The tradition of eating Taro during the Chinese Moon Festival, or the Mid-Autumn Festival, first started during the Qing Dynasty. In the provinces of Jiangsu and Zhejiang, the word “taro” has the same pronunciation as “luck is inside”. Eating a bowl full of these tubers during the festival is believed to dispel any bad luck, bringing in good luck and wealth through the year.
In Asian culture, the Moon Festival was considered a harvest festival since fruits, vegetables, and grains were harvested by this time and there was an abundance of food. Offerings of fruits and vegetables were placed on an altar set up in people’s courtyards. These include mooncakes, cooked taro, and water caltrope – a type of water chestnut resembling black buffalo horns. Some people assert that cooked taro be included as a delicacy during the Moon Festival because, at the time of creation, taro was the first food discovered at night in the moonlight.
Taro, in mainland China, is commonly used in the main course dish. In northern China, it is often boiled or steamed before being peeled and eaten with or without sugar, not unlike a potato. Baby taros are commonly braised with pork or beef and added to hot pots. They are also used in dim sum recipes from southern China to make a small plated dish called taro dumplings, as well as a pan-fried dish called taro cake. They can also be shredded into long strips which are woven together to form a seafood birds nest when deep fried.
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