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Time to bite into the quintessential holiday cake
By Tan Weiyun

What would the Mid-Autumn Festival be without its trademark mooncakes? The cakes, called yuebing in Chinese, are round like the moon, symbolizing togetherness and family reunions.

Mooncakes are not only snacks but also offerings to the moon. They can be sweet or savory filled with a wide range of fillings, including nuts, seeds, dates, lily root paste, meat and egg yolks. A mooncake stuffed with many ingredients often symbolizes unity. Varieties are endless.

Suzhou, Beijing and Cantonese mooncakes are the major styles of the snack in China.

The Suzhou mooncake is known for its crispy crust and is typically filled with seeds and soybean paste. It is extremely popular in Shanghai, and in Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.

Shanghai people also love the meat mooncake, a salty version of the Suzhou style. They are best eaten steaming hot so that the savory gravy explodes in your mouth.

Beijing mooncakes are always sweet, stuffed with egg yolks, shredded coconut paste and mulched lotus seeds, while Cantonese mooncakes are characterized by their thin crusts and rich fillings such as bird’s nest, abalone and shark’s fin, before the latter was banned.

More modern versions of mooncakes are also in the markets.

They feature fillings such as French cheese, chocolate, blueberries and ice cream.

Watching your waistline? Then it’s best to be restrained where mooncakes are concerned. They are often loaded with fat and sugar. People suffering from obesity, high cholesterol or high blood pressure are advised to eat them sparingly. A cup of green tea is considered the perfect companion to mooncakes, easing the sweetness and greasiness.

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