I Fixed Chinese Mooncakes

Mooncakes are a rich (read: gut bomb of a) pastry, commonly filled with duck egg yolks and either red bean or lotus seed paste. They are a traditional Chinese snack and always offered during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

If you grew up nibbling on them while sitting on your grandma’s lap and gazing up at the full harvest moon, you probably find them cozy and delicious.

Otherwise, mooncakes are an acquired taste.

Mooncake with egg yolk lotus paste center

Mooncake (photo via http://www.huizhou.cn)

Hostess Ding Dongs are similarly-sized and are also round-shaped, like the moon. The key differences between Ding Dongs and mooncakes being that duck egg yolks are replaced by cream, lotus paste by chocolate cake and pastry by chocolate icing. I grew up eating them in my grandma’s RV while gazing out at rain sodden campgrounds.

Thus, based on both flavor and nostalgia, I propose Ding Dongs as a lovely mooncake alternative.

Hostess Ding Dong

Hostess Ding Dong (photo via Hostess via Boston Magazine)


(To those who would scold me for proposing an alternative to a traditional food that is not part of my own heritage: please, I’m begging you to please fix my traditional Thanksgiving turkey by replacing it with a steamer basket full of xiao long bao. And can you also propose a replacement for Christmas cake?)

9 responses to “I Fixed Chinese Mooncakes

  1. I have this theory that savory foods are easier to adjust to in different cultures to a certain degree, but desserts are much harder. For one thing, some cultures have completely different tastes, liking sour or licorice *cough*, while others like sweet. But mainly it comes down to desserts being a “special” food and so we imprint on them at an early age. No matter how much you might like certain desserts in other countries, they’re almost never going to be as truly satisfying as your home-culture desserts.

    • I hadn’t really thought about it like that, but you’re exactly right. I’ve never enjoyed mooncakes, British Christmas cake or Dutch ‘drop.’ That said, doesn’t everyone enjoy a good American chocolate cake doughnut? πŸ˜‰

    • The mass-produced Hostess version is probably less tasty in reality as it is in my memory. But, if someone made a homemade version, I bet it would be truly delicious!

  2. Great idea! I personally LOVE mooncakes (especiually the ones filled with red bean), but I have never met any other foreigners that do… Hostess cakes it is (drool, sure wish we could get those here lol).

    • Funny, I actually like steamed buns with red bean paste inside, but I’ve never loved the mooncake version. Perhaps I’ve never tried the right kind? Freshly made (rather than wrapped and boxed for weeks) they might be better, right?

  3. Funnily enough, I saw this on some social media channel in the last two weeks, but did not clock who the author was. Nice to make the connection today. Love the site : ) I will be back for more reading at some later date.

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