Thursday, September 30, 2004

mooncake galore part 1:
cantonese mooncake

mooncakes at emperor bakery, sydney chinatown
♥ mooncakes display at emperor bakery, chinatown
mooncake is a must-eat item during the mid-autumn festival. it is a round little pastry, usually golden in colour but not necessary, with different types of chinese fillings. it can be sweet or savoury but it seems that the sweet one is usually more popular.

similar baked goods have long been enjoyed by the chinese at most Chinese celebrations before mooncake come around and become inextricably linked with the mid-autumn festival. way back then, the people did not have access to so many different vatypes of food as we do now. they were poor so their mooncakes were filled with a paste of lard and sugar. lard was cheap and easy to obtain. mooncakes only become a festive food until the Yuan dynasty.

there are many different types of mooncakes in different regions of china. i grew up with cantonese mooncakes, which are the most common and probably the more known mooncakes over the globe.

Hong Kong Tai Wing Wah Mooncake
♥ hong kong wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
this is a very typical cantonese mooncake from a very famous hong kong restaurant called "wing wah". every time i look at this mooncake, my heart is filled with joy and glow of warmth because this mooncake travels all the way from hong kong to sydney! lucky pinkcocoa *grin*

the mooncake is made in a specially designed wooden mould. each bakery has their own custom-made mooncake mould with their insignia. the significance of the insignia is like that of prada or gucci in the fashion world. many chinese people are willing to pay higher prices for mooncakes from reputable bakers.

if you could read chinese, the pattern on the mooncake says "tai wing wah" in the middle. double yolk on the right and white lotus on the left.

wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
♥ wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
there are many different fillings in mooncakes. this one (from wing wah) in the picture is the most common mooncake and probably most well-liked by many: the double yolk white lotus paste mooncake. yolk being that of a duck egg and not of chicken!

prices of mooncakes are based the number of yolks. the wing wah mooncake box set in my earlier post cost $41. there are also three yolks and four yolks.

then there are the different fillings: red bean paste (tau-sah), red lotus paste (lian yong), white lotus paste (bai lian yong), mung bean paste (luu dou), red date paste (hong zhao). and for those with contemporary tastebuds: cheese, chocolate, coffee, durian, pandan; just to name a few. there are also fruit fillings which are highly recommended by dietitians because of their lower sugar and fat content.

honey sugar bakery mooncake
♥ sugar honey mooncake
this is a local made mooncakes by a bakery called 'sugar honey'. cute name, isnt it? their mooncakes come in a very beautifully decorated wooden box.

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♥ savoury five nuts mooncake
in the sugar honey box were the savoury five nuts mooncake with double yolk. even though it is termed savoury, this mooncake still has a certain degree of sweetness attached. this nutty one isnt that popular among the younger generation but is very much enjoyed by the elders.

grandpa: ohhh. this one 'hor jiak' (this means tasty in hokkien)
grandma: yeah. 'hor jiak' than the other one. how come didnt open this earlier?

the 'five nuts' are walnut, almond, olive kernel, melon seeds and white sesame seeds; mixed with candied winter-melon paste. i first tried the nutty mooncake in singapore. my family isnt into nutty thing that's why i have never come across it until a few years ago. i was a little disappointed with this five-nuts mooncake. the nuts were rather oily and they were soft! no *crunch crunch* of nuts that i was so looking forward to.

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♥ zhu jiang mooncake boxset
this luxurious boxset is from a food company called "zhu jiang" in china. each mooncake comes packed in beautiful printed tin. this particular pack showcase the four legendary beauties of china.

mooncakes today come with all sort of extravagant packaging. it's more of a case of selecting the packaging over the taste. this is a rather sad phenomenon.

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♥ double yolk red lotus paste mooncake
i find the crust of the zhu-jiang mooncake a tad too wet and floury. it also isnt as brown/golden as the wing wah mooncake. i only had a small bite. this mooncake is too sweet for me.

