Full Moon Meal Box

Just when I thought I have run out of things to write (again), my friend came to my rescue by giving me a special box of food yesterday.

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This is a special meal box that is given when someone has a newborn baby who turned one month old, or as the Chinese call, 满月 full moon. The box came with a photo of the baby, but in the name of privacy for my friend, I removed the photo and left a little tear on top of the box. Anyway, Happy One Month Old, Clement!

So today I shall write about the full moon meal box. I don’t know if this thing is still in practice in China and Taiwan, but it is a common practice among the Chinese community in Southeast Asia for parents of newborn babies to either distribute such meal boxes to relatives and friends, or sometimes hold a full moon party at home where food and drinks are in abundance.

So what is typically in such a meal box? I’m not really sure if there are other items, but so far, all my time in Penang so far, all the full moon meal boxes that I have ever received looks like this:

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Yellow glutinous rice, curry chicken, red eggs, and ang ku kueh. I don’t know how ang ku kueh is called in English, the literal translation is red tortoise pastry. I guess it is because the pastry is shaped like a tortoise shell. Tortoise is the Chinese symbol of longevity. It is basically a type of Chinese pastry where the shell is made of glutinous rice flour with sweet fillings such as mung bean paste, peanut paste or desiccated coconut.

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That ball shaped pastry is another variation of the ang ku kueh. There are actually two types of them that might come  together with the standard shaped pastry. Ball shaped represents boy, peach shaped represents girl. Because… well… making babies… you know…

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The eggs and pastries usually come in pairs. Because 好事成双 good things should be double. It is great, except this means… you look at the content of the box and tell me if it is perfectly fine to eat all those food by yourself.

I mean, most of the stuff in the box are glutinous rice based. And you know, glutinous rice is not exactly something that is easiest to digest. Nor is it exactly something healthy to consume a lot.

So I took some measures to reduce to load to my body. The meal box was supposed to be my lunch, but decided against it. First, I gave a pair of the ang ku kuehs to my colleagues.

Then I had the rest of the food as dinner. But before eating, I did some work to the food first. First, I peeled the eggs and removed the egg yolks. After all, egg whites are good (protein), egg yolks are not so good (cholesterol). Then I removed all the chicken pieces from the container and de-boned them with my hand. Then I skimmed away the thick layer of oil and poured just the curry gravy over the chicken and the rice.

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And then only did I start eating. The food was pretty good. This brand is the most reputable brand in Penang when it comes to full moon meal packs after all.

I belatedly recalled this morning that we are supposed to eat EVERYTHING in a full moon meal box, or else the good fortune will not materialize. Since I gave away a pair of pastries and ditched the egg yolks, I might not get the blessings intended to me.


I guess we’ll see soon if this is fact or myth…


    • Hah! But I heard KL no longer has this trend. It is mostly vouchers or a fancy dinner in restaurant or something huh?

  1. This was really interesting to read! I have never heard of such a tradition. It was cool to see what comes inside a full moon box. But I cannot help imagining that having a baby must cost so much to Malaysians because on too of all typical baby expenses, you have to buy these pricey boxes for all your friends! And I hope by splitting up the box, you didn’t send bad fortune to the baby :P.

    • It does cost a lot to have a baby here, if you go by the trend. Especially with the current generation of parents who are all about “I want to give the best to my child” mindset.

      Well, apparently, from some of the comments earlier, it seems sharing would mean more people transmitting good fortune to the baby. I’m going to believe those comments. 😀

  2. I think the Penang folks are still very traditional and follow the culture to give out full moon goodies to friends and relatives. Here in KL, they hardly give out but often hosted lavish dinners just for baby’s full moons. That’s when we have to give out big $$ to the babies but the parents would happily masuk instead.
    I love to eat fried Ang koo kuehs which is common in Penang.

    • Hahaha, I did realize KL’s trend becoming that lately. I can’t help but think that it has become a shark’s world in KL now. 😐

  3. I love full moon package. I love ang ku kuih, I love nasi kunyit, I love hard boiled eggs too, I love curry chicken as well. If I received this box of full moon gift, I must give away some of the food to my PIL. I scare I will end up finish the whole box myself. Lots of calories, dei!

    • For me, it is not so much the calories, but the fact that the sticky glutinous rice is difficult to digest. And almost the entire box of food is made of glutinous rice and glutinous rice flour.

  4. These are the standard stuff you’d find inside a full moon box but I didn’t know that the round-shaped ones represented boys. The full moon boxes I’ve received contained only the tortoise-shaped angku as far as I remember. But since your friend had a baby boy, why is there tortoise-shaped angku in the box? I’ve also received only cake in a full moon box, so it’s still a Malaysian culture (for those who have a smaller budget for such boxes or those who need to give out more boxes).

    • Err.. The tortoise shaped ones are a constant. It is what accompanies the tortoise shaped ones. I heard ball shaped means boy, peach shaped means girl. So you either get tortoise shaped + ball shaped, OR tortoise shaped + peach shaped.

  5. Yes, Eaton is one of the famous ones in Penang… During my days, red eggs and chicken and angku… Maybe Penang is different cos Hokkien, yellow sticky rice is nice to go with curry chicken…

    • Curry chicken is also chicken ma, same same la. They say the boxes are usually differentiated by the type of chicken. If curry chicken means the box is for singles, if roast chicken then the box is for couples. I wonder if that is Penang customs or just Eaton’s own way of differentiation. 🙄

  6. the fullmoon meal box reminds me of the one that I blogged some years ago (http://utopiastaging.blogspot.my/2013/07/full-moon-set.html)…typically about the same with red eggs, angku kuihs and rice…but since most of such meal boxes were prepared nuch earlier, the food quality might varies. I din know that we need to finish everyting in the box…that would be too much….Perhaps break them into different meals (kuih for teatime instead).

    • I’m not sure about having to finish everything either. I vaguely recall hearing about it. Or maybe it was something that I totally made up by myself. 😛

    • Apparently this meal box is for us to transmit luck to the baby instead. So… more luck to the baby! 😀

  7. huh?? you run out of things to write?? how can?? you blog daily and must have the topic coming non-stop!! i’ve been through that and yeah, i know it’s tough, haha.. anyway, back to your full-moon meal-box.. i just got one couple of months ago, and i think nowadays these boxes are rather standard.. unlike those we receive in the good old days.. the one i was given is with roast chicken (instead of rice and curry), and i suppose the red eggs and angkoo are actually standard sides – the parents just choose the mains..

    • Believe it or not, I run out of things to write more often than not. Most of the time I cheat. That’s why I have things like 1P100W. 😀 😀

      Eh… here in Penang, they say… curry chicken is for singles, roast chicken is for couples…

  8. You know what – I have never received a full moon pack all for myself before. I vaguely remember a colleague bringing these to distribute but I don’t think there were enough for one each so we had to share so the fact you did not eat all by yourself should be ok. I think if you eat all, means good luck to the baby, not to you lah. I know ayam mas also prepare this kind of full moon packs.

    • Means if I share with more people, more people will pass good luck to the baby? Then the parents must thank me instead! 😀

    • Er… I never have super nice nasi kunyit from such boxes before. Must be Penang problem (biased mode on).

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