I remember when I got here last year, I got a public holiday for the Mid-Autumn Festival during my second week at work. It’s pretty sweet, getting a day off right away when you haven’t even worked for that long, and especially for a holiday such as the Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s funny, because they expect you to stay up late for celebrations on that evening, so they actually give you the day following the Mid-Autumn Festival off. Since you’re at work on the actual holiday, they also usually let you off early that day.
Anyway, I’ve now been in Hong Kong for almost 11 months, but it already feels like a year, because I’m seeing mooncake commercials all over the place! In fact, I’ve even had a taste of my first mooncake for this lunar festival. The hype over this holiday in Hong Kong is comparable to Christmas in a Western society… you know, how they sell Christmas decorations once Halloween has passed. It’s over-commercialized and it takes away from the meaning of Christmas, but at the same time, I’ve accepted it as my culture, and I kind of miss it.
The traditional mooncake is made with lotus paste and egg yolk, but as time goes on, more and more new “flavours” come along. People also realized that traditional mooncakes are super high in both sugar and cholesterol, so now they’re into just plain sugary things – hence the “icy mooncakes” that have been popular in recent years. There is also an egg custard mooncake that’s becoming increasingly popular. I only first heard of it last year, but this year I’ve seen tons of commercials for them already.
Of course, there are also other types of “mooncakes” out there… basically anything they can make a profit out of. Heck, even Starbucks is selling mooncakes! Isn’t that a bit ridiculous?
Godiva has these chocolate mooncakes. They look delicious.
And of course, who cares if the mooncakes aren’t edible? Here’s a special package of mooncake soap, in case anybody is interested.
I was surprised when I first saw Haagen-Dazs ice cream mooncakes a few years ago. Now, it’s totally nothing… if there’s anything that I’ve learned in Hong Kong, it’s that retailers always come up with new ways to sell their product.
I wouldn’t exactly call myself “traditional Chinese” in culture, but I do enjoy mooncakes. By the looks of it, I still have quite a long season to get my satisfaction of mooncakes!