I went for a walk in Chinatown to let a bad mood go. A first attempt to distract myself failed and I left my shopping basket by the exit of the Honk Kong supermarket on Hester Street and walked out, leaving behind a honeycomb-pattern small bowl and mugwort-flavored mochi cakes filled with red bean paste.
I crossed Canal Street and came to Lung Moon bakery on Mullberry. The bakery is famous for serving fresh moon cakes year round, and not just during the Mid-Autumn Festival for which they are usually reserved. I chose the sweet lotus paste moon cake with a salty egg yolk – the symbol of the full moon! I loved it – or rather, the few bites I took before wrapping it up for later. Moon cakes are delicious, but dense and highly caloric.
On a whim, I also picked up a wrapped package of winter melon cakes. Not that I know what winter melon is, but I was curious. And I was even more delighted when the internet responded to my query about winter melon by telling me that winter melon cakes are in fact most often referred by another name – wife cakes!
As it turns out, the wife cakes are a flaky pastry with a chewy filling made of candied winter melon and glutinous rice. I had two because I was hopeful and wanted to be intrigued by these pastries with such an amazing name, but in truth the whole thing is disappointing: the flaky layers have the non-taste of shortening and the winter melon doesn’t taste like much either aside from…banana flavoring (see ingredients list). But even though I’ve not fallen for them, these pretty drab cakes gave me something else to think about and took away a uselessly bad mood.