Monday, September 15, 2008

Trips: Mooncake Festival

I am celebrating my Chinese roots. If you don't already know, I am 1/4th Chinese, my angkong is Cantonese. I haven't had the chance to meet him because he died before I was born but they said that he was a book lover, too. I guess his genes has rubbed off on me.

I may not look Chinese and I may not know how to speak Mandarin and Fookien, aside from counting from 1-100 even though I took a few units of both in college (hahahaha I passed of course, my aunt was the instructor!). I can understand when my mom and her sister talk, though but not much but that was a few years ago! I'm sure I'm quite rusty when it comes to those languages.

We went to Chinatown on Broadway Street in Los Angeles yesterday to experience their Mooncake Festival or the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is a popular East Asian tradition dating back over 3,000 years to moon worship in China's Shang Dynasty. The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar (usually around mid- or late-September in the Gregorian calendar), a date that parallels the Autumn and Spring Equinoxes of the solar calendar. The traditional food of this festival is the mooncake, of which there are many different varieties.

Mooncakes (simplified Chinese: 月饼; pinyin: yuè bĭng) are Chinese pastries traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4-5 cm thick. A thick filling usually made from lotus seed paste is surrounded by a relatively thin (2-3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are rich, heavy, and dense compared with most Western cakes and pastries. They are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea.

So much for that bit of history from Mr Wiki. I took a few shots of the festival while I was there but I still don't know how t manipulate my SLR so the shots didn't come out great because I used my point and shoot camera. I did manage to snap shots of the mooncake, though. I had Lotus seed with an egg yolk in the center. Mooncake is similar to the hopia that we have back in the Philippines, minus the yolk.

I wasn't able to see the Dragon Dance but I have seen the dance before back in Dumaguete so I think I'm good. I did see a couple of Chinese guys twirl plates and pots for about 10 minutes. They were really good!