HK warning: Go easy on mooncakes
IT IS the time of the year when sugar and fat-laden mooncakes fill shelves and shop windows in Hong Kong but the authorities warn residents not to overeat.
The pastries are popular during the mid-autumn festival, celebrated by Chinese communities worldwide later this month. But they pack a calorific punch with fillings of sweet lotus-seed paste and egg yolks.
Hong Kong's Centre of Food Safety has reminded people to "avoid excessive eating".
Government tests showed 100g of the classic lotus-paste mooncake with two egg yolks were almost a third sugar, with 22.3g of fat.
One popular brand's double-yolk mooncake, weighing 184g, contains a whopping 776 calories, according to nutritional information on its packaging.
That is almost half the recommended daily calorie intake for women in Hong Kong, and around one third for men.
But despite the warning, shopper Elaine Cheuk, 32, said Hong Kongers would be unlikely to curb their habit.
"It's still a food that marks the mid-autumn festival," she noted.
One fan said he would do his best to hold back. "I usually eat four to five mooncakes each year - I may cut that down to 1-2 this year," said Edgar, 11.
The festival is the second largest in Hong Kong behind Chinese New Year and is based on the legend of Chang E, the mythical moon fairy who lived in a crystal palace and came out only to dance on the moon's shadowed surface.
In modern times, families gather for large meals on the eve of the new moon which falls on Sept 16, followed by an evening walk usually with a decorative lantern in hand.