Happy Mid Autumn Festival, guys! Did you spend the night gazing at the full moon?
I didn’t, because the haze in Malaysia was too thick. .___.”
For those who don’t know, the Mid Autumn Festival (or Mooncake Fest as we like to call it here!) is a traditional celebration by Chinese and Vietnamese communities all around the world to mark the autumn harvest and to celebrate family unity and togetherness. The festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th month in the Chinese lunar calendar – meaning that the moon is always full on that day.
In Malaysia, Malaysian-Chinese like myself observe it by having a meal with the family (mooncakes is a must), tote paper lanterns around the neighbourhood and play with leftover candles on the sidewalk or in front of our homes (As a kid, I liked to melt cheap wax candles into a puddle and scrape them off when they were slightly hardened.. weird child that I was.)
We had a mini ‘pre-celebration’ before the actual fest… with what else but good food?
For lunch, we had three kinds of roasted meat from my favourite roast meat shop – Soon Lok in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. I’ve been eating here for years and their roast duck is simply divine, especially when it’s fresh from the oven: crispy on the outside with a melty layer of fat underneath, and juicy meat devoid of that gamey smell duck is infamous for. The roast pork was a bit too fatty but the skin was crunchy and salty.
Roast chicken was decent, pretty tasty but a little dry. Spice it up with some takeaway garlic chilli sauce or soy/sweet sauce. You don’t even know how many bowls of rice I can eat with these to go with them. 😀
The place also dishes out ‘dun tong‘ or double-boiled (?) soup. My dad’s fave is the preserved vegetable duck soup because my grandma used to make it when she was still alive. The soup has a sour, tangy flavour that whets the appetite.
No Mooncake Fest would be complete without the mooncakes! Mum bought these homemade ones from a restaurant.
I realise that a lot of people overseas outside of the Chinese community do not know what these are. Mooncakes are round (because it symbolises unity and togetherness), baked pastries with various fillings, from red bean and black bean paste to more modern variants like chocolate and green tea. There are a few legends surrounding the origin of the mooncake, one being that they were offered by a merchant to the Chinese emperor Taizong, who liked the ‘cakes’ which became a popular snack. Another spoke of how Han Chinese used the mooncakes to relay messages, helping them to overthrow Mongol rule.
Whatever the case, the pastries are a sweet, yummy treat for everyone 🙂
Happy MidAutumn Fest!