Mooncake is the symbol of the 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 is a wide range of mooncakes in Vietnam with different kinds of crust, fillings. They also come in different shapes and sizes.
1. Shape of Vietnamese Mooncakes: 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 of Vietnamese Mooncakes: 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 syrup. It’s not simple to make the special syrup. It adds flavors and colors to the crust so that the crust is soft, smelling and tasty. The crust is very thin, the syrup helps the crust sticky. Ingredients are sugar, lemon juice, lemon peel, maltose, and water. All of them are cooked for about 30 minutes at medium heat until the liquid turns sticky. The syrup has cockroach wing color, it must be stored in an airtight jar from 4 days to 1 month. The longer we store the syrup, the more delicious the mooncake’s crust. They also cover a 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 syrup. We make the sticky crust by burning sticky rice, then ground burnt sticky rice. After molding, sticky mooncake could be eaten.
3. Fillings of Vietnamese mooncakes: 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/pandan 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 tastier.
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, birds nest, shark fin…
Sticky mooncake with lotus seed paste filling
Baked mooncake with mung bean paste filling
Cut a baked mooncake to see mung bean paste & 1 salted duck egg yolk filling
An attractive mooncake with mung bean paste & tea powder & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
Mooncake with mung bean paste & pandan leaves’ juice & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
Mooncake with five kernels & 2 salted duck egg yolk filling
4. Vietnamese mooncake set
These days, mooncakes are packed and sold in beautiful and luxury boxes which have become meaningful gifts at the second biggest festival of Vietnam – Mid-autumn festival.
5. How to eat Vietnamese mooncake?
We don’t eat mooncake like other kinds of cakes. We don’t eat the whole cake at the same time. Dinners should cut the cake into 4, 6 or 8 pieces, eat each piece slowly with tea.