Mooncake is the symbol of Mid-autumn festival in Vietnam. Only on this occasion, mooncakes are made and sold popularly. Without the mooncake, Mid-autumn festival couldn’t be complete. There are a wide range of mooncakes in Vietnam with different kinds of crust, fillings. They also comes in different shapes and sizes.
1. Shape: round and square
Vietnamese people mold mooncake into 2 main kinds of shapes: round and square. We believe that square shape symbolizes for the Earth, round shape symbolizes for the Sky. We love flower which is the symbol of beauty and happiness so that floral molds are favorite to make mooncakes.
2. Crust: sticky and baked
There are 2 kinds of mooncake’s crusts: baked and glutinous (sticky). The baked crust is made from wheat flour, egg, oil, baking soda and special syryp. It’s not simple to make the special syryp. It adds flavors and colors to the crust so that the crust is soft, smelling and tasty. The crust is very thin, the syryp helps the crust sticky. Ingredients are sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, maltose and water. All of them are cooked for about 30 minute at medium heat until the liquid turns sticky. The syryp has cockroach wing color, it must be stored in an airtight jar from 4 days to 1 month. The longer we store the syryp, the more delicious the mooncake’s crust. They also cover mix of egg yolk and sesame oil onto the crust. Baked mooncake is brown, shining, tender and fragrant after grilling.
Tender and glutinous mooncake’s sticky crust is made from special flour, pomelo flower extract, oil and special syryp. We make sticky crust by burning sticky rice, then ground burnt sticky rice. After molding, sticky mooncake could be eaten.
3. Fillings: sweet or mixed
There are hundreds of recipes of mooncake’s fillings which could be divided into 2 main groups: sweet and mixed.
The most traditional and favorite sweet filling are mung bean paste, lotus seed paste. They also mix durian/padan leaf’s juice with mung bean paste/lotus seed paste to create delicious and smelling sweet fillings. Other popular fillings are taro paste, red bean, black bean, chocolate, tea powder, minced coconut meat, sesame, young green rice. One or more salted duck egg yolk could be put in the middle of sweet filling to make the cake more tasty.
The most favorite mixed filling is “five kernels” filling. Five nuts usually include walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds,peanuts, sesame seeds, or almonds. These nuts and seeds are coarsely chopped, held together with maltose syrup, wine (optional). Combinations of 5 nuts and seeds differ from region to region. They can add more nuts and seeds (lotus seeds, cashew) and others such as Chinese sausage, lemon leaves, dried chicken, roasted chicken, bird nest, shark fin…
Mooncake with lotus seed paste filling
Mooncake with mung bean paste filling
Mooncake with mung bean paste & 1 salted duck egg yolk filling
Mooncake with mung bean paste & tea powder & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
Mooncake with mung bean paste & pandan leaf’s juice & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
Mooncake with five kernels & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
4. Mooncake set
These days, mooncakes are packed sold in attractive box and has become a meaningful gift at the second biggest festival of Vietnam – Mid-autumn festival.
5. How to eat
We don’t eat mooncake like other kinds of cakes. We don’t eat whole at the same time. Dinners should cut the cake into 4, 6 or 8 pieces, eat each piece slowly with tea.