Mooncakes from Fairmont Peace Hotel & Park Hyatt
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The Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncakes!
When I visited in August, all the great hotels in Shanghai were starting to offer their Mid-Autumn Festival Mooncakes -- dense pastries beautifully packaged each year and sold as gifts. I bought several before I learned that A) this custom might not pass customs due to the egg filling, and B) to people in Shanghai, mooncakes are kind of the equivalent of fruit cakes. Everyone gives them as gifts and you can't eat more than a couple of bites due to the sweetness and density, plus they are quite high in calories. There was also a mooncake scandal while I was there -- reported in the Shanghai Daily -- involving the recycling of paste used to fill the famous mooncakes! According to reports, "a gang of six took unsold mooncakes from 2012 and dug out their fillings, which included almond, lotus paste and other varieties. They then inserted the paste into new shells and baked them again to produce 'fresh' mooncakes to be sold in grocery stores and whole-sale markets." There was nothing recycled about the designer mooncakes I got at the Fairmont Peace Hotel and the Park Hyatt Shanghai, but whether mooncakes are considered a delicacy or an annoyance depends on who you ask.
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