Kee Wah and the Mooncake Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is traditionally celebrated by the Chinese and Vietnamese although it is now observed in many other countries mainly because it brings families together. This year, the Mid-Autumn Festival was yesterday, October 4, although specialty stores in Hong Kong have been selling these sweet and dense cakes for a couple of weeks now.
During a recent trip, I managed to visit the heritage Kee Wah Bakery in Wan Chai, which started out as a small grocery store in 1938. The start of World War II forced the owners to close so they gathered up their remaining supplies and baked them in an old barrel that was converted into an oven. The pastries were a success and now Kee Wah is known for its Chinese bridal cakes, mooncakes and souvenir treats.
That afternoon, the store was beginning to fill with locals and tourists stocking up on mooncakes for the scheduled moon-gazing parties where these delicacies are sliced and apportioned to family members. In the Philippines, these dense cakes filled with white lotus or red bean paste and salted eggs are also given to friends and business associates for prosperity and unity.
If you're ever in Hong Kong's Wan Chai area, stop by Kee Wah. On the opposite side of the store are two fully furnished miniatures of the original store--the attention to detail is remarkable. Try the freshly baked breads or indulge in a flaky egg tart (P48).