That time of the year has come. Time for the first midterm exam of the undergraduates, and the first exam-grading party of the graduate students. Time for looking back and asking what have I been doing since school started, beside avoiding my advisor for fear of his question “how is the research going?”. Time for kids to buy lanterns, if you’re in Vietnam, and for adults to return home, if you’re in Korea. Time for Walmart, Michael’s, Kroger and the gang to pull out a full display of Halloween and Thanksgiving colors. Time for Asian expats to savour their mooncakes.
It isn’t called “mooncake” for no reason. There’s a moon inside the cake. A bright deep yellow egg yolk, salted to perfection. I always eat this last, putting the whole ball in my mouth and slowly eroding it away. The background of the “moon” can be anything, from assorted nuts and lap cheong to sweetened bean paste. Kinh Do churned out the green tea version (nonexistent in Saigon when I was there 5 years ago). Talk about 2-in-1 convenience, now you don’t have to drink tea while eating mooncakes anymore.
Some prefer the crust to the ubersugary filling. I’m one of them. So they make the dough into shapes of little piglets. My officemate and I laughed so hard the other day when we found out that both the Singaporeans and the Vietnamese do that, although in different ways. Vietnamese people have the baby pigs surrounding a mommy pig, herself a big mooncake with all the stuffing and egg yolks inside. The Singaporeans make it easy for kids to take their piggy around: