The Mid-Autumn Festival is almost here. Also known as the Moon Festival, this year it falls on Friday. The occasion, which began as a celebration of the Moon in hope of bountiful harvests, is marked by many East Asian countries, from China to Vietnam.
The event is typically celebrated by eating mooncakes, which consists of slightly thick, tender pastry with a sweet filling. Some variations feature salted egg yolks to symbolise the Moon, with lotus seed or red bean filling. However, more modern variations also include flavours such as pineapple, coconut or honey melon.
For those looking to celebrate, here's what to go (plus a bonus on where to get mooncakes if travelling):
The Michelin-starred restaurant at Atlantis, the Palm, will have a curated set menu by executive chef Andy Toh specifically created for the Mid-Autumn Festival. It includes eight Chinese dishes (such as dim sum, roasted duck with mango and stir-fry beef tenderloin) and comes with a mooncake dessert. There is also an a la carte menu available.
Until October 1; 6pm to 1am; Dh598 per person; Hakkasan Dubai; www.hakkasan.com
Dai Pai Dong Abu Dhabi
The restaurant located in Rosewood Abu Dhabi will mark the occasion with a week-long celebration with different dining options. There is an eight-course family-style menu and a Mid-Autumn hot pot brunch – both available throughout the week. There will also be a gala yum cha brunch on October 1. Mooncakes will also be available.
From Friday to October 6; prices vary; www.rosewoodhotels.com
Mid-Autumn Festival of Lantern & Moon, Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri
The five-star hotel in Abu Dhabi is celebrating with a selection of dining options.
Shang Palace will host a five-course dinner on Friday and September 30 from 6pm to 11pm for Dh228 and a Peking social brunch on September 30 from 1pm to 4pm for Dh198. There will also be a traditional “Gongfu Tea Ceremony” performed by tea master Liu Ping in the restaurant.
Sofra will also host a special brunch on September 30 from 1pm to 4pm. There will be Chinese dishes served among a selection of international food. Children can stay entertained with chocolate or lantern-making workshop.
Shangri-La Qaryat Al Beri will also have limited-edition fresh mooncakes that come in boxes of four for Dh288. They are available in flavours such as traditional green tea, mixed nuts, lotus paste and red dates. They are available until October 1.
Friday and September 30; timings vary; prices vary; www.shangri-la.com
The Chinese restaurant in DIFC will host a special a la carte dinner for the Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday. Dishes include fresh yellowtail carpaccio with black truffle, silver cod with yuzu miso sauce and tiger prawns in chilli sauce. There will also be duck dishes such as the crispy duck salad with pine nuts and cress and the roast duck with foie gras and caviar. Mooncakes will be served as a dessert.
Friday; noon to 4pm and 6pm to midnight; shanghaime-restaurant.com
Emirates is getting in on the tradition by serving mooncakes on their flights from Dubai to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur for the Mid-Autumn Festival on Friday and September 30. There will also be special mooncakes in the Emirates lounges in Shanghai and Beijing on Friday. Mooncakes options include jujube, red bean or lotus paste.
Friday and September 30; free; select flights