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SEPTEMBER, 2017

A Brief History of Mooncakes

 


For those who don’t celebrate Mid Autumn Festival, you’d probably know mooncakes as the tasty cake the nice neighbour Aunty gives your family during the ‘mooncake festival’.
Mooncakes and the festival behind it are actually steeped in history and tradition that’s really very interesting. Here are some facts for you to impress your peers (and that same Aunty) if the conversation steers toward the upcoming festivities.

If Tinder doesn’t work, have you tried the moon?
The Mid-Autumn Festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the Chinese lunar calendar a.k.a. ‘Full Moon Day’. In Chinese folklore, the roundness of the full moon symbolizes ‘togetherness’, influenced by the love story of local legend Hou Yi and his beautiful wife Chang Er. As the legend goes, Chang Er rose to the moon at her untimely death, and became a Goddess of Love to which the locals would worship to find their true love.

How mooncakes showed up in the picture has its roots in the late Yuan Dynasty (1271 – 1368 AD). Zhu Yuanzhang, founder of Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644 AD) united the rebel forces of their time and planned for an uprising. Local counselor Liu Bowen came up with the great idea of hiding notes bearing “Uprise on the night of August 15th” in mooncakes to avoid the detection of their secret messages. The success of the uprising that followed made Zhu so delighted that he awarded his loyal subjects with mooncakes during the following Mid-Autumn Festival, and it has become a tradition to eat them ever since.

Handmade mooncakes are increasingly becoming a lost art, but the craft of mooncake-making is still upheld by advanced chefs around the world.


Ingredients are deftly weighed with a very simple set of scales and formed into a dough. This dough is patiently kneaded and folded around the ‘filling’, which consists of lotus seed paste wrapped around a salted egg yolk. The layered dough ball is then transferred to a traditional wooden mold which gives the surface its beautiful patterns. Finally, the mooncakes are then glazed with an egg wash and heated. It takes years of practice to get this seemingly simple process right, which is why increasingly fewer chefs have the patience for it.

Come fly with us to the mooncake festival to learn more about this rich tradition, and be sure to pick up some tasty treats from our wide range of products available. Happening at all B.I.G. stores from September 14th to October 4th – join us for our Mooncake Baking Class! More details at this link: https://big.com.my/masak-masak/

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