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Thread: Happy mid autumn festival

  1. #46
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    Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

    THANKS BUT NO THANKS
    The fruitcake of the East: Hong Kong will throw out a million mooncakes this mid-Autumn festival
    Hong Kongers throw out millions of uneaten mooncakes every year.


    Overflowing festivities. (Reuters/Aly Song)

    WRITTEN BY Selina Cheng
    September 14, 2016

    Today is Mid-Autumn Festival in East Asia, the 15th day of the eighth month on the Chinese Lunar Calendar. It is the day in the year when you can observe the roundest, fullest moon, and also when many in Hong Kong are confronted with a nightmarish reality—too many mooncakes.
    For those who aren’t familiar with the tradition, mooncakes are a savory, dense, and greasy Chinese delicacy, synonymous with the Mid-Autumn Festival. Families typically gather for dinner, eat mooncakes, then take late night strolls outdoors to enjoy the sight of the full moon. The Cantonese mooncake is a traditional pastry with thick lotus seed paste, wrapped around one whole salted duck egg yolk (or two), and covered with a thin crust that is baked often with lard.
    - A "four-egg-yolks" mooncake, which contains four whole salted duck egg yolks with gummy lotus seed in one cake selling at HK$40 ($5), is displayed at a bakery in Hong Kong September 15, 2004.


    No thanks. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)

    Families, friends, and colleagues are expected to offer mooncake gift boxes to each other prior to the auspicious date, even though they often do not want to receive them themselves. Re-gifting is common, but even then there’s a lot more mooncake being purchased than anyone really wants.

    The tradition is not dissimilar to the western custom of giving, and re-giving, fruitcake during the Christmas holidays, but still being stuck with more fruitcake, as immortalized in this Edward Gorey illustration of Victorian holiday-makers throwing their stockpiles of fruitcake in a hole in the ice.


    Fruitcake Christmas Card

    Greenpower, an environmental organization in Hong Kong, has published annual reports over the past 12 years on mooncake consumption habits. 68% (link in Chinese) of the people they interviewed in 2014 said they would give out mooncakes, while 69% of the same group said they didn’t want to receive any themselves.
    Frankly, nobody needs the insane amount of calories (as much as 800 calories per mooncake) and cholesterol contained in each mooncake. But there’s a social expectation to give them out as a festive presents, in return for a polite but insincere “Thank you,” before the unopened box is passed on to someone else. You can’t give them out anymore after the festival is over, so there’s a game of reverse musical chairs happening right now as everyone scrambles to not be left holding too many boxes.
    Even so, Greenpower says a huge amount is wasted every year: the group estimated that households in Hong Kong will thrown out 1.04 million mooncakes (link in Chinese) in 2015, down from 2.12 million in 2010.



    The drop could be attributed to the rise of more fashionable mooncakes (Like Häagen-Dazs’ ice-cream mooncake) that people actually eat, or the trend towards people opting for healthier options like fruit baskets. The South China Morning Post once compiled helpful tips for dealing with the leftovers which include turning mooncakes into hairstyling paste, composting them, or simply shoving them down your throat anyway.
    Gigi and I were just noticing this morning that no one brought us moon cakes this year. No luv, man.
    Gene Ching
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  2. #47
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    Moon Festival 2016

    Starbucks Mooncakes: a beautiful and delicious take on a traditional product
    Oona McGee 12 hours ago



    Only available in certain countries for a limited time, these regional cakes come with a number of gorgeous details.

    One of the key ingredients to Starbucks’ success as a global coffee house chain is their ability to adapt to different markets and devise menus that cater to local tastes. In China, there’s one fantastic edible on everyone’s minds in autumn, the delicious mooncake, and Starbucks is now delivering their own take on the traditional specialty to customers in the region.

    Mooncakes are traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is centred around lunar worship and moon watching. Celebrated on 15 September this year, the cakes are often given as gifts and shared between family and friends during the important Chinese festival.



    Starbucks is selling their version of the Chinese confectionery in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, with different designs and flavours available in each country.



    Our Japanese reporter Meg picked up a box from the Chinese mainland and was keen to try all three varieties of mooncake inside.



    The box was huge and featured stunning decorative elements that made it look like a picture book, with a 3-D Starbucks mermaid raising a cup of Joe to the moon with its fabled inhabitant, a rabbit, jumping through the sky.



    ▼ The mooncakes featured the Starbucks mermaid, in red, green and brown varieties.


    continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  3. #48
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    Continued from previous post

    While Chinese mooncakes usually appear with a crusted coating, these Starbucks cakes looked very different to the traditional varieties.



