WBEZ | mooncakes http://www.wbez.org/tags/mooncakes Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Fly me to the mooncakes http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/fly-me-mooncakes-102697 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hdmooncakes2012_0.png" style="height: 517px; width: 600px; " title="Häagen-Dazs Hong Kong 9-Star &amp; The Moon mooncakes (Häagen-Dazs Hong Kong)" /></p><p>First celebrated as a harvest festival 3,000 years ago, the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival falls on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month, which this year falls on this Sunday, September 30. Meanwhile I&#39;ve been monitoring worldwide reports of the contemporary bounty of the season: mooncakes.</p><p>Estimated to be a multi-billion dollar business, mooncakes were once considered the Chinese version of the Christmas fruitcake. Today though, mooncakes appear in chocolate, ice cream and other luxury ingredients &mdash; and are considered a status symbol that can grease the wheels of global business. There&#39;s even a booming&nbsp;<a href="http://www.marketplace.org/topics/life/food-and-drink/black-market-mooncakes-china-0">black market trade in mooncakes, according to&nbsp;<em>Marketplace</em></a>.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cqlotusyolk.jpg" style="height: 398px; width: 600px; " title="What's that say? Chiu Quon, egg yolk lotus, reads the message on the mooncake (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><p>In Chicago, we know mooncakes best as golden-brown, puck-sized pastries filled with sweet bean paste and a salted egg yolk center (traditionally duck eggs are used, but bakeries here use chicken eggs). They&#39;re actually available year-round mini-sized, without the yolk &mdash; the minis are too small to hold them. Now is the only time of year you&#39;ll find the full-sized mooncakes everywhere, but only a handful are made locally. Chinatown&#39;s oldest bakery,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chiuquonbakery.com/">Chiu Quon</a>, makes their own with four traditional fillings: lotus, red bean, wintermelon and mixed nuts &mdash; with or without the yolk. The stacks of red and gold boxes at grocery stores like <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/richwell-market-chicago">Richwell Market</a> or <a href="http://www.hmart.com/">Hmart</a> originate from California or Asia.</p><p>Sadly the <a href="http://www.moonfestchicago.com/index.html">Chicago Moon Festival</a> 2012 has been cancelled&nbsp;&quot;due to sponsorship complications,&quot; according to the Chinese Entrepreneur Organization. And, the <a href="http://www.ccamuseum.org/index.php/en/upcoming-events/201-september-29-2012-mid-autumn-festival">Chinese-American Museum of Chicago&#39;s Mid-Autumn Festival</a> celebration (&quot;with traditional music, mooncakes, tea, and roast pig!&quot;) is already full. Last year, Peninsula Chicago&#39;s Shanghai Terrace chef Ivan Yuen offered mooncakes in not only lotus, but pineapple, pomelo, green tea, chestnut, and longan (<a href="http://208.112.36.14/blog/2011/08/29/mooncakes-fete-chinese-historic-rebellion/">according to Leah Zeldes at <em>Dining Chicago</em></a>), but this year they&#39;re importing theirs, too.</p><p>And so it seems that few people bake their own mooncakes these days &mdash; or freeze them, as&nbsp;Häagen-Dazs does now. The ice cream maker and <a href="http://www.coffeeconcepts.com.hk/emailer/mooncake2012.html">Starbucks</a> are two of the biggest Western companies to capitalize on the modern mooncake movement.&nbsp;Those companies are not alone, though. One of the hottest mooncakes this year are the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.fsfestiveorders.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=9&amp;Itemid=20">Angry Birds Space mooncakes at the Fairmont in Singapore</a>. They&#39;re snowskin mooncakes &mdash; made with glutinous rice flour, like mochi &mdash; and available in four flavors: grape pop rock with strawberry ganache, &quot;Choco Pop,&quot; salted caramel truffle and pandan with macadamia nuts.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/angrybirdsmooncakes2012.jpg" style="height: 449px; width: 600px; " title="Angry Birds Space mooncakes at the Fairmont Singapore (Fairmont Singapore/Szechuan Court &amp; Kitchen)" /></p><p>Dairy Queen, which <a href="http://www.dairyqueen.com/us-en/Company/About-Us/">was founded in Kankakee, Ill. in 1938</a>, is&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dairyqueen.com.cn/yuebing/">offering mooncakes</a> in hazelnut, green tea, vanilla and mango.</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center; "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/dqmooncakes2012_0.png" style="height: 653px; width: 600px; " title="Dairy Queen China mooncakes (Dairy Queen China)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: left; ">Adding another local twist to the modern tale of mooncakes, <a href="http://e.weibo.com/2355339380/yznRNc4PI">Dunkin Donuts</a> is offering a <a href="http://www.gaopeng.com/deals/shenzhen/ftuan/1431903716?ADTAG=shenzhen_deal_1431903716_m14">deal through Gaopeng</a>, the Chinese Groupon. Flavors include&nbsp;mocha, purple potato, chickpea, wintermelon, strawberry and pineapple &mdash; but no yolks. With billions of mooncake dollars and a culinary cultural revolution at stake this really is no yolk.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/ddmooncakes2012_0.jpeg" style="height: 300px; width: 600px; " title="Dunkin Donuts mooncakes with box and bag (Dunkin Donuts China)" /></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 27 Sep 2012 12:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2012-09/fly-me-mooncakes-102697