Around this time of the year, all major Chinese grocery markets greet customers with a mountain of Moon Cakes on display. The first sighting of these moon cakes always reminds me of my favorite moon cake memory.

It was many years ago. I was a recent college grad, and had just moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to work and live on my own. One late summer evening, I received a phone call from my Dad.

“Why didn’t you send me Moon Cakes?!” his loud voice pounded at my ear. Dad has the habit of cutting straight into the conversation, bypassing the usual pleasantries.

“Oh!… Mid-Autumn Festival has arrived?” Me.

“Already past!” Dad.

“Why didn’t you tell me earlier? If you had told me earlier, I would then have sent you the Moon Cakes.” I lacked a certain maturity in my early twenties. They didn’t get their moon cakes, because they failed to prompt me.

“You have grown up. You work and live by yourself. But you must remember that you are Chinese. And Mid-Autumn Festival is an important Chinese holiday. You have to remember this holiday. Every year on Mid-Autumn Festival, you need to send us Moon Cakes.” my dad.

“Okay. No problem.” I agreed.

I kept my promise. I made a point of finding out when the following Mid-Autumn day would arrive, and sent my parents a nice and expensive box of Moon Cakes. The moon cakes were filled with red bean paste with double yolk. My dad’s favorite.

I shipped it to my parents’ home, counted down the number of days until the box would arrive at their door, and waited anxiously for my dad’s call to congratulate me for having remembered this holiday all by myself. Three days later, I got my call.

“Why did you send us Moon Cakes?! And in such a big box!” Dad.


“You told me to!!! Remember, last year, you complained that I didn’t send you any moon cakes!” It was my turn to scream into his ear.

“Oh, did I? He, he, he…” He sounded a little embarrassed over the phone.

“I have 14 boxes of moon cakes here. That’s after already giving away as many boxes as I could. Who can eat that much moon cake! They will go to waste.” he explained himself.

That was a problem he bargained for himself. Moon cake is fruit cake on steroids. No one really likes to eat it, and you don’t have to be invited to a party to give one away. Around Mid-Autumn Festival, people ship and drop off boxes of moon cakes like Christmas presents. And the older you get, the more boxes you receive each year. I have a strong suspicion that my 96 year old grandma is buried under a pile of moon cakes right around now.

“Well, you must eat the box I gave you. They are red bean paste with double yolk. Your favorite.” me.

“Yes, yes, we will definitely eat the moon cakes you gave us.” dad continued, “From now on, you don’t need to buy us moon cakes anymore. Just don’t forget this holiday. That will be enough.”

I have been exempted from buying them moon cakes every since. Then my own children came along.

I decided that it was necessary to buy moon cakes again to impress my American-born children with this important Chinese holiday. I have successfully coaxed my kids into eating moon cakes for several years now, but, like me, they have already discovered that there is not much redeeming taste value in these so called cakes.

Last year, when I brought moon cakes home, the kids greeted them with, “Oh, no!!”

So, I told them, “I know. I don’t like them either. But we only have to eat them once a year…to celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival. An important Chinese holiday.”

Our last year's moon cake platter-a pair of mini moon cakes

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  1. [...] related post: For Sure…I guarantee it! Red Bean Paste with Double Yolk Category: Parents You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. [...]