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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Chinese homemade mooncakes ease home-
sickness on Mid-Autumn Festival in Egypt 

By Xinhua Writer Wang Xue CAIRO (Xinhua) -- For Song Lina, a Chinese mother of a six-year-old boy and owner of a popular restaurant in Cairo, capital of Egypt, the Mid-Autumn Festival has “a special meaning” this year as traditional mooncakes are served for the first time at her restaurant.

Waking up in the early morning, she has been busy all day preparing this special Chinese dessert, mooncakes, for the traditional festival of get-togetherness.

Falling this year on Sept. 15, the Mid-Autumn Festival falls yearly on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar when the moon is full, as a special occasion for family reunion.

The joyful festival is celebrated with family dinner gatherings under the fullest and brightest moonlight while sweet homemade mooncakes stuffed with different kinds of nuts are served.

“I have been in Egypt for 11 years,” Song told Xinhua, adding that “the Mid-Autumn Festival always recalls my childhood memories, when I spent the evening with family and ate the nut-stuffed mooncakes, so this year I’ve decided to make the dessert myself to serve my Chinese customers here.”

Taking a pallet of hot and savory mooncakes out of the oven, the lady said that she bought all the ingredients from the Egyptian local markets and that every single piece was baked by her own family “with the best wishes.”

 

Pastry cooks make moon cakes | Coastweel

 
 

CAIRO (Xinhua) -- Pastry cooks make moon cakes at a Chinese restaurant in Cairo. Moon cake is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. XINHUA PHOTO: MENG TAO

“Surprisingly, I have sold thousands of those mooncakes till now and the dessert has not only been welcomed by Chinese customers but also popular among Egyptians as well,” Song added excitedly.

At Song’s Ruyi Fang restaurant in Cairo’s Maadi district, Nada Tarek, an Egyptian girl, came to buy mooncakes. The girl turned out to be a student of Cairo University majoring in Chinese language.

Tarek told Xinhua that she learned in class about the Mid-Autumn Festival and she was really curious about the mooncakes, so she came to buy some to share with friends during the traditional Chinese reunion occasion.

“Stuffed with nuts and dried fruits, the dessert really looks nice and tastes good,” the young woman said after taking a bite of a mooncake.

“Similar to the Chinese culture, we Egyptians also value our families, so I hope all the Chinese people living in Egypt feel at home,” she said.

For Han Peng, a Chinese young man who works at the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone, spending the festival away from home makes him work harder.

“The growing Chinese-Egyptian relations urged more Chinese youth including myself to come to Egypt in search for opportunities, and the projects supported by both governments really give young people a large space for career development,” Han told Xinhua.

“I really miss home,” the young man continued, explaining that he has been in Egypt for about two years and a half and his Chinese Tianjin TEDA company will organize a dinner gathering for its entire Chinese staff in Egypt for the traditional festival.

“A dinner party and mooncakes will make everybody happy and forget about homesickness,” he said with a smile.

As the pleasant full-moon evening was approaching, Song was still busy chopping, boiling, steaming and grilling the food at her restaurant whose little yard smelt just like a Chinese mom’s kitchen.

“Besides mooncakes, we also serve typical Chinese cuisine, such as smoked chicken, fried shrimps and Chinese lamb chops. This festival is about sharing and reunion and I really hope my costumers will spend a nice evening in my kingdom,” Song said, referring to her restaurant.

“With mooncakes for the first time in my restaurant, this year’s festival is really more like a traditional one,” she told Xinhua. 

 

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