Mid-Autumn festival dates back to the Shang dynasty when the Chinese made sacrificial offerings to the moon for a bountiful harvest. The offerings were primarily special food items with deep meaning behind them. These delicacies are still prepared on the auspicious occasion (24th September this year) and are threads of love that sew bonds tighter. Be it gifting mooncakes to friends and family or enjoying dinner with the entire family, food adds more sweetness to relationships. When it comes to food, the Mid-Autumn festival is a celebration of seasonal flavors. Here are the most popular food items and dishes relished in Mid-Autumn festival.
Like every Chinese festival, the Mid-Autumn Festival has its own special food – mooncake. It symbolizes reunion as ‘round’ translates to ‘reunion’ in Chinese languages. Mooncakes come in a variety of fillings and artistic patterns and reflect good luck and wish when gifted. These scrumptious cookies are sacrificed as offerings to the moon and then savored as a form of celebration.
History is a key ingredient to this dish as it originated centuries ago during Zhejiang and Jiangsu reigns. A seasonal dish, Hairy Crab blends well with ginger and vinegar and is enjoyed at family gatherings. Hairy Crab is originally a Shanghai specialty highly popular around Mid-Autumn festival as it’s the breeding season for crabs, which makes them tastier. Apart from its tantalizing flavor, Hairy Crab also offers a good percentage of amino acids and protein.
This purple sweet potato dates to the Qing dynasty during which ‘Taro’ was defined as ‘luck is inside’. The conventional way of cooking Taro is by boiling or steaming it, and then devouring it as a main dish. Eating taro is said to bring good luck while negating bad luck.
Like Hairy Crab, duck tastes richer during Mid-Autumn festival. At the same time, eating duck in autumn is believed to abolish pathogenic heat, which helps maintain the balance between yin and yang, thereby improving health. Another interesting fact is that every city has its own unique, stylistic approach to cooking duck.
Osmanthus wine dates back to approximately 2000 years. Osmanthus flowers are in full bloom around the Mid-Autumn festival, which makes them accessible as an ingredient for food and drinks. Osmanthus wine is a celebration of family reunions and a happy life.