The Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the 8th lunar month, falls on October 4 this year. During this traditional Chinese festival families honor the season of reunion by joining to light their lanterns and enjoy the sight of the full moon, which symbolizes family reunion. This is also why the holiday is also known as the ‘Festival of Reunion’. During the evening celebrations, which top ten traditional foods are a must for families to enjoy in the bright moonlight? Let's see which one are your favorites!
1. Moon Cakes
Photo: Chinese American Family
A mooncake is a delicately-stuffed round cake, symbolizing family reunions and best wishes. It is the most traditional and important food of the Mid-Autumn Festival. The cake is often exchanged as a gift between family and friends during the festival to convey their best wishes. There are all kinds of mooncakes to choose from. What's especially important about mooncakes is their filling. The traditional fillings are sweetened bean paste, jujube paste and nut paste. Nowadays, new fillings are being invented and produced all the time, such as chocolate cream, jam and dried fruit.
2. Hairy Crab
Photo: Global Times
During Mid-Autumn Festival, hairy crab -- rich in protein and amino acids -- is probably one of most sought-after delicacies among Chinese people. Crabs are ready to lay their eggs around the time of the festival, meaning they are at their tastiest right then. A plate of steamed hairy crabs dressed with ginger and vinegar is always featured as the highlight of the Mid-Autumn Festival reunion dinner.
3. Osmanthus Cake
It's tradition in China to enjoy osmanthus cake during Mid-Autumn Festival. They may be preferred because Mid-Autumn Festival is when the osmanthus flowers are in full bloom. Enjoying the sweet-scented osmanthus cake and wine also represents family reunion and a happy life.
4. Lotus Root
Every year, the lotus root harvesting season falls around the Mid-Autumn Festival. With the coming of autumn, it's getting cold and windy outside. Lotus root foods contain essential minerals like copper and valuable complex vitamins which are good for increasing the appetite. The steamed lotus root stuffed with glutinous rice and topped with osmanthus-flavored honey signifies a charming and happy life.
5. Crystal Pear
In Mandarin, "pear" is homophonous with "separate," both being pronounced "li." For this reason, eating a crystal pear during Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes a person's wish to avoid separation and implies their desire for reunion.
6. Water Melon
Watermelon is essential during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It signifies fertility by being full of seeds and its round shape is a symbol of family reunion. In Shaanxi Province, the watermelon gets cut into the shape of a lotus, a symbol of good fortune, during the festival.
The tradition of eating taro during Mid-Autumn Festival first started during the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). In Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the word "taro" has the same pronunciation as "luck is inside." Eating them during the festival is believed to dispel any bad luck and bring good luck and wealth throughout the year.
Eating duck is popular during Mid-Autumn Festival because the taste of the duck is very rich during this season. During the festival, people in Fujian Province have a tradition of cooking the duck with a type of taro found throughout the area. The duck is seasoned with osmanthus flowers for the festival dinner table in Jiangsu Province, since osmanthus flowers are in full bloom during the season. In Sichuan Province, people enjoy smoked and baked duck as a popular main course.
9. River Snails
River Snails are the Mid-Autumn Festival specialty of Guangzhou City. They might look unappetizing and smell unpleasant when raw, but after being cooked with herbs and spices to drive out their putrid odor, the delicacy is an indispensable food on the Mid-Autumn Festival dinner table for the people of Guangzhou. The festival is the best season to eat snails and eating them is believed to help brighten one’s eyesight.
Photo: The Dish
The tradition of eating pumpkin during Mid-Autumn Festival started with poor people living south of the Yangtze River. Legend has it that a long time ago, a girl named Huang Hua - who came from a poor family - lived with her gravely ill parents who were unable to feed and clothe themselves. On August 15 on the lunar calendar of one year, she took home two pumpkins and prepared them for her parents, whose health was fully restored after eating the pumpkin. The tradition has been handed down for generations and eating pumpkin on Mid-Autumn Festival night is believed to bring people good health.
Honestly I only knew moon cake before I found this article. How about you? How many of these food have you tried and which one is your favorite? Let us know! Comment below