Vietnamese Moon Cakes: A Cultural Beauty of Vietnam

Vietnamese Moon Cakes: A Cultural Beauty of Vietnam

Moon cakes are an indispensable specialty of the Mid-Autumn Festival, but not everyone knows the full meaning of this traditional cake. In this article, we will discover more interesting information about moon cakes.

The story of moon cakes

In Vietnam, whenever we talk about the Mid-Autumn Festival, all Vietnamese people immediately think of Ms. Hang and Uncle Cuoi - two protagonists in one of the most famous legends of Vietnamese folklore. 

The story goes that once upon a time, in a magnificent palace on the moon, there was a gorgeous goddess called Hang Nga. Hang Nga was the goddess of festivity, and she had always wanted to travel down to Earth to play with humans.

One day, the Jade Emperor organized a "Making cakes on the full moon day" contest, and Hang Nga had a chance to visit the Earth to find the best cake recipes. What will be will be, Hang Nga met Cuoi - who was known as a notorious liar.

Vietnamese Moon Cakes: A Cultural Beauty of Vietnam

Cuoi told lies to Hang Nga that the best recipe was a piece of cake, all she had to do was mixing all ingredients together and baking them. Surprisingly, when the cake was brought out of the clay oven, it was very flavorful, and all the children who ate it praised it.

Satisfied with the novel cake recipe she had just found out, Hang Nga hurried back to the moon. But Cuoi wanted Hang Nga to stay with him, so he pulled her back with incredible strength. As a result, Cuoi and the banyan tree in the village were also tugged away to the far-off moon.

Back at home, Hang Nga brought her hand-made cakes to participate in the competition. Her cake, unexpectedly, won the first prize and was called “Moon Cake”.

As for Cuoi, sitting under a banyan tree on the moon and watching children on Earth playing all day made him feel solitary, and could not help but burst into tears. A feeling of guilt washed over Hang Nga, so she pleaded with the Jade Emperor to let Cuoi come back home once a year on every full moon day of August. Since then, Ngoc Hoang named the full moon day of August the "Mid-Autumn Festival".

Characteristics of Vietnamese mooncakes

Vietnamese mooncakes have two most popular types: baked cakes and sticky cakes. Moon cakes are usually round, 10cm in diameter, and 4cm - 5cm high. Traditional Vietnamese mooncakes have a deep sweet taste, often served with hot tea to complete the delicious flavor of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Vietnamese Moon Cakes: A Cultural Beauty of Vietnam

The special meaning of moon cake

Sticky cake and grilled cake are most beloved during the Mid-Autumn Festival. But not many people know the true meaning behind those irresistibly delicious cakes.

The sticky rice cake is made from rice flour mixed with sugar and grapefruit perfume, with lotus seeds filling - bearing the Vietnamese nuances. The circular shape of the cake represents the shape of a full moon, symbolizing union and perfection in love.

Baked cake is made from flour stuffed with eggs and a little wine, while the filling can be made from green beans or durians covering a salted egg yolk; or mixed filling with ham, pork, coconut,... blended. The circle in the core is a symbol of fullness. The taste of the mooncake is harmonized with a salty-sweet flavor, just like the taste of life, when everyone has to go through ups and downs to achieve complete happiness.

Vietnamese Moon Cakes: A Cultural Beauty of Vietnam

Traditionally, moon cakes are a significant spiritual dish in the Mid-Autumn Festival. On the full moon day of August during the festival, people often buy or make their moon cakes and put them in colorful unique boxes to give to their loved ones and wish them a prosperous life. 

No matter where we go, every Mid-Autumn Festival, all Vietnamese families get more excited than ever because they have the chance to reunite with their families and give each other gifts of love. And most importantly, the whole family now gathers together and enjoys a rich mooncake imbued with memories.