It is finally the time of year when only one thing is on every Singaporean’s mind: mooncakes. The Mid-Autumn Festival is here, the streets are colourful, and everyone is ready to celebrate with family and friends.
The Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival is a Chinese festival that signals the end of the autumn harvest. It follows the lunar calendar and is traditionally on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. The festival is essentially a thanksgiving celebration, with families gathering to worship the moon, and eat mooncakes. Carrying lanterns also became symbolic of the time for the light of the moon. Though there are various myths regarding its origin, there are two different tales connected to Chang’E, the Moon Goddess of Immortality. One is the story of the wife of a ruthless king who took his elixir of immortality to save her people from his tyranny. She ascended to the moon and was worshipped for her bravery. The alternate version is of an excellent archer named Hou Yi who saved the earth from the scorching heat of the ten suns that circled the sky by shooting down nine of them. For this, an immortal presented him with an elixir of immortality. Yi did not wish to be immortal without his wife Chang’E and gave it to her instead. One of Yi’s apprentices, Peng Meng, desired to use the elixir for himself. On the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the absence of Yi, Peng broke into his house and demanded Chang’E hand over the elixir. To stop him, Chang’E drank the elixir and ascended to the moon. On arriving, Yi learnt of his wife’s sacrifice and began a ritual offering her favourite food in his yard.
Though it is considered a Chinese festival, many Asian countries celebrate the event; the festival is known as Chuseok in Korea and Tsukimi in Japan. The traditions vary but are ultimately rooted in the same ideals. For example, mooncakes are a big part of the festival but, unlike their Chinese counterparts, Singaporeans have their own mooncakes – the durian mooncakes; an exciting take on the traditional confection. The tradition of gifting mooncakes is also popular in Singapore.
How is Esseplore celebrating?
Nothing embraces the festive spirit like food. Delicious food brings joy to everyone around. And since the Mid-autumn festival is essentially a thanksgiving celebration that people spend with their families and friends, the idea of gifting food seems like one of the best ways. By partnering with tcc- The Connoisseur Concerto’s exquisite traditional mooncakes for this special bundle, Esseplore aims to provide you with the perfect gift this season – Buddha Jumps Over the Wall.
This exquisite 100-year-old Chinese delicacy is known for its rich taste, delicious aroma, and immense preparation. According to legend, a scholar was making the soup near a Buddhist monastery. Monks are not allowed to eat meat, but the scent was so alluring that a monk jumped over the fence for a taste. Also known as the most expensive dish in the world, this acclaimed recipe has often been the subject of debate for its use of sharkfin, raising questions from an environmental and ethical standpoint.
Esseplore’s Buddha Jumps Over the Wall, on the other hand, is different. Our Executive Chef Yeo Kian Tiong has stayed true to its origins, including its traditional methods of cooking. The only change is KT’s decision to make the dish an environmentally conscious alternative by excluding shark fin, MSG, and salt. He still retains the richness of the recipe through its varied flavours and ingredients. The general preparation of the dish takes up to 10 hours, with brining, preparing the soup stock, simmering and double-boiling. Served in a clay pot, this highly nutritious dish consists of soup made with chicken bone, old hen, chicken feet, duck, dried scallops, Chinese ham, and pork bone boiled for hours to extract its flavours. This soup is then double-boiled with the staple ingredients of the dish such as abalone, fish maw, sea cucumber, quail eggs, shiitake mushrooms, pork trotter and more.
A unique dish that is worth trying, check out Chef KT’s Buddha Jumps Over the Wall only on Esseplore at www.esseplore.cooking
Our celebrations have taken a digital turn this year, nothing can stop us from showing our gratitude to the many that continue to fight the pandemic and celebrating the season with our loved ones. The Esseplore team wishes you a joyous mooncake festival celebration filled with laughter, fun, and delicious food!