The Word of the Day Is Mooncake

It’s the Chinese Moon Festival, here’s where to get mooncakes and free soup.

By Jessica Voelker September 22, 2010


The Moon Festival—or Mid-Autumn Festival—is an annual celebration in China that takes place on the day that the moon shines most brightly. And guess what? This year, 2010, that day is today, September 22.

In China, people give friends and business associates mooncakes as gifts for the holiday. If you want to do like that, head to Uwajima or Yummy House Bakery or Mon Hei in the I.D. (669 S King Street). A box of four cakes costs between $13-$18 at Mon Hei, depending on the filling.

So what are they? They’re dense cakes filled with paste—made from dates, beans, lotus seeds—and baked in a mold that usually features some auspicious symbol—longevity, luck, etc.

Now here’s the Debbie Downer bit: According to a story I heard on NPR’s Marketplace yesterday, mooncakes have over 1,000 calories per cake. And they’re small. So…keep that in mind maybe.

Speaking of that NPR story, it’s fascinating—all about the black market that has grown up around mooncake vouchers in China. Here’s the link.

PS: I read on the CHS blog that Chungees on Capitol Hill is offering up free hot and sour soup and dessert—I’m assuming mooncakes—for the occasion. Details here.

Man, I really love the word mooncake.

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