Zanba moon cakes, Tibetan speciality on Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival

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Publish Time: 2015-09-04 Author: From: China Tibet Online

Moon cakes made of Zanba, or roasted highland barley flour became a hot local speciality in Tibet in 2013[Photo/image.baidu]

On the Mid-Mutumn Festival, one of the most important traditional Chinese festivals, the Zanba moon cake, a specialty became the hot food in Tibet this year, according to chinanews.

The moon cake is a speical food exclusively for the Mid-Autumn Festival all over China, which fell on Sept. 19 in 2013. It is a sweet pastry usually made of wheat flour with many fillings such as nuts, red bean paste, lotus seeds and egg yolk and so on. Apart from the usual tastes, a speical moon cake was introduced in Tibet this year.

"These moon cakes are made of highland barley flour, yogurt, cheese, Tibetan pork and Tibetan walnut," Tse Drolkar, general manager of Tibetan Specialty Corporation said on the Mid-Autumn Festival. "All ingredients are natural."

Moon cakes made of Zanba, or roasted highland barley flour became a hot local speciality in Tibet in 2013[Photo/image.baidu]

This year the traditional Chinese festival on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar coincided with the same day on the ethnic Tibetan calendar.

Tibet, known as the "roof of the world" is the closest place on earth to the moon. Therefore, the Chinese people regard Tibet as the best spot to enjoy the moon. And Tibetans also take advantage of the location, watching the rounder and brighter moon on this day, eating moon cakes, and enjoying their leisure in outdoor parks with their families.

Dawa, an Tibetan elderly like to taste the special highland barley moon cakes. When she was young, she often watch the full moon in the water of the basin, and listened to the story of "a little rabbit on the moon" told by her father, she recalled. But it was her first time to have moon cakes made of highland barley, a kind of food she is so familiar with.

Zanba, or highland barley is the staple food of local Tibetans for many generations living on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.[Photo/image.baidu]

In modern times, Zanba, which has been gradually replaced by wheat flour and rice, has resumed its popularity among Tibetans thanks to the moon cakes, said Tse Drolkar cheerfully.

In order to provide something special for local Tibetans, she started to do research with experts of Tibet Academy of Agricultural Science and Technology and food experts two years ago. At the moment, she felt so glad that people were enjoying the gift she offered.

The planting of highland barley has a history of over 3,000 years on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Zanba, made of highland barley is the staple food for the lcoal Tibetans for many generations.

"Though our team is small, we often talk about what kind of new products we should create for the people aimed for natural, organic, healthy and convenient food, which is also the positioning of our company," said Tse Drolkar. In order to guarantee the quality of the new product, she also invited the famous Tibetan baker Tenzin to join the team.

This year, her company put three kinds of moon cakes to the market with six different flavors and 45-day quality guarantee period. The shortened guarantee period meant to keep the food fresh at any time, according to Tse Drolkar.  

On the early morning of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the highland barley moon cakes were being sold at a store on the Middle Beijing Road, a major road in downtown Lhasa, keeping Drolma, a Tibetan shop assistant as busy as a bee.

The moon, pronounced "Dawa" in Tibetan language, means pure and beautiful. Tibetans like to name their children "Dawa", wishing them pure at heart and beautiful in appearance.

Tse Drolkar sent his warmest greetings to her fellow Tibetans with the highland barley moon cakes, and wished all people of the country could enjoy this special food.

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