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♥ double yolk white lotus mooncake
the white lotus mooncake from the zhu-jiang food co. is very much paler than wing wah's. the white lotus paste is almost whitish.

sorry for not having much of a good description of the zhu-jiang mooncakes. it's a personal barrier that i have set up for myself ever since i learnt about the treatment of unsold mooncakes in mainland china.

this concludes the first episode of my mooncake galore in sydney. there are a few more to come. i am still waiting for my taiwanese mooncakes to arrive in sydney. now, after some very intensive fingers exercises, let me reward them by stretching my arms over to that leftover piece of mooncake just over there......
Continue Reading mooncake galore part 1:
cantonese mooncake


Wednesday, September 29, 2004

not just another ordinary mid-autumn festival

♥ bbq the japanese way: yakiniku

with ShinChan away and everybody else busy with work (why is it that everyonne need to OT at such festive season?), i thought the mid-autumn festival this year was going to be just like one of those many chinese festivals that we easily skipped and forgot about.

but i was totally wrong. it was not just another boring weeknights where i spent my time watching tv and munching on snacks. alright, i can munch on mooncakes on this festive day but no, i dont think i really want to do that. munching mooncakes as snacks? you must be crazy!

i am sure it is not hard to notice especially to those of chinese/asian-roots, any sort of traditional chinese festivals or celebrations has to do with one theme: 're-union'. this usually means a family re-union. i dare not say all chinese festivals have to do with re-uniting but i certainly cannot think of one that isnt.

and this year, i finally managed to abide to the reuniting idea and had a small reunion in sydney. nope. wrong guess! it wasnt a family reunion but it was definitely closed to something like a family reunion. it could be hard to believe but we had a 'SAS96 class ABCD reunion' here in sydney. the term must be strange to all of you and i am sure no one has heard of this before either because i made it up right on the spot.

now comes the explanation. SAS stands for st andrews school in brunei. yup. this is my high school back in brunei. 96 because if some of us hadnt left SAS early, we would have graduated together in 1996. now comes the interesting part. why class ABCD? basically because we had one student from each class last night:

A (the geeky class): pinkcocoa
B (the normal class): jasdeep
C (the queer class): freda
D (the gangster class): jeff aka teriyaki or wolf

yup. it's a super tiny reunion, just the four of us.

date: 28 Sep 2004
where: suminoya, sydney

♥ wolf in action: jeff firing up the bbq!

there are a number of food items that are associated with the mid-autumn festival: mooncakes, mini taro, pomelo. just to name a few. barbeque and an outdoor one definitely is one of them. weeks before the mid-autumn, there are already newspaper articles on bbq, giving out tips, hints and recipes. bbq outdoor is so that you can devour on delicious bbq gourmet at the same time enjoying the companion of the luminous moon up above the sky.

now we didnt have an outdoor bbq. not that we didnt want to enjoy the beautiful view of the moon. mind you, it was cloudy and drizzling in sydney last night. we couldnt even see a trace of the moon! we decided (more like Jeff decided because he's been craving yakiniku ever since i told him about it) to head to suminoya.

i was a little worried about not booking ahead for a table. and indeed, the place was booked out when we got there! aiks. what were we to do? i was sure most place would be booked out by then. so there we were, standing at the dark alley not sure where to go. and then. 'taaaaa-daah'! a miracle happened. someone cancelled their booking and we got a table for 4! talk about coincidence.

we went for the gourmet bbq buffet @ $39.90 per person. on our first round of order, we had all the meat dishes except for the internal bits i.e. liver and intestine. we also called on all the seafood dishes. rice and soups are a no-no for us. we wanted to get the most out of the $39.90!

♥ assorted korean pickles 'kimchee'

the kimchee or 'kimuchi' in japanese term, are on the sweeter scale of korean kimchees. if you are not much of spicy food person, you might enjoy this sweet kimchee. it doesnt have that sour acidic punch of korean kimchee.

♥ almond and tuna salad

♥ seafood and seaweed salad

salad was alright. but someone had something to say.

Jeff: hey pink, look at my salad.
pinkcocoa (looking): ya. what's wrong?
Jeff: how come only 3 pieces of fish one? so stingy.

♥ from the land

we ordered all the meat dishes on the menu. when it arrived, we couldnt really tell which was which.
from memories, we had:
beef loin
beef harami (underskirt of beef)
beef ribs
beef finger
pork ribs

♥ from the ocean
left too right: squid, octopus, scallops.

not the best looking dishes ever. in fact it looks a little disgusting on this pic. *yikes* but these seafood are certainly very delicious. on the menu was also prawns. you can catch tid-bits of the prawns at the top of this pic.

♥ bbq fish in foil

the menu said "bbq fish in foil" and we thought it was fish wrapped in foil but apparently not. what an interesting way of bbq fish! we might do that the next time we have a bbq! the fish is much loved by the ladies. it is juicy and succulent!

oh yeah. we had a bit of fire in action too! ending up with quite a few pieces of charred meats! Oops.

♥ shio beef tongue (seasoned with pepper and salt)

my bbq companions gave me disgusted look when i ordered this. not many people enjoy beef tongue. it's rather chewy.

