12 September 2017, Singapore – What exactly is with Chuseok and mid-autumn festival? I meant what exactly is different about the two? In all honesty I would love to say “spelling”, because apart from the names the traditional and cultural aspects are all pretty similar.
Chuseok is a major harvest festival and a three-day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Traditional it celebrates bountiful harvest through feasting of traditional foods like the Songpyeon (송편), which is a rice cake wrapped with some fillings such as sesame seeds, black beans, mung beans etc. These snacks are often paired with rice wine, which are often enjoyed by the farmers in the countryside.
The mid-autumn festival (中秋节) falls on the same date, and is traditionally also a harvest festival celebrated anywhere around the world where there are Chinese people. Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and even Vietnam just to name a few. An important part of the festival celebration is moon worship, as the ancient Chinese believed in rejuvenation being associated with the moon and water. Instead of eating the Songpyeon like the Koreans, the Chinese would enjoy and share the mooncake (because it’s round?). In Chinese culture, a round shape symbolizes completeness and reunion. So everything round is probably good.
Over the years, mooncakes has evolved a great deal, and our friends from Baker’s Well has definitely tried to add some spin to the mooncakes they have this year. Not only are they aesthetically beautiful and modern in their packaging, they come in the in-trend pastel colours. The surprising part is, NO DURIAN FLAVOUR; which has been so Singapore in recent years. Instead of blending everything together with the traditional white lotus, the flavours are wrapped in individual truffles within each mooncake.
So how did they fare in their flavours?
Rum & Raisin (Blue): Tastes pretty traditional at first, but a sudden burst of rum the moment you break the truffle within your mouth. Not for the faint hearted who can’t hold their liquor.
Earl Grey (Purple): Familiar with Earl Grey tea, but mooncake is a first for me. Honestly, all I taste is chocolate; and Gong Cha’s Early Grey milk tea is probably more fragrant.
Macha/Green Tea (Green): The macha taste blends in really well, which impressed me with the overall balanced taste. The surprise package here for sure.
Salted Black Sesame (White): Was told this is a popular flavour, and definitely unique. Since when we hear mooncakes that are salted? If it works for popcorns, it should work right? The dark chocolate filling works quite well with some tinge of saltiness, but where’s the black sesame?
Champagne (Pink): If you enjoy a good drink and not allowed to drink at work, pop this in your mouth an you will feel champagne trickling down your oesophagus. Drink (I meant eat) with care!
Yuzu (Yellow): Another of the popular flavours, if you are into the sweet and sour combination; this definitely suits you. For me, I personally still think sweet and sour should be left savoury like sweet and sour fish.
In summary, the flavours is a hit and miss for me due to food preferences. However, the modern design with tiffany-like or should I say SHINee-like colour definitely impresses as a gift for the younger generations. If you want to grab your mooncakes, do pop by their shop or head down to their booth at the Takashimaya Mooncake Fair now at Ngee Ann City from now till 4 October 2017.
Article by: James @ KAvenyou