Monday, September 18, 2006

Mooncake Taste Test

I'm a little confused about the Moon Festival. Ok, so it is the 15th day of the 8th Lunar month? Or is it the Gregorian calendar? And, that is September 18th? Isn't it supposed to be on the full moon? Tonight, not so full. Oh, I've got some serious Chinese Culture Homework to do. I am further confused because the Moon Festival celebration in San Francisco is this weekend, September 23rd/24th and the Santa Clara celebration is September 30th/October 1st. Maybe it is kindof an extended sort of thing. Hmmm?

One good way to tell that it is Moon Festival season? Mooncakes. Does anyone else think that they are cute? All shiny-glazed and wrapped so nice. I thought that it would be fun for jzboy and I to do a little taste test of these special treats...so I dropped by a local Chinese bakery & picked up a couple.

Here is a pic Pre-Mooncake-Taste-Challenge:

So pretty!

The flavors that I chose were Jasmine Tea, Pomelo, Pineapple & Mixed Nuts. The one at 12 o'clock - yes, the half eaten one, was the Mixed Nuts. Sorry, I got a bit hungry & didn't think about the blog potential of this exercise until I was sitting in traffic on the way home.


Here is a pic Post-Mooncake-Taste-Challenge:

Quite a few leftovers...

We didn't know one flavor from the next until tasting. My favorite was the Jasmine Tea - I liked the subtle flavor, it smelled good and wasn't too sweet. The Mixed Nuts (which were jzboy's favorite) held the promise of an old fashioned pecan pie which is why it made the cut. Nice theory. I didn't like it much at all.

Neither of us liked the Pomelo. That was a huge bummer for me because I LOVE Pomelo. Love it. The consistency of the Pomelo Mooncake was really strange. Jzboy described it as similar to what happens "when you are chewing gum & then take a bite of food"...that gritty, mealy texture.

My best description of this candied fruit/marzipan-ish cute little treat is "Holiday Fruit Cake Meets Fig Newton".

I really wanted to love them.

Jzboy and I will embrace the Moon Festival Tradition in our family. Mooncake and all. So, we plan to try different flavors, different bakeries and maybe even baking one ourselves. Who knows what treats we may find at the SF Moon Festival this weekend?? I'll admit that I am quite intrigued by the prospect of mooncakes with a duck egg center. Maybe with a Har Gow chaser??

11 comments:

atomic mama said...

Fun post. I can still feel the gum/food sensation in my mouth...! I recently ordered up some (overpriced) moon cakes from China Sprout to arrive at the end of the month. Your first guess was right - go by the lunar calendar. The mid-autumn moon festival is Oct. 6 this year. Oct. 7 is a full moon... Have fun!

Mrs. D said...

Love the mooncakes! Red bean and lotus are hits in this house.

This weekend is also the Dragon Boat Festival on Treasure Island (10-5 both days, I think). DH and I are heading over for the first time, probably on Sunday.

- kristin

Natalee said...

Well, I don't know much about "moon cakes", but, being a Southern gal and all, I know a whole lot about "Moon Pies"!!

*wink*

walternatives said...

Your post motivated me to look up pomelos - I don't think thsse are commonly sold in my part of Texas. Have fun at the SF festival this weekend and thanks for posting the taste test.

Laura said...

What a great tradition! You are so smart!

don't know if this is related, but G's school is having a Harvest Moon Festival Oct. 7th?
Laura

Kathy and Joel said...

Very fun!! Joel and I wanted to taste some mooncakes when we went to the Chinese Lantern Festival here in Toronto, but we never got the chance. It is a priority for us now that we read your post, though, so I will report back my findings when we've tasted them!

Joannah said...

Hmm...

I think I'm going to have to find an Asian bakery around these parts.

Mariah said...

Fun! I may order some from China Sprout if I can't find an Asian bakery. Yeah, I hate food in my gum, yuck!

Wicked Witch said...

Before I read details about them, I assumed mooncakes were like the snowball stuff from Hostess. Dont you think those hot pink balls of marshmallow and coconut should also be called mooncakes?

Anonymous said...

I remeber last year and buying moon cakes. I tried to like them, but just did not. I told myself I would bake a cake that was in the shape of the moon for Miss Shayna. Now the day is almost here, and I am not sure. Glad you tried them.

Kelli said...

Red bean & lotus are my favorites...although I had two awesome ones in China that I've never found anywhere else: sweet green pea (YUM!!!) and coconut (so good!). Keep trying...just avoid the meat ones. yuck! The eggs in the center...keep trying...takes a few seasons of it but you'll get used to it!!!