Happy Mid-Autumn Moon Festival ! Or as I’d rather say, 中秋節快樂 ! (zhōngqiū jié kuàilè !)
This post is about a month late but considering how I started this blog yesterday – there was no way that I would not include a post in regards to the harvest moon!
Aside from the Chinese lunar new year, this is my absolute favourite Chinese holiday that I celebrate & this one is the third consecutive one celebrated with my love (who is not of Chinese descent). For those that may not have background knowledge of this holiday, my default resource link would direct you to here.
For me, it’s an occasion to spend time with loved ones, drink some delicious tea & eat mooncakes while looking at the gorgeous harvest moon hanging in the sky – Earth’s satellite, an orbiting black miniature planet that is illuminated for us on Earth to see by the radiation of the Sun.
Leading up to this, my fiancé & I were scoping out optimal moon-viewing spots. We opted for the top floor of the parking structure of our apartment complex. The sixth story. We then packed an assortment of mooncakes, cut into fourths & brought along a thermos of some oolong (or rather, gaoshan) tea that I procured from an exquisite teahouse in Taiwan a couple years ago (since the tea is oxidised, it keeps really well, or at least I tell myself that, sometimes I tend to reserve tea that I treasure because I want it to last as long as possible..until the next visit, whenever that is – can you relate?). My fiancé drove our truck to the top of the structure, bedded down the back of our truck with an old blanket & we sat in the back of the truck with our moon-viewing snacks. It was romantic of course, but in general, a lovely time! We look forward to the years we’ll spend together & with our future children, celebrating the harvest moon.
We had spent a bit of time to plan out the evening. About a week prior, I Googled where the nearest Asian grocery store would be to buy mooncakes – luckily there was a Ranch 99 nearby. There were two rows of mooncake giftboxes of varying assortments there, I was ecstatic. The most traditional sort would contain lotus bean paste & duck egg yolk, which is delicious in a savoury way however I had another variety in mind – tea flavoured ones by Sheng Kee Bakery. This company originates from Taiwan & they have production facilities in the Bay Area as well as retail bakery locations (I will have to keep this in mind whenever I am in the Bay). I highly advise that you check out this Sheng Kee link, even if you don’t speak or read Chinese.. the site has this amazing & epic video short that gives you some insight on how they make mooncakes – it’s heartwarming & impressive, if not a great comical view.
The cakes themselves are so delicious, it’ll be hard for me to deviate from purchasing these again. The giftbox that we bought contained a dozen cakes & the flavours were the following: green tea (綠茶 lǜchá), oolong (烏龍 wūlóng), citron (柚子 yòuzi)), jasmine (茉莉花 mòlìhuā), dried longan (桂圆 guìyuán), which to us, tasted reminiscent of date, & matcha chestnut (抹茶栗子 mǒchá lìzi). The jasmine was a delicate floral, not too strong. The fiancé tends to dislike floral flavours, yet he actually liked this one. All-in-all, we loved them & continued making tea & having mooncake tastings each night after dinner until they were all gone. I jokingly told my fiancé that we should stock up on clearance-priced mooncakes & have mooncakes all the time; he pointed out that we might get sick of them otherwise.. As much as I do love mooncakes, I conceded – I love that we eat them only during this time of year. It makes for that fantastic briskness, ushering in autumn & days of leaves changing warm hues. Cozy sweaters & wraps, perhaps a scarf to accommodate. Not to mention the welcome hot cups of tea to push the day forward, or to wind down. & eventually replaced by mulled cider or wine.
Until next year, when the moon is especially huge & brightly tinted saffron in the sky.