Pedro, “what are these?”Me, “Mooncakes”Pedro,” what are they for?”Me,“you know those people burning stuff today? After the ghost festival which ends in about 2 weeks, the ghosts go home to purgatory hell and then a lady flies to the moon. Don’t argue with this logic, it’s 4,000 years old. The Chinese* have 2,000 years on Jesus.”Pedro, “….…why is this tom yum flavoured?”
Yes. I think my favourite bit about Vietnamese mooncakes is that they come in savoury flavours, and varieties include a shelf-stable snowskin! Unlike the real snowskin mooncakes from Hong Kong which are served cold, the Vietnamese ones are made of glutinous rice and called “bánh dẻo” or “sticky rice mooncake”.
I scored myself a thập cẩm flavoured mooncake, which is Sino-Vietnamese aliteration of the Cantonese word 什錦, which is mostly used to describe stir frys. In the Vietnamese version of the word and in mooncakes, it’s a mix of salty and sweet, including meat and candied orange peel. Don’t knock it till you try it. Other savoury flavours I’ve seen include roast pork and the aforementioned, tom yum.
In the north of Vietnam, it seems that the tradition includes dogs made out of pomelo!
For those of you not in the know about mid-autumn festival, I recommend experiencing once in your life. It includes lanterns, pomelos and lots of tea. and mooncakes.
For the full deal, I recommend the Wikipedia article.
*The Vietnamese believe it’s a man and a water buffalo in a banyan tree that has flown to the moon.
**alternatively, a Chinese faction used it to win a war by stuffing mooncakes with secret missives that smuggled into prisons
***Also alternatively, the Chinese and Vietnamese use it as a time to spend time with family over Harvest Season and pray for babies #alternativemyths