The power of social media. This past weekend I had my first mooncake because I saw it on several Instagram posts. I have always wanted to try one since I can remember watching a specific Reading Rainbow episode and LeVar Burton did a story on a girl and her family eating mooncakes for mid-autumn festival. Yea, I grew up on KCET and proud of it! It’s insane how photos can take our memories back. I remember seeing how beautiful the mooncakes were on that episode and wanting to try one.
On a whim I dragged Andrew to Chinatown with me at 9pm Saturday night, a couple days after mid-autumn festival, hoping to find a bakery that still had them and was still open. We drove through the few streets in Chinatown until I spotted a bakery that had their neon light still lit up, “OPEN.” We walked up but unfortunately, it was already 9:10 and the shop had locked their doors. Bummed, (actually I was the bummed one because Andrew didn’t want to go in the first place) we began walking back to the car and around the corner we saw the owners unloading a shipment from the side door! We asked if we could buy some mooncakes and Hallelujah! They were kind enough to let us in and buy a few.
After coming back from our scavenger hunt, I did a little research on what exactly they were (because I apparently go on these hunts without even knowing what it is I’m getting) and what mid-autumn festival was. It’s a beautiful Chinese holiday celebrating the moon and sharing these cakes with loved ones. The different embossing of these pastries are so gorgeous it’s no wonder I mentally remembered them as a child. Typically, these are cut into wedges to share and to reveal the salted duck egg in the middle which represents the full moon. The filling varies from chopped nuts, to red bean, to lotus seed paste. Densely sweet while the yolk delivers a little kick of saltiness but oddly, perfectly balanced. The consistency of the filling is smooth and the pastry layer is so thin it really is only there to hold everything together and look pretty. Paired with a strong tea or coffee, this treat is a perfect reason to cuddle up with someone you love while gazing at the moon and stars.