Friday, September 07, 2012

Moon cake (bánh Trung Thu) is no longer a cake!

The moon cake festival or the mid-autumn festival (Trung Thu) is not far away!
The moon cake isn't a street cake as it's expensive and probably not affordable for many people (but only long before the festival, few days before or right after, buy one get one free!)
Some moon cakes can be covered with gold dust (!) or filled with "the best (ingredients) from the mountain, the best from the sea"as we call "sơn hào hải vị" in Vietnamese!

             Snow skin moon cake (or sticky moon cake) filled with lotus seeds

I'd like to share it here because these days, walking around the city we can see everywhere a plenty of big street stalls, in red or yellow color, selling different kinds of moon cakes in Saigon!

          Two most popular brands of moon cake: Kinh Đô and Đồng Khánh stalls in Nguyễn Trãi street 

          and another ones in Chinatown!  

In the past or even now the moon cake (bánh Trung Thu) is always a sweet dream for many kids in Vietnam! Remember, how much we desired to have a moon cake in a pig's shape together with mid-autumn lantern (lồng đèn) and small, as toys, colorful exotic animals (con giống) made from flour.

Today the moon cake is getting much more expensive, becomes a luxury gift item, the lantern is no longer made from red glass paper, lightened by small candles as in the old days, instead of that, the plastic one, made-in-China, with battery lamp, and the small colorful exotic animals seemed gone forever!

          Nowadays the moon cake box has a modern look...

For certain reason the moon cake has been considered more as a gift, an exchange for business opportunities, for connections rather than a nicely sweet gift to friends, to loved ones or to children!
Mid autumn festival used to be a children's feast, to celebrate the full moon together with fictional characters from the Moon (lady Hằng and uncle Cuội!) but now it seems more for the adults to do their business things!

            or fancy look with a tea box or even an expensive whisky bottle! 

Never forget to give a luxury gift box with 4 different-flavor cakes to the boss, to the business partners, to teachers of our children or to those people that we'd love to express our appreciation...the only thing the "appreciation" or the "respect" in many cases we should understand between the lines!
Moon cake seems no longer a cake, it's like a gift that circulates among a circle of people without the end! I got a moon cake box, I may give it to my friend, and my friend may probably give it to his friend, and by somehow in few days later that exact moon cake box returns back to me! No kidding!

 Ok, people may do different things but I do prefer to taste a good mid-autumn cake with a cup of lotus tea, just to enjoy another good day in our life!

          and the flavor also - a tiramisu moon cake...

Moon cake are so various, different fillings, different shape (square, round, pig's shape...), baked cake (bánh nướng), snow-skin cake (bánh dẽo), jelly moon cake or ice-cream moon cake.
About the moon cake's fillings - it could be a big topic because it's so rich! There is one thing that I just learnt - the sirup in making of the moon cake should be prepared year ago! 

         filled with strong coffee flavor paste, cheese and salted egg's york 

            Baked moon cake (bánh nướng) is filled with...ten ingredients! 

We have a cake with "ten ingredients" fillings (thập cẩm), starting from Chinese sausage, cashew nut, pumpkin seeds, lotus seeds, water melon seeds, sesame, sweet winter melon, shreds of lime outer skin, pork meat floss or roasted chicken floss or expensive sharp fin...and salted egg york in the center!

          "Ten ingredients fillings" (nhân thập cẩm)  

          Snow skin moon cake is filled with ...

          lotus seeds! Simple and quite nice thanks to special flavor of the sticky cover! 

More simple we have green mung bean fillings, or green tea or lotus seeds paste or coconut with watermelon seeds or taro paste...with or without salted egg york!

           Moon cake with green mung bean fillings and salted egg york! 

To me I prefer simple ones than the "ten ingredients"cake, but the latter could be also special due to its combination of many rich flavors that evokes pleasant memories of our childhood in mid-autumn season!
Talking about the moon cake I remember how many mid autumn festivals were passing me by in my life without any cakes and lanterns in late 70s and during my overseas study! To end this post, I would love to share with you a popular and favorite song that most of Vietnamese kids know to celebrate the Mid Autumn feast!


  1. This is very nostalgic. It reminds me of the days where the festival come, lighting candles for the lanterns. The old school candle lit lantern is so much better than the electric ones, in my opinion. The kids nowadays probably would fine that one boring, without the annoying music that accompanies with it. This post make me wish I was a kid again in Vietnam.
    Thanks for a wonderful post!

    1. Hi there, I guess you are the same who made a comment on Glass noodles with duck! Sorry if I'm wrong! Thank you for reading my post and sharing your feelings...True, just give yourself sometime to relax and to go back to your childhood, that would be the best part in our life! Best wishes!


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