The earliest memory I have of mooncakes is my dad bringing them home in a beautiful red metal box with gold trim. I didn’t particularly care what was inside the box — I just knew that I wanted the box.
Since then, most of the mooncakes I’ve received or bought for myself have been wrapped in a simple red paper box with Chinese characters on the front. I’ve never received mooncakes wrapped in swanky packaging. These days, I’m more interested in what’s inside the box.
Originally a revolutionary tool used to incite rebellion, some mooncakes are now unrecognizable from the traditional bean paste. I’ve read articles describing how mooncakes are now crammed with every imaginable filler: kiwi, egg custard, and more popularly ice cream, ginseng, rose, green tea and brandy. This year’s trends in juice bars have given rise to both tomato and carrot paste flavors. Sounds delightful. I think.
The mooncake pictured here is from Chinatown, given to me recently by my good friend, Kaie. It’s my favorite flavor — lotus cream with double yolk. Given my shameless lust for eggs, I fervently wish that someone would come up with a mooncake that was all yolk. Oh yeah, heart attack city I know, but definitely something to hope for.
The sight and smell of this round pastry-covered cake sends me; I actually have my own little ritual for eating a mooncake: I carefully cut it in the middle — hoping, hoping — that I slice it just right so that I get a yolk on each side. Then I cut each half in half again, so now I have four little mooncakes. Then I eat all the lotus cream first, savoring the salty-sweet paste taste that lingers on my tongue. All the while, I never let my eyes wander from those yellow orbs glinting at me like golden eyeballs. I save and eat the yolks for last — they are soft with somewhat crusty edges. Within a few blinks, those golden eyeballs are gone.