The Mid-Autumn Festival marks the end of the autumn harvest in East Asia, and always falls on the night of a full moon in the eighth month of the lunar calendar. In addition to representing the moon, these round pastries symbolize harmony and family reunion. As one legend goes, the goddess Chang’e took an elixir of immortality instead of giving it up to a thief, then fled to the moon. Her husband, devastated that he would never see his beloved wife again, left out her favorite treats as offerings to the moon. The tradition of eating mooncakes is shared by all people of Asian descent around the world during the Mid-Autumn Festival season.
Lotus seed paste mooncakes with salted egg yolk are a classic, but nowadays, there are so many more flavors to try. With jelly and mochi-like exteriors and fillings from durian to mixed nuts, you’ll want to grab a variety pack of these Mid-Autumn Festival pastries.
1. Lava Custard Mooncake
On the outside, this mooncake looks just like an ordinary pastry, but take a bite and a sweet custard filling will ooze out. The lava egg yolk adds a little surprise and extra flavor to this mooncake, which is usually filled with white lotus seed paste. It’s a must-try for fans of Cantonese steamed custard buns.
2. Snow Skin Mooncake
If you love mochi, you’ll love this mooncake. Made with glutinous rice, these mooncakes have a delectable chewy skin that comes in delicate pastels, with colorful fillings to match. Try a purple sweet potato mooncake or mix it up with a custard snow skin mooncake.
3. Jelly Mooncake
Often paired with fruit-flavored fillings and sometimes actual chunks of fruit, this no-bake mooncake can be made with agar or gelatin. Some jelly mooncakes are simply made with a clear jelly to showcase the beautiful layers of paste and fruit inside.
4. Five Kernels Mooncake
This Cantonese-style mooncake packs a nice crunch. Made of thinly-sliced walnuts, cashews, peanuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds, this pastry is held together by sweet corn syrup.
5. Savory mooncake
These meat-filled mooncakes are most popular in Shanghai and Suzhou. The minced-pork filling are baked into a thick, flaky crust and topped with sesame seeds. The balance between sweet and salty flavors is the perfect way to complete your Mid-Autumn Festival meal.