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.
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:
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.
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…
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.
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…