Special food has always played an integral part in any traditional Chinese event. For the Mid-Autumn Festival, which will be celebrated this year on Sept 15, the mooncake is a staple.
Mooncakes have become more diverse over the years. If you’ve had your fill of traditional flavors like red bean, *walnut *kernels, candied tangerine, *shredded coconut, white lotus or egg yolk, try something a bit more creative. Many hotels in Beijing have launched mooncake gift boxes with new fillings like egg custard, tiramisu paste and ham. Days before the festival, residents in cities like Shanghai and Suzhou queue around the block outside bakeries to grab their freshly baked meat or crab mooncakes. Ice-cream cakes are also worth a try, especially for those with a sweet tooth. The sugary snacks often feature a chocolate *crust and are filled with various delicious flavors of ice cream.
*Surplus mooncakes could be a “sweet burden” after the festival is over. To avoid waste, Sichuan Daily offers some recipes to re-use those leftover cakes, like mooncake porridge or salad. Most people mix beans with sugar and nuts to make soybean milk. For something different, try emptying the fillings of nut-flavored mooncakes into the soybean milk machine together with the beans. Generally, one normal-sized five-nut mooncake can be transformed into two bottles of soybean milk when mixing with 100g beans and 1,200ml water. It’s best not to fry leftover mooncakes as this will send their fat and calorie content sky high. A more obvious way to enjoy them without the guilt would be by combining them with fresh fruits and vegetables, suggests Zhang Ying, a nutritionist at The Third People’s Hospital of Chengdu.
Mid-Autumn isn’t all about the mooncakes. Other popular festival *delicacies include *taro, river snails, wine *fermented with *osmanthus flowers, duck, pumpkin and crab. Taro is often boiled, peeled and eaten after dipping in caster sugar – it’s even said to dispel bad luck. Autumn is considered the best time to enjoy duck and people across China all have their own special regional cooking methods for the bird. Nanjing Saltwater Duck, for example, is marinated and simmered with ginger, onion and star anise. Hairy Crab is also a highlight of the Mid-Autumn reunion dinner, especially in Shanghai and Jiangsu. Local people believe that the tastiest way to eat hairy crab is to steam it to keep its original flavor then pair with vinegar and bruised ginger.
Whether you’re a huge food fan or not, the Mid-Autumn festival is a time for getting together with family. So go spend some time catching up with the ones you love – just don’t forget to unbuckle your belt if you do have one too many mooncakes.
不论你是否是个吃货，中秋节都是阖家团圆的日子。所以多花些时间和你爱的人待在一起吧 —— 如果吃了太多月饼的话，别忘了松开腰带。