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Dcat

When to buy 月餅

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Dcat

大家好!I was planning on going into the Chinatown in my city at some point during these next couple weeks to buy some mooncakes for 中秋節, but I'm not sure when to go in. About how long before the holiday should I go into Chinatown to buy the mooncakes? I don't want them to be sold out, but I also don't want to go in too early and see that there are none there yet.

 

謝謝!

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ZhangKaiRong

Taking into consideration that the festival will be on 15th September this year, going to buy mooncakes the next week or the first week of September would be OK. Depending on where you live, I wouldn't worry about mooncakes being sold out. There is quite a big Chinese colony living here in my city (which I assume a determining factor for the overall mooncake demand), but the Chinese supermarkets had mooncakes for sale even a week after the festival - at half price.

 

Hope that you'll find some good ones, as quality tends to vary a lot place by place. I ate my first mooncake in my country 6 years ago, which was plain bad (but quite expensive, around 2.5€). It was an imported cake, and was considered one of the cheapest as I found out when I spent my exchange year in China, and saw the exact same 月饼 in the local supermarkets. Last year I found out that there is a Chinese bakery operating in my city, and they make delicious mooncakes in September, with dense coconut paste and the 五仁 versions around 3-3.5€ per piece. I'm looking forward to spend money on those this year as well :D

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abcdefg

They are on the shelves in abundance here (Kunming) now, and many stores are already having promotions. 

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Dcat

Awesome, thanks guys! I'll go into Chinatown next week then. I've already scouted out what seems to be a great local Chinese pastry shop, and people say the mooncakes there are excellent. Maybe I'll go in a bit early in the day to make sure they're still in stock, because the place is pretty popular I think. It would definitely be nice if they also had the 五仁 versions. Looking forward to it!

謝謝你們!

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geraldc

By Chinatown, I guess you're not in China. 

 

Are you planning to eat them yourself or are you planning to give them away?

 

If you're planning to eat them yourself, I'd say wait till after the festival, and pick the cakes up a lot cheaper than normal. Chinatown supermarkets normally slash the price the day after. I've never seen them sell out.

 

If you've no one to impress, I say save the money, experience the cake a day late, and save 50%.

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Dcat

Yeah, I was planning on keeping them to eat with myself and my family. I'll be out of town in the days after though (for a completely unrelated reason), so perhaps it would just be better to take the pricing and get them when I can. Thank you for the insight, though. I thought they sold out days before the festival.

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abcdefg

Good advice from GeraldC. That's exactly what I do. Buy some nicely wrapped and nicely boxed ones for gifts as necessary in a timely manner, but for my own table I buy a few when prices are slashed. When I am given some, which seems to be inevitable, I re-gift them with the speed of light.

 

Don't like them much anyhow. Gummy texture and a million calories per bite.

 

Never had a chance to try home-made ones, but I have had some that were limited production from the kitchen of a fancy hotel. They were probably better, but I wouldn't swear to it.

 

My main objection to mooncake is that they are just so very concentrated. More like some sort of heavy-duty survival food. A couple days' worth of salt, sugar and fat in each one. Definitely not light and flaky pastry. After I eat one, it sits like a lump in my stomach undigested for hours and hours. (Yes, I do chew them on the way down.)

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大肚男

I second gerald''s idea.

Here in south Florida, all Chinese supermarkets are well stocked with many kinds of moon cakes.

On a side note, I always thought moon cakes are a weird tradition; they are very expensive, and their calorie to deliciousness ratio is too high.

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eion_padraig

I think of moon cakes as China's answer to fruit cake. You give them away, but no one really wants to eat them. 

 

The only moon cake I ever had that I enjoyed was my American friend's home-make moon cakes. He put Durian pudding in it. I'm pretty sure that's not a traditional variation.

 

Eion

 

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roddy

Man, I never forget my first mooncake. I thought I was biting into something akin to a pork pie. Ended up with a mouthful of over-sweet sticky gunk that took ages to politely chew my way through. I've harboured quite an irrational hatred of them ever since. 

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abcdefg

Went to a medium-size neighborhood supermarket (好又多超市)this afternoon for something else and took a few phone snapshots of the Mooncake display. When I was new to China, I didn't really understand what a big deal it is to give flashy gifts on traditional holidays. And the packaging is so important. These gift boxes are huge.

 

Mooncakes are all about 面子 face, not about whether they taste good.

 

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post-20301-0-09667100-1471947097_thumb.jpg  post-20301-0-99946300-1471947105_thumb.jpg

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skylee

“Mooncakes are all about 面子 face, not about whether they taste good.”

I don't think this is 100% true.

I do (or did) like to eat moon cakes, though I haven't had any for many years. I like the lotus seed paste, the egg yolk(s) and the crust. But as everyone knows, they are not healthy food. And it is best to eat them with family and friends which I have very few.

I think moon cakes in Hong Kong are generally of good quality.

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Alex_Hart

We've got them out here in NYC's CT - thought it was a bit early but heh. 

 

I had a couple of store bought 月饼 over the years and never thought much of them, but had one made by the mother of a friend and thought it was delicious. A Madeleine it is not, but still went well with a cup of black coffee.

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dwq

In Hong Kong mooncakes used to be sold by 餅家 (Chinese bakery) only a decade or two ago, but apparently since they are highly profitable goods (consider the price of the ingredients and the end price), nowadays every Chinese restaurant, western bakery, and even fast food chains sell pre-order tickets which can be redeemed for mooncakes before the festival.

 

And because people can only consume so many mooncakes, they try to one-up each other and starts selling tickets as early as possible.  It has become quite common that as soon as they finish selling 粽子 Rice Dumplings for 端午節 Dragon Boat Festival around June they start selling tickets for mooncakes.

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abcdefg

Another day, another store. This one was 家乐福。Big display of "singleton" Mooncakes, first thing you see after stepping through the entrance. All prices, including the very cheapest. And since these are individually wrapped, you aren't paying for a fancy gift box.

 

If you just wanted to sample one or two kinds of Mooncake yourself, this would be the way to do it. Several hundred from which to choose. I didn't count them, but if you told me there were a thousand different kinds, I wouldn't argue the point.

 

In Yunnan, they often feature 宣威火腿 Xuanwei cured ham, since it's a locally-famous product that lends itself well to this application. The ham is named after the county in Qujing Prefecture 曲靖州/宣威县城 where it is produced.

 

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If you haven't lived in China, you may not be expecting that at this time of year, not only are all the stores full of Mooncake, but seasonal vendors have leased space on the sidewalks outside the stores to further bombard you with buying options. They are a very common sight, beginning middle or late August.

 

post-20301-0-12697200-1472013881_thumb.jpg   post-20301-0-06099600-1472013891_thumb.jpg 

 

It would be impossible to ignore Mooncake here on the Mainland. Love it or hate it; this is the Mooncake time of year.

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geraldc

Roddy's reference to pork pies is actually quite accurate. A few years ago when people in Hong Kong got health conscious and the moon cake manufacturers thought that this was as selling point, some cakes were advertised as now no longer featuring lard. Not that we knew that they had lard in in the first place.

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Alex_Hart

Nice pics, abcd! 

 

Interesting, gerald. Wondering since that was a few years ago, but does HK have the nutrition guidelines that some western countries do requiring ingredients to be labeled? 

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lips

You can also get tiny little cut up samples for free at some supermarkets.

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