Trying Mooncakes at Hanoi’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

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.

Fish and square shaped mooncakes in Hanoi
Fish and square shaped mooncakes

Shapes

There are two main shapes of mooncake in Vietnam. The circle represents the sky, and square represents the earth.

Square mooncake with flower pattern on top
Square mooncake with flower pattern on top

Mooncakes often have flower patterns on them, symbolizing beauty and happiness. There are also other elaborate shapes, such as fish!

Crust

There are also two main types of crust, the baked crust, which uses wheat flour.

Baked crust round mooncake
Baked crust round mooncake

And the glutinous crust, which uses sticky rice flour. These crusts are very heavy and hard to get through.

Glutinous mooncake crust
Glutinous mooncake crust

Fillings

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.

Sweet mooncake filling
Sweet mooncake filling

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.

Savory mooncake filling
Savory mooncake filling

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.

Mooncakes in the Vin Mart
Mooncakes in the Vin Mart

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.

Sticky rice mooncakes
Fried Sticky rice mooncakes

We got to taste a sample. It was quite chewy, and not in a bad way.

Sample crust of a fried sticky rice mooncake pastry
Sample crust of a fried sticky rice mooncake pastry

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.

Don't miss out!
Like what you see? 😁

Put your email in here 👇 and I'll let you know when I've written some good stuff! ✍

Don't worry, I won't email you about EVERY post, just a random roundup.

Invalid email address
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Up Next:

Climate change: We are all hypocrites

Climate change: We are all hypocrites