Mid-Autumn Festival Food in China - Top 10 Dishes You Must Try
1. Mooncake - the Most Popular Mid-Autumn Festival Food
As a festival to celebrate the full moon, mooncake is a must on the Mid-Autumn Festival. Although it has various styles, fillings and flavors, it is always round with the same shape as the full moon, which symbolizes family reunion. On the festival night, all families sit together to share mooncakes, also meaning reunion. The most popular mooncake flavors include mixed nuts, red bean, white lotus, salt yolk and fruits, etc.
2. Osmanthus Cake – Delicacy Made from Seasonal Flowers
Osmanthus is in bloom around the Mid-Autumn Festival. Chinese people add this seasonal flowers into pastries to make another popular Mid-Autumn Festival food, the osmanthus cakes. It tastes sweet with a strong fragrance of osmanthus, containing nutrients such as gum, vitamins, protein and calcium. People also make sliced lotus root with osmanthus sugar for the reunion dinner.
3. Osmanthus Wine – Sweet and Happy Life
It is a traditional custom since Warring States Period (475 - 221 BC) to make wine with the full-bloomed osmanthus. Making from honey, sticky rice and osmanthus, the osmanthus wine tastes sweet, expressing people’s wishes for sweet and happy life.
4. Hairy Crab - Popular in South China
Mid-Autumn Festival is the harvest season of hairy crabs, so it is widely seen on the Mid-Autumn Festival dinner, especially in South China, which is their home of growth. The most famous hairy crabs are those from Gucheng Lake, Taihu Lake, Yangcheng Lake, etc. The most popular and easiest way to cook them is steaming.
5. Fried River Snails - A Specialty of Guangzhou
During the Mid-Autumn Festival, river snails are extremely fat and their meat tastes the best. What’s more, it’s said that eating river snails on the Mid-Autumn Festival can brighten eyes. They have been a Mid-Autumn Festival traditional food in Guangdong since the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 AD).
6. Duck - More Nutrition and Best Taste in Autumn
Duck is suitable to eat in the dry autumn, having an effect of moistening lungs and throat. And after growing for more than half a year, ducks in the eighth lunar month are neither too fat nor too thin, thus taste the best in a year. There is a story about how ducks become a Mid-Autumn Festival food. In the late Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 AD), the rulers bullied the people, and the people prepared to revolt secretly. Everyone agreed that eating ducks on the Mid-Autumn Festival as a signal to take action together. Later, duck became a Mid-Autumn Festival food, especially in Sichuan, Zhejiang, Fujian and Taiwan. There are salted duck, roast duck, marinated duck, etc.
7. Taro - Bringing Good Luck
Taros is a Mid-Autumn Festival food which is said to prevent against bad luck and evil spirits. In the dialect of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, taro has a similar pronunciation with “good luck comes”. Besides, people in Chaoshan of Guangdong province peel and eat taros on the festival with a symbolic meaning of peeling the skin of ghosts to make them perish.
8. Pomegranate - More Kids and More Blessings
Newly harvested around the Mid-Autumn Festival, pomegranate is juicy and tastes sweet, and could not be better to eat in the dry autumn. More importantly, Chinese people relate the rich crystal seeds of pomegranate to kids. On Mid-Autumn Festival, people, especially the married women who have not been conceived, would eat pomegranate to pray for babies. In addition, as a Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival food, pomegranates are one of the sacrifices of worshipping the moon to pray for long life, reunion and auspiciousness.
9. Pomelo - Standing for Beatitude
Pomelo is one of the most important Mooncake Festival food. This is because pomelo has the same pronunciation as “blessing” in Chinese, therefore, people eat pomelo on Mid-Autumn Festival to get bless of the moon. Ripe in autumn, it has a purgative effect to relax bowels and neutralize the greasy.
10. Pumpkin - Standing for Good Health
Rich in dietary fibers and carotenes, pumpkin can lower blood sugar and blood fat, relax the bowels and moisturize the skin in the dry climate of autumn. It makes the Mid-Autumn Festival dinner richer and healthier rather than just greasy meat dishes. Eating pumpkin on Mid-Autumn Festival is especially popular in southern China.