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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Traditional Food Eaten during the Moon Festival

Moon Festival is coming soon (October 3) and we're getting all excited here at ChildBook. (Not too loony, but loony enough heehee.) Gets me frequently thinking about the different Moon festival customs. This time, since I feel my stomach rumbling before blogging, I thought, why not blog about... ehmm... food.

Besides the iconic moon cake, did you know there are a few other food traditionally eaten during the Moon Festival? Here are some:

  • Taro - a yummy root crop. It was said to be discovered by starving Ming Dynasty soldiers (brave dudes who lived about 1368-1644 C.E.) IN THE MOONLIGHT. Guess when? On the 15th night of the 8th lunar month! What an interesting coincidence. These days, taro is used in main dishes, breads, even drinks. Remember how I said it's yummy? Try it sometime.
  • Pomelo - the Chinese grapefruit. It's yellow, and robustly round. Yup, looks like the moon. But remove the rind and you find a delicious pink citrus flesh inside. It was believed to ward off evil spirits and promote good health. In the Qing dynasty, the leaves were believed to be sacred.
  • Snails - Hold that "Ew" and "Ick" first. Edible snails are nyom nyom nyom. Don't believe me? In the 1700s, it was said that there were 2 farmers with uncontrollable garden pests (snails). Each one thought it was a bright idea to catch the snails and dump it into the neighbor's yard. Soon, the bickering turned real nasty. (Wouldn't you if your neighbor kept dumping stuff into your yard? Anyhoo,) A wise magistrate attempted to restore the peace by hosting a meal for the nasty neighbors. The 2 neighbors were delighted with the sumptuous meal, only to find out that the menu was ... snails. Yum.
There are a lot of other food that people like to serve on the Moon Festival. Usually these symbolize the moon or other good values. Examples are apples, pomegranates, pears, persimmons,grapes, peaches, melons, peanuts, coconuts, watermelon seeds.

Don't forget your tea service and your moon cakes (!) on your Moon Fest table.

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