Thursday, September 20, 2007

Don't eat too many yue4bing3 during Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節 • zhong1qiu1jie2) is a popular Asian festival that celebrates abundance and togetherness and which dates back over 3,000 years. It falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar. This year it will celebrated on the 25th of September.

Mooncakes (月餅 • yue4bing3), traditionally eaten during this festival, are round thick pastries with a salted egg yolk suspended inside a sweetened bean paste. Contemporary mooncakes are quite varied, some are made with red jujubes (紅棗 • hong2 zao3), an edible berrylike fruit of a Eurasian plant formerly taken as a cough cure, husked lotus (蓮子• lian2zi3), green beans (綠豆 • lv4 dou4), almond (杏仁 • xing4ren2) among many other ingredients.

Mooncakes are already piling up in the store shelves of every Asian country and every family is beginning to accumulate their share of treats but from any nutritionist (營養學家 • ying2yang3xue2jia1) point of view, eating them in excess is not very good for the health (健康• jian4kang1).

Since they are very rich and dense, some people like to eat them for breakfast (早餐 • zao3can1) or as an early snack (零食 • ling2shi2); however, mooncakes are not a suitable (不適宜 • bu4kuo4yi2) meal. Even though (雖然 • sui1ran2) their caloric content ( 能量 • neng2liang4) is comparatively high (比較大 • bi3jiao4 da4), they contain large amounts of sugar (糖 • tang2) and grease (油脂 • you2zhi1), two substances which do not satisfy (不能 滿足 • bu4neng2 man3zu2) a person's nutrition demand. Their nutritional (營養 • ying2yang3) content (含量 • han2liang4) is low (就低 • jiu4 di1); apart from the sugar and the fat, they only contain a few minerals (礦物 • kuang4wu4) and some micronutrients (微量營養素 • wei1liang4ying2yang3su4).

Mooncakes are best ( 最好 • zui4hao3) eaten fresh (吃新鮮 • chi1 xin1xian1). Leftovers (吃不完 • chi1 bu4 wan2) should be refrigerated (放冰箱 • fang4 bing1xiang1) because their high fat content is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria (細菌 • xi1jun1). It is advisable to accompany them with some tea (茶 • cha2 ) or hot water (熱水• re4shui3) to assist (幫助 • bang1zhu4 ) the digestion (消化 • xiao1hua4) and to eliminate the greasy aftertaste (除油膩感 • chu2 you2ni4 gan3).

Many nutritionist think of mooncakes as junk food (垃圾食品 • la1ji1 shi2pin3) so if you suffer from diabetes (糖尿病 • tang2niao4bing4), Cholecystitis (膽囊炎 • dan3nang1yan2), circulatory diseases (心腦血管病 • xin1 nao3 xue4guan3 bing4) or obesity (肥胖病 • fei2pang4 zhe3) it would be wise to stay clear of these Chinese treats. Needless to say, if you have any carious tooth (蟲牙 • chong2ya2) clean your teeth inmediately (立即刷牙 • li4ji2 shua1 ya2) after!

© Photographer: Norman Chan | Agency:

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