I'm a little late writing this post, but better late then never! Last week, from 1st-7th October, China was celebrating Golden Week. The 1st October is National Day when China commemorates the founding of the PRC (People's Republic of China). You can see the Chinese flag flying all around the city of Shanghai. The red colour symbolizes the spirit of the revolution and the yellow stars signify the unity of the people under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party.
The Mid-Autumn festival was celebrated during Golden Week on 4th October. The festival is celebrated because the ancient Chinese recognised the moon's relationship with the change of the seasons and agricultural production. It is said that the Chinese used to make sacrifices to the moon on Autumn days. There are also legends associated with the festival like that of Chang E who in order to protect her husband's elixir flew all the way to the moon. Nowadays, families gather together to admire the full moon and eat moon cakes. Moon cakes can be sweet or savoury and come in many beautiful designs. In the photos below you can see some examples of fancier, more expensive moon cakes being sold in the Hong-Kong based supermarket City Super. You can also see some ice-cream moon cakes!
As I was wondering through the streets of the French Concession I came across traditional moon cakes being made in a bakery, and also in a restaurant. These two establishments seem to be using different methods to make the cakes, with one baking them in a round press-like oven (seen underneath the tray of cakes), and the other cooking them in a big wide pan.
The bakery were also selling packaged sweet moon cakes (bottom left) which were filled with a coconut paste and very delicious. I bought some of the savoury cakes from the restaurant too (on the right), but these were filled with a type of crab meat and, in my opinion, not so delicious!
So why crab meat? Well, in Shanghai it is the season for hairy crabs. Hairy crabs are considered to be a delicacy, and I'm ashamed to say that I have not yet tasted them as a dish in their own right! Apparently, they are best served steamed with a sauce of rice vinegar, ginger and sugar. On my travels around Shanghai I saw several hairy crab shops that have popped up in time for the crab season. We even saw hairy crabs on sale at the airport for people to buy and munch on the plane!
After a few days enjoying Golden Week in Shanghai, we then jetted off to Seoul, Republic of Korea, for the last half of the week. The next post will follow shortly....
I have been teaching French and Spanish for 13 years. I qualified and started teaching in the UK, and I currently work at Shanghai Community International School, China. I have experience teaching GCSEs and IB DP and MYP. Find out more about me within these blog pages or below at Linked In.