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Kee Wah and the Mooncake Festival

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.

  Mooncakes with assorted fillings placed in boxes ready for distribution

Mooncakes with assorted fillings placed in boxes ready for distribution

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.

  Miniature of the original Kee Wah Bakery on Shanghai Street in Hong Kong

Miniature of the original Kee Wah Bakery on Shanghai Street in Hong Kong

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.

  Look closely at the remarkable detail in this miniature of the original grocery store

Look closely at the remarkable detail in this miniature of the original grocery store

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).

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