Moon cakes are Chinese pastries consumed during the Mid Autumn Festival. They are round or square baked confection with filings and the crust is decorated with an imprint of the manufacturer, auspicious greetings or indicate the ingredient.
The traditional moon cake has red bean paste or lotus paste filing with the option of salted egg yolk stuffed inside. Other examples of traditional filings include green tea, yam, chestnut, and dates.
Variations of traditional moon cakes include crispy skin moon cake with yam paste and refrigerated snow skin moon cakes. There are also Moon biscuits, although they are not as popular as moon cakes.
In Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia, you can also find durian flavored moon cakes and Halal moon cakes that meet the Islamic food guidelines.
The moon cake industry has creatively reflected the dietary preferences and choices by offering new varieties of moon cakes that can be categorized as Contemporary Moon Cakes.
Contemporary moon cakes come with flavors like rum and raisin, oreo chocolate, cheese, tiramisu, cappuccino, yoghurt, muesli, fruit, liquor flavors like champagne, Cognac, XO and Singapore Sling.
Other creative versions are moon cakes produced with other ingredients but made to resemble a moon cake. For example, Jelly moon cakes and ice cream moon cakes. These products appeal to the young, fashionable, expatriate and tourist segment.
Low sugar and sugarless moon cakes have surfaced to address health and lifestyle issues and can be a feature in both the traditional and contemporary categories. These products are popular with diabetics, overweight consumers or health and weight conscious consumers.
Appearing along with moon cakes are mascot moon cakes. These are baked confectionary in different shapes and are offered with or without filings. Mascot moon cakes come in all shapes and sizes in both traditional motifs as well as popular characters from the mass media.
As cultural products, moon cakes and moon biscuits becomes medium for social solidarity when they are presented as gifts to family, friends and business associates. When families gather to consume it or when children consume moon cakes, they are often told the stories associated with Mid Autumn.
The consumption of moon cakes becomes a mechanic for cultural transmission. Chinese tea often accompanies the consumption of moon cake to aid digestion.
Its widespread presence during the Mid Autumn festival serves as a avenue for non Chinese, expatriates and tourists to experience the mid autumn through the act of consumption.