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A simple but pure festival tradition

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2013-09-19 09:18

A simple but pure festival tradition

The zilaihong mooncakes made by China World Hotel in Beijing.

For example, Cantonese-style mooncakes typically use red lotus paste, white lotus paste and mashed bean stuffing. Mashed jujube is mostly Beijing style. Yunnan-style mooncakes use ham and rock sugar.

But over time, styles have changed, and people cannot always distinguish mooncakes by region.

"For instance, everybody uses five nuts for stuffing, no matter where they live," chef Wang says.

There are different stories about the origin of mooncakes, which are believed to be around 1,000 years old. The moon cake was an offering to the god of the moon, and for the Chinese the round shape means "reunion".

Lin Huoxiong, director of research and development with Imperial Palace Cantonese Restaurant, says Cantonese people always eat mooncakes with tea.

"It is usually paired with chrysanthemum, pu'er or tieguanyin (a Fujian oolong)," he says.

His restaurant, which opened in Beijing in 2002, makes both Cantonese-style mooncakes and a Chaozhou-style crispy crust moon cake adapted from a popular turnip crispy cake.

While Cantonese mooncakes are softer than Beijing zilaihong, Chaozhou-style mooncakes are crispy and soft. The Imperial Palace restaurant's handmade Chaozhou-style crispy mooncakes have become very popular and widely copied.

As a Hakka, Lin says his childhood favorite is moon cake with double egg yolk. Brand names such as Guangzhou Restaurant and Lianxianglou are famous for their moon cake production and half-processed products such as lotus paste.

He Xuehuan, executive chef with In & Out Yunnan Restaurant, is a member of the Naxi ethnic group. His family still offers mooncakes to the moon during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

A simple but pure festival tradition

A simple but pure festival tradition

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