Moon cakes & Moon Festival for modern times.

Noodlies, Sydney food blog takes a modern look at this popular, age-old tradition, including:

  • what is moon festival?
  • modern moon cakes
  • moon cakes in Costo?
  • Cabramatta Moon Festival goes modern

casahana oriental garden moon cake box

Moon Festival, Mid-Autumn, Mid-Autumn Moon and Harvest Festival are all names used for the second most important event in the Chinese, Vietnamese and probably, Korean calendar. All of these names are correct in their own way. It’s celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, when the moon is full and bright – which explains the moon reference. August is the Autumn in the northern hemisphere – hence Mid-Autumn. This period marks the end of the crop harvest – which explains the Harvest Festival.

This year, Moon Festival falls on Monday, 8 September, 2014.

After the harvest, the toils and labours are over and it’s a time of plenty and celebration. Not surprisingly where there is celebration of food there will be family feasts. The circular reference, associated by the bright shinning moon is symbolic of family reunion/wholeness. This theme is extended to food such as round moon cakes (though Vietnamese prefer square ones). Children are especially celebrated during this time, with colourful lantern parades under the approving glow of the Autumn moon. See the Vietnamese lantern parade in San Jose (2010) below.

Moon cakes

You’ll see colourful tins at Asian grocery stores, stacked high. Each tin usually contains four moon cakes, the outer especially ornate, usually woody brown in colour, it has a cakey texture. The inside most often contains lotus paste with egg yolk(s), fancier versions contain mixed nuts or even abalone.

moon cake jade custard

In Hong Kong, restaurants and even large hotel groups make and sell their own branded moon cakes. Hong Kong’s famed Peninsula hotel is famed for their moon cakes (below) which as lapped up by locals and visitors a like. It’s even sold at the international airport.

peninsula moon cake
While the tradition is still going strong, modern times are bringing modern changes to moon cakes. New flavours, colours and packaging are being introduced on top of more traditional lotus and egg varieties in square, red tins.

Amyson was one of the first to bring modern moon cakes to Australia; in addition to the more standard Sugar Honey range, they introduced the local Asian community and ‘mainstream’ to the riotous colours and tastes of Casahana moon cakes. Even the box shape design and colours were modernised as you can see below.

Amyson casahana moon cake range
The Casahana moon cake range is 20 strong with fascinating modern twists such as green tea, glutinous rice yam osmochi, durian, macha red bean, pandan lotus and even German black forrest. A new flavour for 2014 is scarlet snow, which is perfectly captured by the pristine white outer that’s infused with rose petals – an Australian first!

The powder blue Oriental Garden Premium Gift Set (below) is so dainty and elegant, yet has sturdiness of a wooden construction and added convenience of a carry handle.

casahana oriental garden moon cake amyson

Moon cake goes mainstream

This year, in another first, Amyson will be introducing moon cakes to a wider, mainstream audience with their Oriental Patisseri moon cake range in stunning ornate red tin box will be sold in Costco. I wonder how long before we see it in the major supermarkets?

oriental patisserie moon cake box
oriental patisserie moon cake amyson

Cabramatta Moon Festival

And speaking of modern, Cabramatta Moon Festival is on again on Sunday, 7 September with a very modern appearance by Dami Im, the Korean-Australian winner of X Factor, 2013.

READ: Complete official Cabramatta Moon Festival program

cabramatta moon festival 2012

Leave a comment

What do you think about the modern twists to moon cake and moon festival?

  • what’s your favourite moon cake variety?
  • do you like the sound of rose petal moon cakes?
  • are you heading to Cabramatta Moon Festival?
  • what do you think about moon cakes being sold at Costco? Do you think it will go into other mainstream shops?

Leave a comment to share them with noodlies, Sydney food blog readers.

Cashana and Oriental Patisserie were supplied by our noodlies, Sydney food blog friends at Amyson. For more information on the full range of their moon cakes, go to the Amyson moon cake website.