    ▼ The red cake was a “Cheese Cranberry” flavour.



    ▼ Inside, resembling the round moon, was a pulp filling that contained whole cranberries, which, when combined with the cheese-flavoured paste around it, made it taste like a western confectionary.



    ▼ The South American Coffee Hazelnut was filled with flavourful aromas.



    The taste was like a milky cafe latte, with crunchy pieces of hazelnuts giving it a great textured mouthfeel.



    ▼ The Brown Rice Powdered Green Tea was Meg’s favourite.



    Filled with delicious aromas, the fragrant green tea combined beautifully with the sweet flavours of the brown rice paste.



    Meg’s box, which cost 328 yuan (5,020 yen/US$49.17), was just one of three varieties available. The most gorgeous box in the middle was so popular it had sold out, despite its expensive price tag.



    Meg absolutely loved the Starbucks mooncakes, with their large size, beautiful packaging and limited availability making them one of the best souvenirs she’s ever bought for herself. She’s already counting down the days until she can buy the 2017 versions next year!

    Photos © RocketNews24
    Starbucks Mooncakes got it going on!
    Gene Ching
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  4. #49
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    Loose Moon



    Super Typhoon Meranti is no joke.
    Gene Ching
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  5. #50
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    What a gorgeous moon it was last night

    Still no mooncakes in the office here.

    China’s Luxury Mooncake Market Shifts Focus from Corrupt Officials to Indulgent Foodies
    Jessica Rapp @jrapppp September 15, 2016


    Four Seasons Beijing offered three new flavors in its Valrhona Chocolate Mooncake package this year. (Courtesy Photo)

    This year, Chinese consumers can indulge just a little more for Mid-Autumn Festival. Traditionally a time for exchanging mooncakes filled with salted duck egg and white lotus paste, the holiday has taken a creative turn. Imported ingredients like chocolate or ice cream are no longer enough for hotel chefs—Four Seasons Beijing, for example, replaced their dark and milk chocolate fillings in their gourmet Valrhona chocolate mooncakes with ingredients that are richer and more complex: Earl Grey tea and blue flowers, matcha and raspberry, and salted caramel. Emilie Zhang, the hotel’s public relations manager, said they frequently survey their clients to determine which flavors to keep and what to change out based on new trends.

    Keeping consumers’ taste buds happy has been especially important in recent years because people are actually eating mooncakes as opposed to gifting them as a formality or for bribery. China’s anti-graft campaign has discouraged employers from using state-owned company funds for extravagant gifting expenses, such as elaborate mooncake packages which have retailed for as much as $150 per four to six cakes that are filled with delicacies like abalone and foie gras.

    Since sales started suffering from China’s anti-graft campaign in 2012, mooncakes have been making a vibrant comeback thanks to creative recipes and innovation. With the market left open for more unique mooncakes marketed to individuals and families, boutique bakeries have sprouted up both offline and online—throngs of chefs on Taobao sell homemade creations meant to entice buyers with exotic flavors, and five-star hotels have been jumping on the trend as well.

    According to the China Daily, Shanghai’s mooncake market has been experiencing a “bumper year,” thanks to the innovative ingredients craze, citing The Peninsula Shanghai’s new upgrade to its traditional egg custard offerings, an iced durian-filled mooncake, as well as Hotel Indigo Shanghai’s wagyu marbled beef mooncakes, which sold better than its “classic” recipes. In Beijing, China World Summit Wing emphasizes online that it’s featuring “new flavors” for its “glamorous” mooncake boxes, and makes a point to comment on quality and imported ingredients. Its range of mooncake packages includes red wine and yogurt flavor and a durian flavor.

    Still, there are hotels committed to offering their customers reliability, like The Peninsula Hotel Beijing, which opted not to change its flavors this year. Instead, it banked on giving return customers their favorites and offered the same four packages, with their most well-known flavor being an egg custard filling, a recipe that dates back to 1986. Egg custard could arguably be considered the “original” novel mooncake—the style originated from Hong Kong as a creamy replacement for the traditional salted duck egg filling.

    “Recently, mooncake sellers and hotels have offered more and more new flavors to customers, and clients have more choices,” said a Peninsula PR representative. “But at the same time, there is one kind of customer that would like to have the option of purchasing the same flavors every year. The Peninsula mooncake is well-known in the world for its original flavor, so we would like to keep it for our clients.”

    The strategy seems to be working for the hotelier. This year, it had a 30 percent increase in orders and sold out of mooncakes by mid-August.