♥ beef tartar

i think this is korean raw beef, if not wrong. mix up the yolk and thinly sliced green onion together with the beef and eat! definitely not my type of food. Jeff said it was ok but freda and i were giving him disgusted look.

♥ beef sashimi

this is 100% raw beef. i had a piece and it didnt taste like raw beef at all. nevertheless i still preferred my beef slightly cooked.

♥ beef rib rice with fluffy egg in broth

Jeff decided to have a bowl of rice towards the end. i forgot to ask him how it tasted like. we were all too busy talking and catching up.

♥ delicious looking dessert

look at our dessert! the japanese are indeed very talented in food art. one scoop of vanilla and greentea icecream served on a bed of cornflakes and decorated with vanilla wafer. on the side are fresh cream, a slice of strawberry and some soft sweet red-bean paste.

coffee jelly was also on the menu. it came in a metal cuppa, like those you would have your gelato inside. the waitress told uus the coffee jelly is 'not sweet'. she was telling the truth. it was not sweet but bitter! apart from the bitterness, the jelly dissolves right on your tongue! i would have enjoyed this jelly if not for the bitter taste!

it was an amazing night. the four of us from brunei having dinner in sydney! it is not like you get this every now and then!

uh-oh. we forgot to have mooncakes. i bought two tiny snow-skin mooncakes from chinatown before dinner. oh well. we didnt manage to go 'moon-watching' with the gloomy weather in sydney so i guess it didnt really matter if we had mooncakes or not.

jeff, freda and jasdeep:
thanks for a very enjoyable night!

if only we could do this all the time....ah well, i will just have to wait until i get back to brunei. now Jeff, you have to bring me to escapades and showed me what's so good about this new jap restuarant, okie?

1 hosking place,
sydney nsw 2000
tel: 9231 2177
fax: 9231 211
lunch: mon-fri 12-3pm
dinner: 7days 6-10.30pm
Continue Reading not just another ordinary mid-autumn festival


Monday, September 27, 2004

the moon festival: a sneak preview

it's still a little too early to wish everyone a happy moon festival! or if you like, happy mid-autumn festival! or even happy mooncake festival! pick whichever you like. personally, i like "mid-autmn festival" better because the term implies what it is supposed to mean. and no. we dont celebrate because of mooncake. the mooncake is here because we celebrate.

falling on the 15th day of the 8th month in the chinese lunar calendar, it is said that the moon is of its roundest during the year. it is also a time when harvest is celebrated. more stories on this festival tomorrow.

Posted by Hello double yolk white lotus mooncake

pinkcocoa is very lucky this year. a friend sent her a wing wah mooncake voucher all the way from hong kong! it is just so heart-warming. *hugs* to this special someone.
i know it's a little rush but i am hoping to get some snow-skin or ping pi (ice skin) moon cakes tomorrow. yup. i am buying mooncake on the actual day of the festivals. fingers crossed i get some of that. hm. on second thoughts, maybe i should just wait until the day after tomorrow when all the leftover mooncakes are discounted.

it's going to be a quiet mid-autmn for me this year because someone, i repeat this someone whose nic starts with a S and ends with n; or if you preferred: his real name starting with Pand ends with rand middle of 'ete' is back in taiwan. i am very sure at this time tomorrow, he will be enjoying his authentic taiwanese mooncake by the name "luu dou peng" (savoury green bean pastry) with a nice cup of chinese tea. he better not comes back without some for me. *strong hint*

more stories on mid-autumn tomorrow!
Continue Reading the moon festival: a sneak preview


Friday, September 24, 2004

a little teaser

Alritey, I am hoping to get my foodblog start running next week. Just in time for the mid-autumn festival. think of all the mooncakes I get to eat. hmrf. please do not remind me in any case of the waistline-expansion side-effect of these sweet little chinese pastries.

Posted by Hello little koala sun-baking on a warm and sunny spring afternoon

maybe i should have post up a mooncake photo instead of a cute little choccie koala.

*pinkcocoa deciding whether to take the koala away*

nope. i am going to leave it up there. i can see the koala begging me not to take him away. right now our very dear mr. choccie koala is sitting next to me on my desk. oh dear. why would i ever think of eating him? i am such a cruel cruel chocoholics. *aiks*

'nuff of my rubbish writing for now.

Continue Reading a little teaser


Friday, September 17, 2004


I am still fiddling around with this blogger template.
Seriously I would like to customise my own template but argh. i dont know how.
so meanwhile i will just update my other site first when i get this place set up I will move everything over here.

Continue Reading Fiddling