Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival, and the day mooncake madness culminates in a frenzy of last-minute discount sales. The end of the fall harvest is marked by the exchange of these dense little cakes among friends, family and business associates during the weeks leading up to the festival.

Mooncakes come in many varieties, but traditionally they have a pastry crust with a salted egg yolk in the center surrounded by red bean or lotus seed paste. An unusual balance between sweet and savory, these cakes pack a high caloric punch and can be an acquired taste if you haven’t grown up eating them.

The snow skin varieties are my favorite — made with glutinous rice, unbaked, and served cold. To me they’re more beautiful than tasty, but I bought some this year anyway. The delicate soft texture of the white skin is like mochi, and can be made in many colors. Typical fillings include green tea, pandan, sesame and even durian … not my favorite.

So, happy Mid-Autumn Festival! May your mooncakes be filled with sweetness.

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