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Yunnan rose-pied moon cakes

(Moon cakes of various kinds begin to prevail around China, as
the Middle Autumn Festival is imminent.)

As the Middle Autumn Day draws near in China, there are many moon cakes to choose from besides the "package more valuable" ones, such as ham-pied cakes. Flower-pied, especially rose-pied moon cakes are preferred a lot by visitors to Yunnan. Baked with almost the same materials--flour, cooking oil, sugar, and honey etc, why do these pastries enjoy a high popularity?

The secret lies in the roses locally grown in Yunnan and used for cooking-especially for making cakes that are crispy, fragrant and drool-inducing.

The Rosaceae bushes can be found with ease in many parts of China, but Yunnan-which is dubbed "Kingdom Plants"-tops others in this respect. You might have noticed that 70% percent of fresh flowers traded in China have come from Yunnan Province.

Among the genuine dim sum-like snacks of Yunnan, flower-pied cakes can be a highlight. They are normally widely available in stores such as Carrefour and Walmart outlets, and franchise stores such as the Jiahua Cakes and the Bread Works etc. Cakes of this kind begin to be sold as early as April, because farmers usually harvest the rose crops for orders placed by food companies.

In historical records, the flower-pied cakes were initially prepared by a chef master in the Qing Dynasty about 300 years ago. Sweet, fragrant, and believed to be "good for improving feminine beauty", these cakes were once widely sold in Kunming and even the north of China such as Tianjin.

However, not all the rose flower is used for making cakes. The petals of edible roses, and only the petals, are valuable in this regard, which is mainly why they (flower-pied cakes) are a little pricier than others. There are also records saying that rose-pied cakes were paid to the Qing Dynasty's Qian Long Emperor as a tribute.

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