    Aside from recipes, technology has also played a role in sales of the traditional treat this year. The Peninsula launched a 400-box flash sale on WeChat for the first time this season to inform more social media followers and gain new customers. Waldorf Astoria Beijing also replaced its online sales with a WeChat shop for its mooncake box and has completely sold out.

    It’s unclear exactly how many of these packages are being sold to employers versus individuals, but in Four Seasons Beijing’s case, the Valrhona chocolate mooncakes—which are usually a favorite with corporate clients—sold out this year. Zhang said the hotel did need to reduce the number of boxes from the year before, but attributed this to difficulty in delivering large orders and preventing the chocolate from melting.

    The anti-graft campaign’s impact on the mooncake market is likely far from over, however. New government tax regulations went into effect in May, which prohibit hotels from issuing fapiaos, or tax receipts, for anything other than what the customer bought, Zhang said. Before this, a loophole gave hotels the option to write in a mooncake purchase as a hotel room or service. But the shift toward playing to customers’ tastes for trendy, new, and unusual flavor profiles seems to be, at the very least, keeping the festival delicacy afloat.
    Gene Ching
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  6. #51
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    healthy mooncakes

    I know, I know. I've been bemoaning not having any mooncakes this year. Truth is they are really expensive and nasty in a dietary way and I'm really trying to eat healthy nowadays. I'm more missing the ritual of them then the actual eating of them.

    China’s Health and Wellness Craze Fuels Demand for Low-Cal Mooncakes
    Jessica Rapp @jrapppp September 12, 2016


    Mooncakes by baker Sara Li, who makes her own healthier version of the Mid-Autumn Festival delicacy. (Courtesy Photo)

    A single, fist-sized portion of the traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival treat, the mooncake, can cost as much as $12 on average, but what’s more striking is its calorie count: the dessert can contain between 400 and 1,000 calories. With an increasing number of wealthy Chinese consumers concerned about their health, hotels and restaurants are making an effort to transform mooncakes into a pleasure consumers need not to feel so guilty about eating.

    Late last month, the Hong Kong Centre for Food Safety issued a warning on the health risks of consuming mooncakes that were high in fat, sugar and sodium. After doing a study on more than 50 brands of mooncakes (brands not revealed), it was found that the recently popular snow skin mooncakes generally had the most sugar, with one serving carrying 42.7 grams. The 100-gram mooncake with the most sodium had 376 milligrams of it. The center suggested that Hong Kong consumers should eat one-fourth of the regular-sized mooncake, but for many in Greater China, mooncake consumption has always been an affair of limitations. Dubbed “China’s fruitcake,” mooncakes are often snubbed for being too sweet in a society that commonly avoids overly sugary foods.

    Consumer habits like those of Yangbei He are thus fairly standard—she said she normally eats one to two mooncakes a year. “I feel like it’s easy to gain weight [from eating them], and the traditional mooncakes just taste so-so, so I’d rather save my calories for other desserts,” she said.

    Yangbei said she does make exceptions for new and interesting flavors, of which there are plenty this year. Many luxury hotels and bakeries have resorted to filling their mooncakes with exotic ingredients to reignite consumer interest after the anti-graft campaign left luxury hotels struggling to make sales. This has left room for a span of exotic creations, ranging from the most decadent like chocolate lava cake, to the other end of the spectrum—gluten free, organic, or incorporating less fattening foods like pumpkin.

    The growing health and wellness trend in the mainland has coincided with an increasing demand for the latter, according to Wei Wei Saw, director of communications at Kerry Hotel, Beijing. “We do notice that nowadays guests are favorable towards flavors that are less sweet and healthier,” she said. “As such, we do offer sugar-free options, such as the sugar-free pumpkin.” Four Seasons Hotel Beijing added a sugar-free chestnut mooncake to their menu this year, and other hotels have been resorting to offering packages of bite-sized mooncakes, such as the The Landmark Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong’s mini egg custard mooncakes. Last year, some hotels even saw health-conscious bosses simply buying gym passes for employees.

    Shirley So, co-founder of Beijing’s Glo Kitchen and Fitness said she has been seeing a lot of big orders, specifically from fitness and health care companies, for their healthy mooncakes. Glo replaces cane sugar with honey and the traditionally oily pastry with sweet potato flour. So said she thinks consumers in general “don’t really go out of their way to to choose healthier options” because many of them are simply eating what their companies gift them. But the option, at least, is there.

    “There are definitely a lot more healthy mooncake choices,” she said. “It’s part of the healthy lifestyle movement.”

