Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mooncakes for the mid-autumn festival

It was Mid-Autumn Festival on Tuesday and I thought I would share with you a traditional delicacy that is everywhere in Hong Kong this time of year - the mooncake.

First though, I must apologise for the atrociously out-of-focus photo. I have been suffering from the flu and for most of this week I've been shaking like a leaf, hence the ropey shot.

Mooncakes have an unusual taste and are probably not what the average westerner would call a cake - they're neither sweet nor sour and, although I don't really like them, they are strangely addictive!

The outside is an intricately decorated pastry crust, which contains the rather stodgy not-quite-peanut-butter, not-quite-marzipan flavour lotus paste plus an added bonus - a salted duck egg yolk, which symbolises the moon.

Of course, nothing is sacred and modern versions abound - from strawberry and pineapple flavoured fillings to the full on Haagen-Dazs ice-cream version. However the yucky one above is the real thing!