Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mid Autumn Moon Festival

Mooncakes being served by our kind hostess

A month ago, on the even of a full moon, I was in Dali, China (Yunnan).  It was such a fun time and honor to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival ("Moon Festival") with a local family.  It's tradition during this festival to visit family, and we began in the brother's home of our host.  This woman (I've named "Grandmother") served us this AMAZING mooncake, made in the bamboo basket and filled with walnuts and chestnuts.  I ate my share and then some!

We tasted longan fruit.  The longan is a relative of lychee.  Sweet and juicy!  Good Lapsang Soochong teas are said to have a hint of the flavor of a dried longan. 
Longan fruit, called "Dragon's Eye"

Chinese Pomegranate

We also enjoyed fresh pomegranates, which are not like the ones sold in the states.  The skin is soft yellow and pink, and the flesh of the fruit is light with a pink tint.  We saw these growing along the roadside, each fruit on the tree covered in a protective plastic bag.  Such time intensive work!

We strolled through the traditional village and down to the river, then to our host's home for the evening.  (Our final stop was one of the homes across the way.)

Roof-top view of the village

Our delicious meal

Our host was the chef from the Linden Centre.  I'll write more about the Centre in another post, but I highly recommend it!  We ate al fresco in the center courtyard.  We had an array of delicious foods, including melon shoots (on the far right).  They were served like sauteed pea shoots.

When the evening was done, I had sampled four types of mooncake:  1 - The walnut-chestnut (my favorite!)  2 - A pastry-like crust with a sweet pork filling (the pastry in photo above)  3 - Packaged version with a meat filling (it came home for the DH) and 4 - Sesame with dried fruit, also very delicious.

There she is!  This photo taken by one of my taller tour mates.  :-)

The moment we first saw the moon peeking over the rooftop was special. Everyone's conversation stopped and collective enthusiasm welcomed her to the night sky.


Anonymous said...

What lovely description and photos of a memorable evening.

Teafan said...

Cool!!!! How many US folks have had celebrated the moon festival in China? Not too many.

Anonymous said...

I would love to try those pomegranates! They look delicious, so big! Tammy @ Tammy's Tea

Marilyn said...

Oh have very special! These are the experiences of traveling that make for wonderful memories. As you were sharing mooncakes under the full moon, we were doing so at the Chinese Gardens. I had never liked them before, but they had some really good ones. What a treat for you! It also brings to memories some special meals we shared in Taiwan in the spring.

Angela McRae said...

This sounds like quite a memorable meal from quite a memorable trip!