    There are also consumers who want to be absolutely sure about what they’re putting into their body. Sara Li, who runs a bakery on Taobao that sells homemade hawthorne fruit jam, peanut butter, and chili sauce, started making her own mooncakes filled with her own red bean paste concoction this year. She said she may start selling them online in the future, but for now she only shares the no-bake desserts with family and friends.

    “My parents and I do cut back for health concerns, if you compare it with our consumption years ago,” she said. “But this year, I made them myself instead, so there’s less sugar, oil and no additives.”

    Yet, when it comes to conscious consumption, Joel Shuchat, founder of a Beijing-based boutique hotel, The Orchid, whose restaurant Toast produces mooncakes with lotus and duck egg, tahini fudge, and peanut butter chocolate fudge, has a different take on the matter.

    “What’s the point of healthy mooncakes?” he said. “Like, who cares? The point is edible.”
    Gene Ching
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  7. #52
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    Mooncakes are here! YAY!

    A lovely box just arrived for our office. NOT LOW-CAL. Not Starbucks. No bribes included.

    We've cut them up and shared them. It's a very tasty selection.

    Mmmmmmmmmm.

    Happy Moon Festival All!
    Gene Ching
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  8. #53
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    When I was living in Taiwan, I actually like eating mooncakes, when they were offered. I suppose lots of people did not. I liked them until there was a news story in Taiwan about a mooncake company that was using recycled lard/fat taken from behind restaurants. It was one company that was known about, but I never ate another mooncake after that.

    Of course, now I wouldn't be able to eat one at all, as I'm been gluten-intolerant for the past five-plus years.

  9. #54
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    Fake mooncakes

    Anyone ever had Peninsula mooncakes? Are they that good? $66K HK = $8441.90 USD. That's a lotta cakes.

    Fake Peninsula mooncakes yield arrests and HK$66,000 haul
    Production source still being investigated after customs officers posed as consumers
    PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 3:15pm
    UPDATED : Friday, 15 September, 2017, 10:37pm
    Clifford Lo



    The Peninsula hotel has become the latest brand to fall victim to counterfeiters as more than 200 boxes of mini-egg custard mooncakes bearing its forged trademark were confiscated by Hong Kong customs on Thursday.
    A genuine box of the mooncakes described as a “bestseller” and marked with “Sold Out” retailed for HK$338 on The Peninsula Hotels website, but the fakes were priced at HK$368 in a Sheung Shui shop and sold for HK$310 per box on the internet.


    Fake products were mingled with the genuine ones at the shop. Photo: K. Y. Cheng.

    Customs officers seized 213 boxes of the fake brand-name product after undercover agents posing as consumers were deployed to buy from the shop and browse through an online platform. The haul had an estimated market value of HK$66,000.
    Five Hongkongers – three men and two women – were arrested for the sale of the counterfeit mooncakes, according to the Customs and Excise Department.
    After receiving online orders, the boxes of fakes were handed over to buyers at MTR stations PEGGY TAM PUI-YING, CUSTOMS OFFICIAL
    The Post understands three boxes of the counterfeit products were mingled with about 50 genuine boxes of mooncakes for sale in the Sheung Shui shop that also carries medicine and dried seafood.
    The other fakes were seized at a shop in Mong Kok that was used as a warehouse.
    “After receiving online orders, the boxes of fakes were handed over to buyers at MTR stations,” assistant superintendent Peggy Tam Pui-ying, head of Customs’ intellectual property general investigation division, said.


    Peggy Tam said the fakes were handed over at MTR stations. Photo: K.Y. Cheng

    She said initial investigation showed the two parties were not linked.
    Officers were still investigating the source of the fakes, but investigations showed they were not produced locally.
    Tam said the results of an initial examination of the fakes showed no heavy metal was present in them but that further tests were needed.
    The authority believed a very limited quantity had been sold in Hong Kong for Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on October 4.
    “The fake brand-name mooncakes were put on sale recently,” Tam said. She urged consumers to shop through authorised dealers and reputable shops.
    The five suspects were released on bail pending further investigation.
    Under the Trade Descriptions Ordinance, those who sell goods bearing a forged trademark face a jail term of up to five years and a HK$500,000 fine.
    In the run-up to next month’s festival, customs officials have stepped up patrols across the city looking for counterfeit items such as lanterns.

