Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mooncake Festival

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Tomorrow is Mooncake Festival. The Chinese called it the Mid-Autumn Festival. It is also known as the Lantern Festival.

It is the night when my Mum would offer offerings to the moon God. Moon worship dates back over thousand years in China's Shang Dynasty.

Mum would set a table outside the house, in the open, and there would be the jar of joss sticks burning, small cups of tea, peeled pamelos, peeled/cut sugarcane, boiled but unshelled groundnuts, taro (yam), mooncakes and I forgot what else.

That was so many years ago. After her passing, Moon God worshipping did not continue with any of her children. The little children enjoyed walking outside in the open, on the street or around their house, in the dark, with their lighted lanterns. Last time they used real small lighted candles but nowadays battery-operated light bulbs are used instead. The latter of course is safer.

How did the Mooncake come about?

I don't know which one is really true, but here are the 4 legends that I have taken from the About.com


The Lady - Chang Er
The time of this story is around 2170 B.C. The earth once had ten suns circling over it, each took its turn to illuminate to the earth. But one day all ten suns appeared together, scorching the earth with their heat. The heat was saved by a strong and tyrannical archer Hou Yi. He succeeded in shotting down nine of the suns. One day, Hou Yi stole the elixir of life from a goddess. However his beautiful wife Chang er drank the elixir of life in order to save the people from her husband's tyrannical rule. After drinking it, she found herself floating and flew to the moon. Hou Yi loved his divinely beautiful wife so much, he didn't shoot down the moon.

The Man - Wu Kang
Wu Kang was a shiftless fellow who changed apprenticeships all the time. One day he decided that he wanted to be an immortal. Wu Kang then went to live in the mountains where he importuned an immortal to teach him. First the immortal taught him about the herbs used to cure sickness, but after three days his characteristic restlessness returned and he asked the immortal to teach him something else. So the immortal to teach him chess, but after a short while Wu Kang's enthusiasm again waned. Then Wu Kang was given the books of immortality to study. Of course, Wu Kang became bored within a few days, and asked if they could travel to some new and exciting place. Angered with Wu Kang's impatience, the master banished Wu Kang to the Moon Palace telling him that he must cut down a huge cassia tree before he could return to earth. Though Wu Kang chopped day and night, the magical tree restored itself with each blow, and thus he is up there chopping still.

The Hare-Jade Rabbit
In this legend, three fairy sages transformed themselves into pitiful old men and begged for something to eat from a fox, a monkey and a rabbit. The fox and the monkey both had food to give to the old men, but the rabbit, empty-handed, offered his own flesh instead, jumping into a blazing fire to cook himself. The sages were so touched by the rabbit's sacrifice that they let him live in the Moon Palace where he became the "Jade Rabbit."

The Cake - Moon Cake
During the Yuan dynasty (A.D.1280-1368) China was ruled by the Mongolian people. Leaders from the preceding Sung dynasty (A.D.960-1280) were unhappy at submitting to foreign rule, and set how to coordinate the rebellion without it being discovered. The leaders of the rebellion, knowing that the Moon Festival was drawing near, ordered the making of special cakes. Backed into each moon cake was a message with the outline of the attack. On the night of the Moon Festival, the rebels successfully attacked and overthrew the government. What followed was the establishment of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644). Today, moon cakes are eaten to commemorate this legend.

.... Unquote

For many years, the fillings of traditional mooncakes were:
(1) sweet bean paste - made from red bean, mung bean or black bean.
(2) lotus seed paste - made from lotus seed or white kidney bean. This particular mooncake comes with either 1 or 2 salted duck egg yolks as well.
(3) five kernel - made up of chopped walnuts, pumpkin, watermelon, peanuts, sesame or almonds.

I don't really care about eating mooncakes because they are full of sugar. However (3) above is my favourite. I like to bite little by little and slowly enjoy the mixture of nuts.

Last time you can only find traditional baked mooncakes with the above traditional fillings, but since then there are non-baked mooncakes (made with cooked rice flour skin) and fillings of whatever one can think of, even durian!

As for the packaging, last time they would come in a red coloured square box of 4 pieces. But now, they are packaged in all sort of packaging. And of course they would cost more. It is not the younger generation are more creative. It is because the older generation, probably are not courageous to present their ideas!

Thanks Lian, for the mooncakes.....

Cantonese - Blackberry Blackcurrant Cheese Mooncake.
Ingredients (as listed in the package) : Lotus seed, sugar, refined vetable oil, mung bean, blueberry filling, cheese dried blackcurrant, maltose, wheat flour, melon kernel seed, egg, alkaline water, permitted blueberry flavour and salt.

Cantonese - Supreme Mixed Nuts Mooncake.
Ingredients (as listed in the package): Whole shell almonds, walnuts, sesame melon kernel seeds, dried winter melons, dried chicken meat, chicken floss, scallops, sugar, refined vegetable oil, maltose, kow flour and eggs.

Happy Mooncake Festival. Enjoy.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Monday, 13 September 2010

Check out my recent postings in the following blogs:


Flying Over the Greenland

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Interesting for change of route that we have flown - across the Atlantic Ocean, over the Greenland.

Grateful two of the pictures, taken from the plane, turned out good enough to be shared with you.

I wondered why Greenland is so called such so I googled and got this answer:


The name Greenland comes from Scandinavian settlers. In the Norse sagas, it is said that Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder. He, along with his extended family and thralls (slaves), set out in ships to find the land that was rumored to be to the northwest. After settling there, he named the land Grønland ("Greenland"), possibly in order to attract more people to settle there. Greenland was also called Gruntland ("Ground-land") on early maps. Whether Green is an erroneous transcription of Grunt ("Ground"), which refers to shallow bays, or vice versa, is not known. It should also be noted, however, that the southern portion of Greenland (not covered by glacier) is indeed very green, at least in summer.



Friday, 10 September 2010

Compressed glutinous rice boiled in these weaved baskets. One of the traditional must-haves for the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri. Nowadays you don't have make the baskets yourself, you can buy them at the market. This picture was taken at a Miri market.

Cooked ketupat (picture from wikipedia.org)

Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to all my Muslim friends.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


Wednesday, 18 August 2010

They said acupunture is good for stiff shoulders so I tried. Went twice and only thinking about doing it scares me.

Needles sticking in different areas - ear, face, leg, lower back - oh my goodness! When nothing else works, and you are desperate for a relief to stiffed or painful bodies, and there are reports that it works, you will face that fear!

My friend and I were fortunate that this was a period of charity drive and it only cost us 5MRinggit per visit. According to the acupunturist, you need to be treated at least 10 times before you can see result, especially with cases that is months old. This is in Kota Kinabalu.

Queen Card for Ladies' Restroom

Tuesday, 14 August 2010

This is new to me. Queen card image instead of the usual ladies image for the restroom. And King card image (picture came out blur) for the men restroom. Saw this in Kota Kinabalu.