The Mid-Autumn Festival revolves around the moon, so it’s only natural that mooncakes would be a thing! They originated in China, but in Vietnam these cakes are called Banh Trung Thu, which means mid-autumn cake.
There are two main shapes of mooncake in Vietnam. The circle represents the sky, and square represents the earth.
Mooncakes often have flower patterns on them, symbolizing beauty and happiness. There are also other elaborate shapes, such as fish!
There are also two main types of crust, the baked crust, which uses wheat flour.
And the glutinous crust, which uses sticky rice flour. These crusts are very heavy and hard to get through.
Mooncakes come with a variety of fillings. The sweet ones often have red or green bean fillings. The one pictured below was very sweet and rich.
The savory or salty ones have a long list of ingredients, such as chicken or pork, Chinese sausage, melon seeds, peanuts, cashews, lime, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, lotus seeds, sausage, and more. Often they have five different types of kernals and nuts.
Where we bought them
We bought one from a Vin Mart supermarket chain. We asked one of the employees where we could find mooncakes, and she told us they were sold out due to the festival. However, she managed to find a couple sitting near the registers. Then she helped us figure out which was which.
It was quite amusing because she asked if we like sweet or salty and we said we had no idea. She said she preferred sweet because, “The pork is too strong.” She then proceeded to show us which ones were pork, pointing and angrily saying, “Pork, pork, pork, pork,” until she found one that was sweet with beans. We bought that one.
The other, we found in a bakery, where they were kind enough to let us into the back and take a look at them making all the different mooncakes.
While walking along, we came across a cooking demonstration where the chefs were making sticky rice mooncake pastry.
We got to taste a sample. It was quite chewy, and not in a bad way.
What we thought of them
We found the flavours to be very rich and the mooncakes to be very filling. The salty one kind of reminded me a little of Christmas pudding, with all the different flavours and spices. If you’re a fan of that type of thing, you’ll probably like these mooncakes.
For such a small little cake, we both struggled to even get through half a one, they’re that strong to eat. They’re also pretty expensive to buy, generally ranging from 45,000-150,000 VND per cake.
It’s not something we’d buy again, but we’re glad to have tasted the flavors of festivity and unity.