On the night of Zhongqiu Jie (Mid-Autumn Festival), when the moon is at its brightest, people offer food believing that the legends are still true.
These stories said that in ancient times, 10 suns existed. The planet suffered from the extreme heat it brought until a hero named Hou Yi shot down nine of these suns.
And Earth was saved.
Wangmu, the Queen of Heaven, presented Hou Yi with an elixir that would make him immortal. Blinded by the power it brought, his consort Chang’E stole the elixir and drank it for herself.
Chang’E floated to the heavens until she landed on the moon. Legends say that she has stayed there since then to watch over her husband.
Another famous story of the mooncake originates way back in the 13th century, during the Yuan Dynasty.
The Chinese were under oppressive Mongol rule. Rebel leader Zhu Yuan Zhuang used mooncakes (yue bing) to send a secret message to the residents. Each mooncake contained a piece of paper that read, “Kill the Mongols on the 15th day of the 8th month.”
Zhuang’s rebellion succeeded and the Ming Dynasty was built.
Mooncakes are a traditional Chinese dessert with a sweet or savory filling. Their dough is usually made from flour, oil and sugar. They are usually served with Chinese tea.
Mooncakes, commonly five to 10 centimeters in size, are said to symbolize togetherness, prosperity and reunion. Its usual flavors are red bean paste, roast pork, lotus seed paste and green tea.
Here are some of the gift-ready mooncakes to avail of yourself of in celebration of this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival.
•Hilton Manila’s Hua Yuan sserie Chinoise’s mooncakes come in varieties of Red Bean Paste with Single Egg Yolk, White Lotus with Single Egg Yolk and Mixed Nuts. A box of mooncakes is priced at P2,488. Call +632 7239 7788 to order.
•Marco Polo Ortigas’ Lung Hin mooncakes are available in flavors of Red Bean with Double Egg Yolks, Red Lotus with Double Egg Yolks, White Lotus with Double Egg Yolks and Mixed Nuts. They are priced at P828. Boxes of four pieces are at P2,958 and boxes of six are at P3,988. Contact (632) 7720-7777 or email [email protected]
•Manila Hotel’s special, hand-crafted mooncakes by its Chinese chef has four flavors: Classic Single Yolk Red Bean Paste, Single Yolk Pure White Lotus Seed Paste; and special flavors Taro Paste and Red Dates Paste. They are priced at P288 for solo boxes and P1,188 for a box of four. Call 85270011 or 0998-9501912 to order.
•Conrad Manila’s mooncakes made by China Blue executive chef Jereme Leung can be enjoyed in flavors of Baked Red Bean Single Salted Egg Yolk, Baked White Lotus Single Egg Yolk and new flavor Baked Fragrant Pandan with Taro Black Gold Charcoal Mooncake. These come in bags proudly designed by Zarah Juan. Prices are: Harvest Mooncake Limited Edition bag at P5,888 (four pieces), Tropical Allure Bag at P3,888 (four pieces), Pacific Pearl Bag at P2,888 (four pieces) and Pacific Bo at P2,588 (four pieces). Call +63 2 8833 9999, +639176504043 or email [email protected]