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Gary Soup

Moon Cakes

393 posts in this topic

There's a company here in HK called GOD (goods of desire) which has a slogan of "Delay No More" (Cantonese speakers will know another meaning to this - it's extremely rude). Anyway, they've put an alternative meaning on "moon cakes" - theirs are in the shape of "the full monty", "t-back", "spread my cheeks" and "mind the gap". It's hard to describe them; you'll have to use your imagination.

The filling of the mooncake, surprisingly, is "normal".

 

Here ya go... http://nookmag.com/blogs/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/GOD-mooncake-5.png

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I was going to ask others about their local prices for mooncakes. The prices just seem too high to me. $9 for one mooncake? No thanks. Or maybe Chinese people wait till after the moon festival is over and buy the mooncakes at half price like my parents do.

I suspect, having waited this late, I'm gonna get whatever is leftover.

Maybe we'll go on a Convoy-crawl tomorrow evening, and hope to find a happy single.

The prices are indeed daunting.

IN SE Asia mooncakes basically disappear "overnight" after the conclusion of the Moon Festival, a.k.a. 八月十五 [literally "eight(h) month fifteen(th) (day) - in the lunar calendar].

Good quality mooncakes in the USA imported from HK or environs *will* cost that much or more. The tin of cakes I commented on upstream (from which I had just sampled one of the cakes) were something like ~US$45 or so for the tin when I bought them last year. There were cheaper ones available, and also this year, also from HK - ranging from the twenty-ish range to forty-ish and so on. I've bought "locally produced" mooncakes from bakeries in Chinatown in Chicago in the past - individual ones were around US$4-5 or so IIRC. They were not as good as the better ones imported from HK, at least those I got and/or those available to me. I have not sampled the locally-produced ones in California or the US West Coast.

The ice-skin mooncakes (冰皮月餅) are ever more popular, it seems, with each passing year - especially in E/SE Asia and are the ones which are evolving and mutating the most, incorporating far-ranging and *very* fusion-y (across cuisines) and creative ingredients/tastes/approaches. (I have not tried these myself) The range of these ice-skin mooncakes (some of which include actual ice-cream) are astonishing, from what I read, and these mooncakes appear to represent the direction in which "mooncakes" are going - so, yes, the "trend" appears to be persisting and continuing, to answer a query from a poster way back on this thread from more than 9 years ago.

There are many threads on these (as well as the more traditional ones and on regional variations - e.g. Northern Chinese vs Cantonese vs Fukienese vs Taiwanese versions of "mooncakes" on a certain other food forum. :-)

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Some mooncakes are extremely expensive. I have seen $150 a can of four. People buy them as gifts. They are like $5,000 bottles of brandy. 

 

Isn't it true that there are many fake mooncakes made of sweet potato fillings, not lotus seend paste?

 

 

dcarch

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Some mooncakes are extremely expensive. I have seen $150 a can of four. People buy them as gifts. They are like $5,000 bottles of brandy. 

 

Isn't it true that there are many fake mooncakes made of sweet potato fillings, not lotus seend paste?

 

 

dcarch

 

$150 a can of four is relatively cheap. In recent years they have been selling for ten times that or more. Hence the clampdown I mentioned here.

 

I wouldn't call mooncakes without lotus seed paste fake. There are many types of mooncakes and fillings. Most of them oversweet, but not all.

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Here are four mooncakes, snowskin/ice-skin variety, which were the favorite of that poster this year.  Note the pure durian-filling one.  Yes, they are all considered "mooncakes".

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BTW, regarding "sweet potato mooncakes" - yes, they are "modernized variations upon a theme" and are considered bona fide mooncakes within the devolving meaning of the term, not "fake" mooncakes.  Here's one recipe amongst many others.  Perhaps a better descriptor would be "non-traditional" mooncakes.

:-)

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BTW, regarding "sweet potato mooncakes" - yes, they are "modernized variations upon a theme" and are considered bona fide mooncakes within the devolving meaning of the term, not "fake" mooncakes.  Here's one recipe amongst many others.  Perhaps a better descriptor would be "non-traditional" mooncakes.

:-)

Fake because the container says "All Lotus seed paste".

 

dcarch

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Fake because the container says "All Lotus seed paste".

 

dcarch

 

Ah, that's a different story then!  Yes, OK, if it is claimed to be lotus seed paste but is not then of course it is "fake".  I was thinking that there was an uncertainty about whether "mooncakes" could be made with sweet potato.

