Mooncakes 月餅 anyone? For the year 2011, The Mid - Autumn Festival or better known as the Mooncake festival falls on a Monday, this Sept. 12, 2011. It started way back during the Chinese Dynasties, with traditions and practices passed from generations to generations, from old time simple mooncakes and simple celebrations, to more than a dozen kinds of mooncakes, and more exotic varieties to choose from.
Mooncakes 月餅 - nowadays even have flavors that include Pandan, Ube, Chocolate and the classic Black mongo and Red mongo. I even came across mooncakes that have ice cream in them. I remember I even brought home a box of 4 from Hong Kong and then bringing it back for my mom and dad to taste.
It is such a shame though that the mooncake festival, considered as the second most important holiday in the Chinese calendar (next to Chinese New year) is not so much celebrated here in the Philippines. Unlike in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and even Singapore, where the festivities lasts for more than a month, family bonding time and a celebration of mooncakes as well. But Chinoys in the Philippines do still practice that tradition, even in their own simple ways.
Other than the gift of mooncakes to family and friends, there is also The Dice Game. Where family members play for the roll of the dice with corresponding prizes to be given away. So what is this post really about? Well, this is a food blog, then it definitely and must be about mooncakes!
I still remember the days when mooncakes which were sold in Far Eastern Restaurant in the 80's and now Royal Garden, were having long lines for their mooncakes, considered as the best in town. I myself have experienced waiting in line for 2 hours before I was able to get my mooncakes. But times have changed, and even though they still do sell mooncakes, a large market for imported mooncakes from Hong Kong and Taiwan have arrived to our shores, and can be seen in almost all major supermarkets in the metro, unlike before where you can only get mooncakes in Chinatown.
So what do we have in mooncakes that is making everyone crave for one. Well first of all, you have familiarize yourself with terminologies only heard in the language of Mooncakes, with such terms as Lotus and Yolk, you might mistake yourself on why such a mooncake is more expensive than the others. Most part of the mooncake is like mongo paste filing. But new ones even include white beans or red beans.
And so far as I have seen from the stands here in Chinatown, Hong Kong brands have been up for the past few years, with exotic flavors such as Abalone and great packaging as well. But in my case, Eng Bee Tin, for me makes the best mooncakes which fit the Filipino Palette. A little sweet but just enough to keep you craving for more.
On their stands are the classic black mongo beans mooncake, the white bean mooncake, the red bean mooncake and the newer ones include ube mooncake, pandan mooncake and more. With your choice of 1 yolk or 2 yolks, the yellow in the middle is the yolk. They even have white lotus, Mixed nuts, Ham and nuts and more! Just see how many combinations you can make with these mooncakes.
So head out to Chinatown and get the best 月餅 mooncakes in town. By the way, just so you know mooncakes are available throughout the year not just during the Mooncake festival.
Far Eastern Mooncake
Royal Garden Restaurant, Inc.
Ongpin cor. Sabino Padilla St. (formerly Gandara)
Eng Bee Tin Mooncake
All over Ongpin and in supermarkets
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