    [IMG]src="https://cdn3.i-scmp.com/sites/default/files/images/methode/2017/09/15/eff4c6ba-99e4-11e7-a089-5a7a21c623ca_1320x770_164337.JPG"[/IMG]
    Fake lanterns were also targeted in the run-up to next month’s Mid-Autumn Festival. Photo: K. Y. Cheng

    On Thursday, they arrested 10 people and seized more than 200 suspected counterfeit lanterns and 800 other dubious-quality goods such as stationery at local outlets. The haul was worth about HK$50,000.
    The public may report suspicious activities to Customs’ 24-hour hotline at +852 2545 6182.
    Fake Moon Cakes.
    Gene Ching
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  10. #55
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    That time of year...


    Hong Kong’s most creative mooncakes feature superfoods, truffle and matcha
    This year, munch on mooncakes with a gourmet twist from Four Seasons, The Mira, Häagen-Dazs, Gaucho and The Cakery
    BY KIM SOO-JIN
    20 SEP 2017
    3 SHARE

    Some of the city’s most creative mooncakes this Mid-Autumn Festival feature unusual ingredients and delectable combinations. Can we even call these festive treats mooncakes? Regardless, we're dying to try them.

    Four Seasons’ Lung King Heen

    Eggs and truffles are a match made in heaven, if our brunch choices are anything to go by. Truffle and egg mooncakes might just be a winning combination – which is exactly what the chefs over at the Four Seasons’ Lung King Heen restaurant are betting on this year.


    Lung King Heen’s truffle and egg mooncakes.

    Chunky pieces of black truffle and white truffle oil are mixed with white lotus seed paste, adding an earthy, aromatic taste to the traditional mooncake. They also feature a traditional salted egg yolk and come wrapped in a skin of buttery filo pastry. These hand-crafted mooncakes are made without preservatives.

    The Mira Hong Kong

    COCO, The Mira Hong Kong’s café-patiserrie, celebrates Mid-Autumn Festival with a trio of tea-infused chocolate “mooncakes”. The circular delights come with decorative craters to mimic some of the galaxy’s most famous moons: Luna, the Earth’s very own moon, Callisto, discovered by Galileo Galilei, and Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.


    Mooncakes from COCO, café-patisserie of The Mira Hong Kong.

    Each tin box features three different flavours: an uji matcha-infused “cake” with 40 per cent white chocolate from Vietnam and white sesame; a Ceylon-infused cake with 40 per cent Ecuadorean milk chocolate and Japanese sudachi (sour green citrus); and a smoky Fujian Lapsang Souchong black tea-infused cake with 71 per cent organic dark chocolate from Latin America.

    Häagen-Dazs

    Häagen-Dazs’ ice-cream twist on mooncakes isn’t new – but who cares, as long as we get to eat ice cream? This year, Haagen-Dazs debuts a “rainbow collection” that looks more like a flower garden than a moonlit sky. Each chocolate-covered “mooncake” is shaped like a delicate rose. The set features nine roses in a range of pastel colours.


    Haagen-Dazs’ rainbow collection ice cream mooncakes.

    Each flower hides within its chocolate crunch shell a different flavour. Flavours include: chocolate, summer berries and cream, vanilla, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry, cookies and cream, caramel biscuit and cream, and yuzu citrus and cream with mango purée.

    Gaucho

    To celebrate this Mid-Autumn Festival, Gaucho is reinventing one of its best-known desserts, dulce de leche cheesecake, into a mooncake.


    Dulce de Leche mooncakes by Gaucho.

    The Argentinian steakhouse is incorporating lotus seed paste, egg and golden syrup into the recipe to retain the traditional flavours of the mooncake.

    The Cakery

    We all know that mooncakes are high in calories and fat. But if they come stuffed with superfoods usually found in a health store, then we’re considering them a healthy choice!


    The Cakery’s 2017 mooncakes.

    The Cakery – known for its gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free and refined sugar-free options – is offering four flavours (black sesame, red date, fig and orange, and osmanthus and matcha) of mooncake that incorporate a range of superfoods, including pumpkin seed, linseed, coconut oil, buckwheat groats, and cinnamon.

    Maybe wellness lovers could even consider it a worthy substitute for a pre-gym energy bar.
    Serious moon cakes
    Gene Ching
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  11. #56
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    Thank you Master Tian!



    Master Tian Chongfang (2015 WildAid & Drunken Style Champion) brought us our first tin of moon cakes this year.
    Gene Ching
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  12. #57
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    Never Say Die

    I got nothing on Never Say Die but it beat out both Jackie's The Foreigner and Donnie's Chasing the Dragon (and Orlando's S.M.A.R.T. Chase, which we do care about because Orlando is cool and rocks Feiyues) for the Moon Fest movie rush, so I guess I should check it out.

