Sunday, September 27, 2015


Mooncakes (月饼 yuèbǐng/ywair-bing) are Chinese pastries with highly-varied fillings, generally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. This year it falls on September 27th (the date not just of a full moon but also, in much of the world, a lunar eclipse).
In Malaysia, these cakes are normally stuffed with a variety of fillings, often based on lotus seeds, nuts or sweet bean-paste, and with or without egg yolk. But there are also other types of fillings and they include chocolate, coffee, durian, green tea, pandan and yam. In China organic and vegan mooncakes are also having a moment.
My favorite: Frosty Durian Musang King mooncake, RM32 for 2 pieces @ Dragon-I Restaurant, Sunway Pyramid
But hey, these innovations are wonderful. Fuchsia Dunlop, a British authority on Chinese food, notes that “cuisines are living cultural artefacts…they are a response to where we are now”.
And where we are now is a world so connected to (nearly) everything and anything. Chinese cuisine – including mooncakes – is no longer confined in the Sinosphere. Like everything and anything else that is Chinese – they are reaching out to the world.

Who would have thought that mooncakes were once used in the Ming dynasty to hide secret messages for the Han Chinese revolt?

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