugar and lard, resulting in the mooncake’s sweet, dried flavour. One side of the pastry is also coated in sesame seeds for added fragrance.
There are a variety of Teochew mooncakes depending on the region. However, signature Teochew mooncakes are recognisable through their yam filling with salted duck egg, which come in two very different forms. These are either encased in a spiral-shaped flaky pastry crust, or in the form of a flatter, brown biscuit which might be filled alternatively with mung bean paste or lotus seed paste. Their flaky pastry is credited to the pork oil that is traditionally mixed into the flour, resulting in their Chinese name la bia, translated directly to mean “lard biscuit”.
A marked departure from the usual golden-brown mooncakes, Hakka mooncakes instead have white coatings made from cooked glutinous rice flour and sugar to form a powdery exterior. One of the rarest mooncakes, they generally contain mung beans and lotus seeds, making them one of the sweeter mooncakes on the scale. Rather than the generic patterns of commercial mooncakes, their exteriors are generally adorned with shapes of animals and flowers, or stamps of Chinese characters.
Eager to start celebrating Mooncake Festival the right way? Head over to your nearest Village Grocer to get your mooncake box, perfect for sharing with the family!
Keep it fresh,
Your friendly neighbourhood grocer.