    China Box Office: Martial Arts Comedy Opens to $46M, Topping Jackie Chan's 'The Foreigner'
    2:46 AM PDT 10/2/2017 by Patrick Brzeski


    'The Foreigner'

    Local comedy 'Never Say Die' outperformed Chan's STX-backed action thriller, which earned $21.9 million on Saturday and Sunday.
    Martial arts comedy Never Say Die came out swinging at the Chinese box office over the weekend, opening with $46.2 million on Saturday and Sunday.

    The slapstick hit relegated Jackie Chan to a rare second-place finish, as his STX-produced action thriller The Foreigner opened with $21.9 million over the same two days.

    Sunday was the start of one of China's so-called "Golden Weeks," a lucky succession of national holidays that results in most Chinese employees getting a full seven days off work. In recent years, this reprieve has translated into brisk business at Chinese multiplexes. In response, Chinese regulators have taken to blocking Hollywood movie openings during the holiday, putting the focus on Chinese culture while giving local studios a boost.

    Never Say Die was produced by Beijing theater group Mahua Fun Age, the creative force behind last year's comedy smash Goodbye Mr. Loser ($226 million). Never Say Die tells the story of a boxer and a journalist who mysteriously swap bodies after they are zapped by electricity, sending the duo spinning through a series of slapstick misadventures. The film is an adaptation of a hit Mahua stage comedy of the same name. Directed by Song Yang and Zhang Chiyu (the director pair behind the play), the film stars Ai Lun and Ma Li, two of the leads from Mr. Loser.

    Directed by Martin Campbell and co-starring Pierce Brosnan, The Foreigner finds Chan in "serious Jackie Chan" mode, playing a humble London businessman whose mysterious past erupts in a revenge-fuelled vendetta when his teenage daughter dies in a terrorist attack. The English-language film earned just shy of $2 million on Imax screens over the weekend. Respectable word of mouth suggests the movie will hold onto second place throughout the week. A U.K.-China co-production, The Foreigner is set to open in North America on Oct. 13.

    Chasing the Dragon, a slick martial arts drama starring Hong Kong favorites Donnie Yen and Andy Lau, landed in third place with $14.2 million. It was followed by Sky Hunter, a patriotic air force action flick directed by and starring Li Chen, which earned $13 million. Fan Bingbing, Li's real-life fiance, co-stars as the romantic lead.

    Although Hollywood movies are blocked from opening over National Day, one other familiar Western face did pop up on Chinese screens over the weekend. S.M.A.R.T. Chase, a Chinese road race thriller produced by Shanghai-based Bliss Media and starring Orlando Bloom, also debuted Saturday. The film hit the track with a sputter, however, taking just $1.5 million for the frame.
    Gene Ching
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  13. #58
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    Sf

    Some of my friends went. They said it was packed.

    Autumn Moon Festival brings crowds to Chinatown’s Grant Avenue in SF
    By Steve Rubenstein Updated 2:59 pm, Saturday, September 30, 2017


    Aaron Ng sticks his head out from the costume as hundreds of people await the opening ceremony of the annual Autumn Moon Festival in San Francisco. Photo: Mason Trinca / Mason Trinca / Special To The Chronicle / ONLINE_YES
    Photo: Mason Trinca / Mason Trinca / Special To The Chronicle

