written by Gigi….
This is the first time in over twenty years since I celebrated the Mid Autumn Festival (中秋節) in Hong Kong. Sometimes it’s called the Moon Festival in the US to emphasize it being the day when the moon is historically thought to be fullest from earth. I was determined to show Naomi how it is like to celebrate a Lunar holiday in a predominantly Chinese city.
So here we are! We started off making homemade mooncake in a dear friend’s home. It’s my first time baking Chinese dessert as well! Soon I realized it’s baking at another level – requiring quite a bit of precision and patience. Ours were filled with creamy eggy sweet paste (奶黃), and we had the help of modern plastic cake molds for extra cuteness.
To make the mooncake experience complete, we got a mix of traditional store brought mooncakes (with lotus paste inside) AND Starbucks mooncakes, which is a bit unconventional with Earl Gray and Matcha (green tea) flavors. However, we didn’t manage to get the ice cream mooncake from Haagen-Dazs which was a disappointment! The homemade mooncake won the taste test.
Given all the civil unrest in the city, we decided to go to Victoria Park the night before the full moon. While it wasn’t as festive, we were able to enjoy a ferry ride from Kowloon (the peninsula, where our apartment is) to Hong Kong Island, and took our time to stroll through the various exhibits. Got really good views of each of the lantern exhibits. For the first time, I truly appreciated this traditional art form of paper lanterns – not simply a child’s play – which can also be quite elaborated.
Of course, Mid Autumn Festival wouldn’t be complete without dinner with family, honoring the family reunion tradition. The children loved seeing their local aunt and uncle. We do miss the rest of the Yuen family!