What is Moon Cake?

Chinese moon cakes

Hello and good morning from Shunyi where it is 1st of October 2020. Or more commonly known in China as National Day as we commented on last post. Even more important, for Chinese, a week long public holiday. However by a quirky coincidence, it is also Mid Autumn- a day also celebrated in China, Korea, Japan,  Vietnam, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand,  Philippines and a few other countries albeit at different times and form.

Let’s first look at why this Asian celebration is both different from others and, in China, coincidental. Going quickly back to National Day- it is a fixed or SOLAR holiday, much like the European Christmas.

National day ALWAYS falls on October the first.
Mid Autumn however, is a lunar, or non fixed holiday. It falls at different times, generally somewhere between last part of August or early September depending on the moon’s phasing.

Again, much as the Christian version of Ester. So having Mid Autumn so late and on the same day as National Day in China, is not just unusual, but, for superstitious Chinese, very auspicious.

So, What is Moon Cake?

Hmm, impatient aren’t we.
There are many stories, legends in China re Mid Autumn, but apparently, some 3000 years back a certain Emperor prayed to the moon for a good harvest. Thereafter Chinese people continued that practice every year. Although, maybe a good harvest can be read metaphorically to cover a host of wishes. When The Bic first arrived in China, some 20 years back, people, especially couples would walk hand in hand under the moon and do what ever couples worldwide do any those conditions. Today, in China’s busy, more materialistic commercialised culture that practice has waned. Much as the spirit of Christmas. Moon cakes today, in a way, keep that traditional alive.

I still don’t know what a moon cake is.

Oh alright, alright- a moon cake is a small, sweet cake, similar in size and shape to a western Christmas mince pie. As shown in our head image. It can have a cake or pastry shell with a sweet or savour filling. You can buy them, individually in the supermarket for a few Kuia, generally with an oily, flaky shell and crystallised sugar mix inside. Be cautious; the sugar chips are as hard as diamonds and can fracture teeth if enjoyed too enthusiastically.

If you really want to impress someone with your generosity, love [or wealth] then you can buy a set of 6 boxed, for a mere 2 or 3 thousand rmb. Or any price point in between. There is also a booming market for “Corporate Gifts” moon cakes. Luxury moon cakes boxed in your organisation’s colours and logo. Just the thing to say “Thanx” to valued clients and a nice change from tea sets! We may look at these in a later post. For now, that is our tongue in cheek definition of; “What is a moon cake?” We do hope you enjoy the following images.

These “traditional” moon cakes ,come in a variety of different fillings; black bean, sesame, Jujube, and duck egg- not shown. A bag of 5 would cost you somewhere around 6 Yuan. Great for serving to friends at home, cut into quarters maybe, with a nice cup of Oolong or green tea.

As a gift for friends or colleagues, a nice gift box is always popular. This selection will leave you with change from 150rmb [hope you don’t have many friends!] This one comes with 10 smallish cakes.

If you need to make a bigger impression then this rather nice gift box with 8 cakes is yours with change from 400 RM- well 4 rmb change actually. However, the baker assures us they taste good!

OK, we are done with messing around at the cheap end. This durian flavoured [that strongly pongy fruit] gift box is a steal at just 4 rmb under 2500 rmb. Sure way to win hearts and influence people.

Put your wallet away, we are in the big girls league now, Diners club Carte Blanche members only. This collection of 8, “high end,” mixed grain [healthy] moon cakes will set you back just a little coin short of 9200 rmb. Eat them slowly!

What we have looked at today is really the tip of the iceberg, and focused, more or less, on traditional Chinese style. But of course, there are the usual “western players” luxury brands with flavours such as toffee, rose, bergamot, chocolate, tiramusu, gugonzola cheese, icecream- you get the idea. Images courtesy of JD.com and vendors.

For a more down to earth assessment and consultation of your marketing needs in China, give Everlyne a call- – moon cake optional!

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