    Chinese lions that couldn’t wait for Chinese New Year did their Chinese lion thing down Grant Avenue on Saturday to kick off a festival that tries just as hard as its big brother to be fun and frantic.
    It was the opening day of the weekend Autumn Moon Festival and thousands of festivalgoers crowded shoulder to shoulder amid the booths, dancers, beauty queens and vendors on Grant Avenue, there being no other way for thousands of people on Grant Avenue to fit.
    Greg Wai, whose job was to be at the front end of a two-man costumed lion that danced its way down the thoroughfare, said it’s a big responsibility to be a lion’s head.
    “You’re portraying curiosity, fear, joy, hunger, playfulness,” he said. “And you do it in time to the drum, the cymbals and the gong. There is structure to being a lion and there is freedom. It isn’t easy.”
    Wai has worn the lion head for 17 years on behalf of the Yau Kung Moon sports association. When he was breaking into the craft, he played the lion’s rear end, the traditional butt of jokes as well as of lions. Wai is beyond all that.
    “If there were no rear end,” he said, “there could be no front end.’’
    Tourists snapped pictures and snapped up souvenirs. Also for sale were moon cakes, the traditional confection of the moon festival. Like the moon, it’s round and, unlike the moon, it has bean paste inside.
    At the Koi Palace bakery booth, vendor Matt Ng was selling large moon cakes for $8 and small ones for $3. He had 4,000 of them, because it’s bad luck to run out of moon cakes at the moon festival.
    “Ours are low in sugar, with no pork fat,” he said. “They’ll keep in the refrigerator for six months.”
    But, he said, the best time to eat an autumn moon festival cake is autumn, not six months after autumn.
    At another booth, Kelly Tan from the Community Youth Center was helping kids make Chinese lanterns by folding red paper rectangles into quarters and fastening them together with staples and Scotch tape. Chinese paper lanterns are millenniums old, she said, even if staplers and Scotch tape aren’t.
    “A stapler lets you do it faster,” she said.
    The red paper rectangles turned out to be leftover money envelopes from Chinese New Year. At that holiday, people give each other money in small red envelopes. But there are always leftover New Year’s money envelopes to turn into lanterns at the moon festival, Tan said, because giving away money isn’t something everyone is in a position to do.
    Chinatown regulars stopped by other booths to spin lucky prize wheels. There was no shortage of lucky wheels to spin. The cops had one, the auto club had one, a radio station had one and two casinos had one apiece. The prizes were key chains, whistles and stickers, and the lines to spin the wheels stretched down the avenue and around the corner. A young woman whose sash said she was Miss Asian Global stood around, posing for pictures and smiling nonstop, even though she had yet to win a key chain or sticker.
    Nearby, a traditional Chinese fortune teller named Wanugee was giving away free fortunes. Take a seat and pick out seven small mahjong tiles, he said, and all will be revealed.
    A reporter picked out seven tiles and Wanugee looked at them, frowned and said the reporter’s hopes and desires were unrealistic and that January would be very tough, because of the north wind tile he had selected.
    “Better pick another tile,” Wanugee said, which seemed like do-overs but, when the pearl tile came up, Wanugee said January might work out after all.
    On Saturday, festivalgoers had their choice of a half-dozen dance groups from China, Indonesia and Hawaii, along with a dragon. On Sunday, the festival will conclude with spiritual music, more lions, some taiko-drumming grandmas — and another dragon.
    Throughout the daytime Moon Festival proceedings, the star of the show — the moon — was absent.
    “Technically the moon is there,” said Lisa Kwong, who was handing out stickers at the San Francisco Fire Department booth. “You just can’t see it. But it’s up there all right.”

    Steve Rubenstein is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: srubenstein@sfchronicle.com Twitter: @SteveRubeSF
    I was a lion butt. I know what he means.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #59
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    Super Golden Week

    China’s 'Super Golden Week': 710 Million People on the Move
    During the 8-day holiday, half of China’s population will be traveling at home and abroad.
    By Charlotte Gao
    October 02, 2017


    Image Credit: Flickr/Jakob Montrasio

    About half of China’s 1.4 billion people will be on the move during “super golden week” — the 8-day holiday encompassing both the National Day holiday and the Mid-Autumn Festival. Thanks to the Lunar Year calendar, this year the Mid-Autumn Festival coincides with the National Day holiday, extending the usual vacation period from October 1 to October 8.

    China National Tourism Administration said they expected about 710 million people to travel during the 8 days, while 49.8 percent of the total, nearly 350 million, would traveling by wheels. As to be expected, the first day and the final day of the holiday period will see the highest traffic peaks.

    Since 2012, China has implemented a toll-free holiday policy which allows free passage of passenger cars with seven seats or fewer on toll roads, bridges and tunnels during four major public holidays — Spring Festival, Qing Ming Festival, Labor Day and National Day. The policy, although highly welcomed by the majority of private car owners, has also brought about more traffic jams nationwide during the holidays.

    Information from China’s Ministry of Transport showed that traffic on highways in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai became congested around 6 a.m. on October 1 as city-dwellers hit the roads out of town.

    As of October 2, multiple highways have been suffering from serious traffic jams and thousands of passengers have been trapped on the roads for hours on end. The South China Morning Post reported that the Guangzhou-Shenzhen Expressway, which connects Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen, has seen the “most serious” traffic congestion in years, and 90 percent of local coach services have had to halt their business. Numerous traffic polices in various cities posted on their Weibo accounts about the local traffic situation and suggested drivers take alternate routes. Meanwhile, drivers and passengers stuck in the traffic jams also took to Weibo to complain, posting pictures of congested roads accordingly.

    Terrible traffic, however, won’t deter Chinese from traveling for the holidays.

    China National Tourism Administration forecasted that domestic tourism revenue will reach 590 billion yuan (around $84 billion) this year, and cities like Sanya, Beijing, Kunming and Shanghai will be the most popular destinations.

