Basket of Abundance

September 22, 2010 at 7:00 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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Today is the Mooncake Festival. I am sure many of you had already bought boxes of the sweet pastries to enjoy under the fullest moon of the year. Many people love those with egg yolks, and mooncakes with double egg yolks normally cost the most. But for Itchyfingers, personally I like those without yolk…just plain red bean paste or with lotus seeds would be good enough. I prefer those with traditional skin to the snow skins. In fact, I like the skin cos of its sweetness. :p

I am also sure many people know about the little piglet mooncakes 猪仔饼 that are also available during the mooncake festival. These are either sold separately or if you were to buy enough mooncakes, you might even be given these little piggy mooncakes free.

A piggy mooncake with fanciful eyes made of uncooked red beans and a
ribbon for decoration. These cost $1.20 and come packed in ugly and
environmental unfriendly plastic boxes, sealed for hygiene purposes

I was surprised that the piggy contained red bean paste…

But do you know why do they sell piglet mooncake?

I remembered reading somewhere online (which I couldn’t find it now) that in the older days, in order not to waste food, people used the leftover dough from making mooncakes to make into little piggies mooncake without fillings inside. As to why they used the roasted piglet shape, it could be because pigs represent ‘abundance’ in chinese culture, and roasted piglets are a norm during festive seasons…

So, a more traditional piggy mooncake looks like this…

The more traditional piggy used to be placed directly inside a red plastic
basket and hung with a nylon string for display at shops. Nowaday for
hygiene purposes, they are sealed in a plastic bag with expiry date before
putting into the different colourful baskets

This mooncake, with an outline of a roasted pig, is put into a plastic cage reminiscent of traditional bamboo cages that were used for transportation of pigs. Hence it is also called 猪笼饼, or ‘pig cage biscuit’. This is the only type of mooncake biscuit that comes with its very own packaging. Very cute indeed, and thus popular among kids!

The old fashioned piggy mooncake has no filling insides. This costs only
50 cents! Taste not so bad too!

Now we know why people made these piggy-shaped mooncakes. But Itchyfingers has another burning question – piggies in cages are called 猪笼. If you watch chinese dramas on tv, you would often see those who committed adultery being punished by putting them into these cages meant for pigs and thrown into the water – to be slowly drown to death, a practice known as 浸猪笼 (literally, “soak in pig cage”) :O

So the burning question is – what has 浸猪笼 to do with Mooncake Festival 中秋节? :O

Looked online for answer and got nothing. Then casually asked this question to Tisu Boy and finally got an “answer” – Mooncake Festival needs to 浸猪笼 cos Miss Chang-e 嫦娥 had committed adultery with Mr Wu Gang 吴刚 on the moon! Wahahahah…! 😀

Happy Mooncake Festival to all! 😀

Also see related post:
> The Full Monty


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