I'm a little late on posting this, but I did want to comment on the delicious confections available this time of year: moon cakes. To celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival (aka the Moon Festival), various Asian cultures serve up moon cakes. Us Americans have what could be construed as an obsession with sweets. We are the land of Coca Cola, Hershey's and Cinnabon. But, truth be told, we may have inherited our sweet tooth from some of our European ancestry (Belgian chocolate, French pastries, Italian gelato, etc.). My impression of many Asian cultures is that sweets are not a high priority. I've heard that fruit often serves as the final course of a meal. That's what this time of the year all the more interesting because of the abundance of moon cakes. These cakes come in a few varieties. This year I tried lotus seed paste and red bean paste, the latter of which is seen below. In years past I've also had sweetened mung bean. All have an earthy flavor, with a coarse pasty texture. The outer shell is tender but sturdy, thicker than most pastries or cakes. The cake itself is often shaped in various ways, including these small buns stamped with various characters, larger buns, small squares, and in the shape of a pig.
If you can find any moon cakes around, definitely get some before they're gone. For those in the Triangle area, I found these at the Grand Asia Market in Cary. They'll give you a perspective on how another part of the world celebrates with calories.