    Early in National Day — October 1, marking the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China — more than 115,000 people gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to watch the raising of the Chinese national flag.

    China’s “super golden week” has also triggered a global tourism boom, particularly in China’s neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore and Japan. A Chinese travel service website published a report recently estimating, based on its own booking data, that more than 6 million Chinese people will travel overseas to 88 countries and regions all over the world. Ironically, the political factor also somewhat plays a role when Chinese people decide on their tourism destinations. For example, South Korea is likely to miss out on a big share of the Chinese tourism revenue, as China recently banned travel agencies from selling package tours to Korea due to the tensions over the THAAD missile defense system.
    Coincidentally, it's Fleet Week here in SF.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  15. #60
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    Dec 1969
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    Tonight

    Like a finger pointing to the moon...

    How to See the October Harvest Moon—First in Almost a Decade
    The lunar orb rising on Thursday night marks the closest full moon to the fall equinox. Here’s why that matters.


    The harvest moon hangs amid the New York City skyline in 2016.
    PHOTOGRAPH BY GARY HERSHORN, GETTY

    By Victoria Jaggard
    PUBLISHED OCTOBER 5, 2017

    For sky-watchers in the Northern Hemisphere, the October full moon is pulling off a celestial trick that will be a real treat.

    On Thursday night, the sky will be aglow with this year’s harvest moon—the first time a full moon bearing this moniker has fallen in October since 2009. Technically, the moon reaches its full phase on October 5 at 2:40 p.m. ET, which means the harvest moon will be in effect when the lunar orb glides above the horizon at 7:21 p.m. ET.

    So why do we call this spectacle a harvest moon, and why is it special?

    Civilizations around the world have long used the phases of the moon to keep track of time, and according to lunar tradition, each month’s full moon gets a special name. These names vary by location and regional folklore, but many are based on that particular full moon’s seasonal characteristics.

    In the Northern Hemisphere, the harvest moon is the closest full moon to the fall equinox, which usually happens on or around September 22. That means the harvest moon usually occurs in September. But this year, the September full moon appeared on the 6th, separating it from the fall equinox by 16 days. The October 5 full moon arrives only 13 days after the fall equinox, making it the closer pairing.

    While it’s been a while since we last saw an October harvest moon, the phenomenon isn’t really that rare, says Ernie Wright, a specialist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Scientific Visualization Studio in Maryland.

    “The previous one was in 2009, but the one before that was 2006, and the next one will be in 2020,” he says. Based on the timing of the equinox and the regular 29.5-day cycle of the moon, a harvest moon can happen on any date between September 7 and October 8. That means the probability of an October harvest moon is roughly one in four, he calculates.

    LIGHTING UP THE NIGHT
    Still, any given harvest moon can be a beautiful sight, thanks to the moon’s behavior in the autumn months.

    The moon’s orbital path is slightly tilted with respect to Earth’s orbit, so the lunar disk changes its position in the sky with each moonrise. Over the course of a year, the moon pops above the horizon about 50 minutes later each day, on average.

    But for several days in a row around the fall equinox, the moon rises only about 30 minutes later in the northern U.S. and just 10 to 20 minutes later in much of Canada and Europe. It sounds like a small shift, but it brings noticeably brighter nights: During this time, the full moon rises almost as soon as the sun sets, first appearing as a plump, orange-colored orb right around dusk. (Find out more about the moon illusion and why the moon always looks bigger near the horizon.)

    With little darkness between sunset and moonrise, farmers can work later into the night harvesting crops—the likely origin of this full moon’s name. According to a monthly email about the moon sent by NASA’s Gordon Johnston, the name “harvest moon” hails from Europe, where it’s been used since at least the early 1700s. It’s also been called the travel moon, dying grass moon, or blood moon in various Native American traditions.

    This year, the October 5 full moon also heralds Sharad Purnima in India, a Hindu harvest festival held around the first full moon in the lunar month of Ashwin, which marks the end of monsoon season.

    “The harvest moon is a full moon, but not one that really provides any specific unique-viewing opportunity—other than that you might have great observing from a pumpkin patch,” says Andrea Jones, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter public engagement lead at NASA.

    She adds that NASA will be celebrating this year’s International Observe the Moon Night on October 28, when our cosmic companion will be in its first quarter phase and only half-lit.

    “We encourage everyone everywhere around the world to look up at the moon that day and take the opportunity to learn about and celebrate lunar and planetary science, exploration, and the personal and cultural connections we all have to our nearest neighbor in space,” Jones says.

    Victoria Jaggard is the lead editor for online science news, with a special focus on astronomy and paleontology.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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