Zhong Qiu Kuai Le

It’s the evening of Mid-Autumn Festival day in Dalian, China. It has been a lazy but pretty day. Zhong qiu kuai le literally means “middle autumn happy”, the standard holiday greeting. We wandered through the nearby university on the way to the first restaurant we entered in this city, in September 2009. Then, an American veteran of the Dalian scene noticed us dazedly looking around, and came out of Fengxin Jiujia (literally “harvest money alcohol home”), a homey little restaurant/tavern with a menu in English. It’s been a mainstay since.

We’ve eaten a little bit of “mooncake” (yue bing), which is a little like what Christmas cake used to be in Canada — everyone gives them or serves them during the season, but many don’t actually like them. We smile, imagining the furious cross-country scurrying of couriers delivering elaborate and requisite mooncake gifts to people who then have a disposal problem. Some people love ’em, though, and there are decadent and non-traditional ones that my sweet tooth would likely savour. (This is a short greeting, so don’t be afraid to continue!)

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