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I bought a box of 4 from Kim Hung Bakery in LA yesterday - shipped to an Asian store in Tucson.  $44.  They were not like others I've had but I liked them - almost like a Christmas pudding or mincemeat filling...and salted yolk.  How do you make the yolk?  Because I was traveling today I'll be making mine tomorrow.

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gfron1, just buy them.  :-)  They can be had by the bagful (i.e. just the salted egg yolks) from certain Chinese supply shops/groceries.

 

Otherwise - I'm not entirely sure how the large commercial batches of salted egg yolks are made – separated yolks then salted; or whole eggs salted then opened and the yolk retrieved w/ the whites tossed or repurposed.  If you are making just a few mooncakes I might be inclined to simply extract the yolks from whole salted eggs. 

p.s. if you don't already have the salted egg yolks in hand it's too late to make your own AND make the mooncakes the next day.

p.p.s. the usual/traditional egg is DUCK egg.

p.p.p.s. Note that these salted egg yolks are different from the ones one can see/read about being prepared and used in various Western-idiom dishes/cuisines.  The salted egg yolk (not fish roe) that is grated over pasta, for example, is HARD (it's being grated) and very dark in color; the salted (duck) egg yolks needed for mooncakes are soft, oily, slightly chewy and definitely not hard, if they are any good.

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If you are going to make your own, chicken eggs will do, just smaller.

 

dcarch

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The Chinese Communist Party has just banned their 88 million members from indulging in gluttony and moon cakes (along with other noxious things like golf and philandering). I gather there may be a whole lot fewer moon cakes on the market in China next season (or a whole lot of contraband).

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/10/22/chinese-communists-ban-gluttony-adultery-moon-cakes-golf/

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The Chinese Communist Party has just banned their 88 million members from indulging in gluttony and moon cakes (along with other noxious things like golf and philandering). I gather there may be a whole lot fewer moon cakes on the market in China next season (or a whole lot of contraband).

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2015/10/22/chinese-communists-ban-gluttony-adultery-moon-cakes-golf/

 

The clampdown on mooncakes isn't new. I mentioned it in this thread in September 2014. See post #374 above.

 

It was getting ridiculous. Bribing some with a new Porsche became to dangerous, so instead give him a box of moon cakes (containing a 'gift voucher' for a new Porsche.) Everyone records the gift as a box of mooncakes and everyone is happy. It happened.

 

Since Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the party in 2012, there has been a clampdown on many facets of the food industry. The hotel and restaurant industry is especially hurting. Lavish banquets held, at public expense, by middle-rank civil servants because the wind was in the right direction and the chicken entrails looked promising are now banned. Even when a banquet is deemed appropriate, the number of dishes allowed is now extremely curtailed.

There were many restaurants solely catering for this corrupt market, who are now struggling or have already gone to the wall. 

 

Similarly over-lavish wedding and funeral banquets are outlawed and more simple events held instead, again hurting the restaurant venues.

 

The previous system was unsustainable as people tried to outdo the last with more and more expensive mooncakes or 'gifts'. Most people I have spoken to are quite glad to see the new policies.

Mooncakes won't disappear. They will just become more sensible.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Ah, so it isn't really the mooncakes themselves that are the issue. Nor is it really gluttony that is a problem. They are merely symbolic of the underlying publicly funded 'extravagance' (corruption) the government is trying to control.

Thank you for explaining, Liuzhou. I apologize for not 'getting that' earlier. I seriously thought it amusing that something so innocuous in itself - a mooncake - was being banned. It just seemed a bit wacky - especially when I had the mistaken idea that often mooncakes were viewed as fruitcakes are in the States - received as a gift and either tossed in the garbage or handed off to someone else because few really 'like' them and they have become the butt of a joke in the US.

I just didn't realize that it is more 'gifts of Porsches' that were being banned. But, will people now not just buy a bag of prawn crackers or something like that and put the 'gift certificates' in a pretty box with them? Or just include a gift certificate for a Fiat instead?

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But, will people now not just buy a bag of prawn crackers or something like that and put the 'gift certificates' in a pretty box with them? Or just include a gift certificate for a Fiat instead?

Perhaps, but the most difficult part of that scenario would be finding the bag of prawn crackers. I've only been ever been served one in China. One cracker. Not one bag. Chinese friends don't even know what they are.


Edited by liuzhou (log)
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Oops. I messed up again and showed my North American ignorance of the real Chinese marketplace. I should have known better too. Sorry.

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