Eating mooncakes while enjoying the glorious full moon on the night of the Mid-Autumn Festival is a traditional custom for Chinese people. Among the huge variety of mooncakes available for the festival, the five-kernel mooncake is surely the most traditional and classic example.
The shape of the five-kernel mooncake is like a Chinese drum, with slightly bulging edges and clear patterns or writing on the surface. The filling, consisting of five kinds of coarsely chopped nuts and kernels, is held together with maltose syrup, which lends the mooncake a brownish red tint.
Do you know what the five kernels are?
According to new official standards on mooncakes revealed in December last year, for Cantonese-style mooncakes the five kernels are walnuts, almonds, olive kernels, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds.
“Five kernels” or“五仁”in Chinese is a pun – it is a play on words of the five moral standards of traditional Chinese teachings: benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom and trust.
Additionally, five-kernel mooncakes also have certain health effects on the human body due to the raw vegetable seeds in the filling.
Plant seeds contain high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid, and linoleic acid. They are beneficial to the blood vessels, preventing hardening of the arteries. Plant seeds also contain minerals, which are conducive to boosting the immune system, and preventing zinc and iron deficiencies in children.
In recent years, the five-kernel mooncake has courted controversy, with some netizens even trying to banish them from the mooncake world itself. Five-kernel haters say that the mixture of nuts in the mooncake creates both a salty and sweet flavor, which is uncomfortable to the palate and even a “torture” for the taste buds.
However, the five-kernel mooncake has still won over consumers’ hearts in the market for mooncakes. According to statistics from CCTV, five-kernel mooncakes in recent years are one of the top three most popular mooncake varieties, following snow-skin mooncakes and lotus seed paste flavored mooncakes as they fly off the shelves.
So what do you think? Will you have a five-kernel mooncake to spend your Mid-Autumn Festival?
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