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How to Eat Mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival (Without Embarrassing Yourself)

How to Eat Mooncakes during Mid-Autumn Festival (Without Embarrassing Yourself)

Written by CindyUpdated Sep. 7, 2022

As Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching, and so is the once-a-year time to eat mooncakes. Do you have any questions about eating mooncakes? After reading this popular Q&A article, you will be able to eat mooncakes correctly and knowledgeably.

1. What do mooncakes taste like?

The taste of mooncakes is highly diverse. Starting from the traditional lotus seed paste savory taste and the classic ‘five kernel roast pork' flavor, and moving on to the more contemporary custard and cream cheese flavors, you will be able to find almost any flavor of mooncake and some that you prefer.

Generally, all mooncakes have a softshell which is sweet and crumbly. Depending on the filling, the taste of the mooncake can vary widely, from salty, and mildly sweet to extremely sweet.

Check out The Top 10 Flavors of Mooncakes.

mooncake flavors

2. How is it best to eat a mooncake?

First of all, you should take your mooncake packet/box, unwrap it, and take out the mooncake. You can then eat it any number of ways:

If you have a more refined taste, you may want to use a knife and a fork. You can cup it into quarters or more and then eat it with a fork.

If you want a more Asian feel, you can use chopsticks. Often it is sliced into bite-size pieces for friends/family to share. Of course, you can also just eat with your hands and bite it without any utensils.

3. What should I drink with my mooncakes?

Mooncakes are generally served with Chinese tea. If you are looking for a little more buzz than tea, a glass of wine can always be a nice addition to the table.

Also, don’t be afraid to come up with your own pairing with other beverages like coffee and whiskey. Your imagination might surprise you!

mooncakes

4. Are mooncakes eaten cold or hot?

All mooncakes are good to eat at room temperature. If you have your mooncakes in the fridge, you may take them out, wait for 30 to 60 minutes and then eat them. There’s no need to heat them up.

5. How much mooncake should I eat?

The energy provided by a mooncake generally exceeds what we need for a meal. Therefore, do not over-eat mooncakes!

If necessary, you can try to limit yourself to one-eighth of an average-sized mooncake and share the rest with those around you. Of course, if you don't mind the sugar and carbohydrates, it is no problem to eat a whole mooncake.

6. When should I eat mooncakes?

Mooncakes are usually consumed as desserts, eaten after dinner while admiring the moon with family or friends.

eat mooncakes with families

7. Can I eat mooncakes alone?

Just like any holiday, Mid-Autumn Festival is best enjoyed with as many friends and family as possible. Given the staggering calorie count, you may also need to make sure you have enough people to share your mooncakes!

8. Is it okay to eat mooncakes at other times of the year?

Maybe it’s just an old wives’ tale, or maybe it’s a lunar effect thing, but the rumors are that eating a mooncake at any time other than under a full moon will cause tummy aches. 

It's generally viewed as okay to eat mooncakes outside of the Mid-Autumn Festival period, although not many people actually eat them other than during this festival.

Most of mooncake manufacturers produce mooncakes once a year and only start making them when the Mid-Autumn Festival is approaching. So, it can be difficult to buy mooncakes when it isn't the Mid-Autumn Festival prelude.

9. How long does a Chinese mooncake last before going bad?

The consume-by date of a commercial mooncake ranges from 10 or 15 days to a few months, 10 months, or even longer. It depends on the packaging, filling, the ratio of the ingredients, and the storage temperature. Different brands of mooncakes have different expiration dates.

A homemade mooncake can usually last for a week as long as it's refrigerated.

To ensure the quality of your mooncakes, please buy them from reputable retail outlets or supermarkets. Check the expiry date before eating a mooncake.

mid-autumn festival mooncakes

10. Should mooncakes be kept in the fridge?

Mooncakes are best not refrigerated. Mooncakes contain a rich variety of vegetable oils and sugars that are prone to damp and mildew if stored in the refrigerator. At low temperatures, the skin of the mooncakes dries out and the mooncakes become hard, affecting their taste.

Mooncakes within their shelf life should be stored in a cool, ventilated, and dry place.

Snow skin mooncakes are an exception, which should be placed in the refrigerator at 2–5°C (36–41°F).

11. Is mooncake a healthy food?

The main ingredients of mooncakes are rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Mooncakes are generally high in carbs, fats, and calories, which means they have a high potential to cause the individual to gain weight and overeat. There is only a small amount of protein in the dish, which makes for an imbalance of macronutrients.

Luckily, this kind of calorie-rich festive delight is only served once a year!

12. What should I wear for eating mooncakes (Mid-Autumn Festival)?

Actually, most Chinese people wear nothing special for Mid-Autumn Festival. For a festive atmosphere, some people wear a qipao or dress up as Chang’e, the Lady of the Moon. 

Much like Thanksgiving, Mid-Autumn Festival is a joyful time. You can wear festive clothes or anything you like.

 

More Topics about Mooncakes 

1. What is the origin of mooncakes?

The history of mooncakes can be traced back to 3,000 years ago in China. The predecessor of the mooncake was the Taishi cake, eaten as early as the Shang Dynasty (17th century BC – 1046 BC) and Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BC). For a long time in China’s history, mooncakes (or Taishi cakes, as they were then known) were a kind of worship offering to the moon.

It is said that the tradition of eating ‘mooncakes’ during the Mid-Autumn festival began in the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368), a dynasty ruled by the Mongols. Messages to rebel against the Mongols were passed around in mooncakes.  See more about the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival

mid-autumn festival mooncakes

2. What's the meaning behind mooncakes?

In Chinese culture, roundness symbolizes completeness and togetherness. A full moon symbolizes prosperity and reunion for the whole family. Round mooncakes complement the harvest moon in the night sky at the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The mooncake is not just a food. It's a profound cultural tradition deep in Chinese people's hearts, symbolizing a spiritual feeling. At Mid-Autumn Festival, people eat mooncakes together with family, or present mooncakes to relatives or friends, to express love and best wishes.

3. What is the legend of the mooncake?

Mooncakes are associated with Chang’e (嫦娥), the Goddess of the Moon. In the most famous version of the legend, Chang’e was forced to eat the elixir of immortality, which had been rewarded to her husband Hou Yi because he shot down nine out of ten suns to save the world from a scorching demise. Then she flew to the moon and became the Moon Goddess. Hou Yi was heartbroken and displayed the fruits and cakes that Chang'e had enjoyed to convey to Chang’e that he missed her.

Since then, worshipping the moon and eating mooncakes (and displaying fruits) have become traditions of Mid-Autumn Festival.

For more on this, learn more about the stories of Mid-Autumn Festival.

mid-autumn festival mooncakes

Click to learn more about Chinese Mooncakes — Symbols, Flavors, Regional Varieties

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