Mid-Autumn Festival - enjoy mooncakes in a “Hanoian” way22 October 2018
When the full moon in August (lunar calendar) comes, families across the country will look forward to reuniting and enjoying the gifts of autumn together.
For the Hanoi people then and now, Mid-August festival (also known as the full moon festival) in August is always a special occasion. Not only is it the time for family gathering, reunion and the kids to hang around their relatives... this is also the opportunity to show the "elegance" and "finesse" in food, and having a great time... "Enjoying the cake, drinking the traditional tea and watching the moon" are the fun activities in each Mid-Autumn Festival of Hanoi. The sweetness of the cake harmonises with the slightly bitter taste of the tea makes a unique and “memorable” taste.
Hanoians prefer to use green tea or infused tea representing the essence of heaven and earth such as lotus, narcissus, jasmine, chrysanthemum... Green tea is not an infused tea; therefore it requires a great level of sophistication in the preparation phase. The lotus tea is the pride of Hanoi because of its incomparable creation process, from the flower selection stage to tea infusing and preparation.
Each year, there are hundreds of new kinds of mooncake, however Hanoians are more inclined towards the traditional flavours: the baked and steamed mooncakes with mixed fillings including Chinese sausage, char siu, jam, peanuts and salo; a classic taste that is deeply imprinted in every Hanoians’ subconsciousness.
Autumn with mild weather is always the favorite season of the year. Sunshine, blue sky and gentle breeze make people feel more equilibrious and relaxed.
Beside the sweetness of the cake, the softness and aroma of “cốm” (green rice) also make the moon watching party more flavourful.
Autumn is also the season of children's laughter. The kids are all around their parents and grandparents, waiting for their portions of the cakes, grabbing their star lanterns, going to the lion dance... which creates a cheerful and vibrant atmosphere that only the Mid-Autumn Festival has.
Moon Cakes are also often eaten with grapefruit, persimmon, sugar-apple, guava and pomegranate; the fruits of autumn.
Perhaps only in the traditional mooncake can people feel the fragrance of the essence of grapefruit. The grapefruit-infused mooncake also has a very unique flavour.
Also by the very soul of the Vietnamese tradition that each Mid-Autumn festival, when it comes to choosing the right kind of cake, the people of Hanoi will always think about the traditional mooncakes.