The traditional Chinese Mid-autumn Festival will fall on this October 3rd (also August 15th according to the Chinese lunar calendar). Food is an essential element on that day when family members get together. Apart from the moon-cake which represents reunion, there are a lot of other specialties in different parts of Guangdong.
Central Guangdong: Guangzhou, Yangjiang, Zhuhai, Zhongshan, etc.
River snail (田螺)
Fried river snails are frequently seen on the snack table during the Mid-autumn Festival in Guangdong, by owning the implication of "blessing". The Cantonese like to have river snail when appreciating the full moon because they believe it's good for eyes.
Having peanut on mid-autumn blesses you a happy and prosperous life---- that's what people in the central Guangdong believe. Usually, the harvest time for peanut is around mid-autumn and the peanuts taste best during this time of period. There is an old Chinese saying going like that, "Having peanut and Chinese date means to have a child soon." The Chinese date -- Zao (枣) has the same pronunciation with 早, which means "soon" in Chinese. Also peanut has a similar pronunciation with the words "giving birth to".
Eastern Guangdong: Shantou, Chaozhou, Meizhou, Jieyang, etc.
Not sweet and greasy as moon-cakes, the pastry tastes more refreshing. With various tastes it becomes a popular food on table as well as a gift to relatives and friends among the eastern Guangdong people especially in the Chaozhou and Shantou area.
August is the harvest time for taro, a traditional food for the mid-autumn festival in eastern Guangdong. In the past, they also used taros to worship the ancestors.
Western Guangdong: Zhaoqing, Zhanjiang, Yangjiang, etc.
Glutinous rice dumpling (裹蒸粽)
It was first made in Guangdong's Zhaoqing city and then got well-known across the country. To celebrate the Mid-autumn Festival, people like to add some eggs, sausages and mushrooms into the glutinous rice dumpling, making it a super one in large size. It sells at the price of 3 to 12 yuan (USD 0.45 to 1.76) for each.
Besides those mentioned above, several kinds of fruits which are harvested in the autumn days are also very popular.
Having a round shape and with a Chinese name referring to "being blessed by the Moon Goddess", the grapefruit becomes a favorite festival fruit.
Having a string of grape on mid-autumn implies that all the family members can get together for a lifetime.
In Mandarin, "pear" has the same pronunciation with "separate", which sounds like "li." So eating a pear in mid-autumn carries people's wish to avoid separation. There is another saying that "li" in Guangdong's Chaozhou and Shantou area means "to return," which also implies people's wishes of reunion.
What's more, persimmon, apple, banana, pumpkin and so on are also good choices of fruit for the Mid-autumn Festival.
(By Chen Xiaoting)