Chinatown’s Moon Festival

Saturday night Chinatown celebrated the 73rd annual Moon Festival. The mid-Autumn Moon Festival took place in the Central Plaza & West Plaza. It is believed that this is the time of the year when the moon is at its fullest and brightest, and anyone who saw that Harvest moon last week would have to agree. Since it follows the lunar calendar, the celebration can take place at different times, like Mardis Gras, or Easter. The moon is a symbol of family, so family reunions often take place during the celebration, and there is a heavy focus on family unity. For agrarian areas of China, it is also a Harvest festival.

The celebration included traditional and modern music, martial arts demos, acrobats, particularly one woman who was able to balance just about anything on her nose, including 3 eggs balanced one on top of the other. To take it to the limit, she then executed a 360 degree turn so the entire audience could see. There were calligraphy demos and face-painting. The line for face-painting was long, so unfortunately I was not able to have my face painted in pinks and reds like in Chinese opera. A number of small art galleries hosted receptions, with beer and very modern art.

I spent the bulk of my evening watching the cooking demos, expertly emceed by Eddie Lin of Deep End Dining. He exhibited an extensive knowledge of Chinese cooking techniques, and managed to keep the crowd enthralled even while dodging gunpowder Snaps.

It was kind of like taking coal to Newcastle when there were so many good dim sum delis, but there was a wagon train of food trucks. Trucks including Crepe N Around, LA BBQ Guy, and Mama’s Food Truck, a Malaysian truck with Roti Canai and little fried sweet potato balls. Lake Street Creamery had rich, intense, multi-layered flavors of ice cream. I was told it was very un-Chinese of me to eat ice cream, but so are my red hair and freckles.

Elise Thompson

About Elise Thompson

Born and raised in the great city of Los Angeles, this food, culture and music-loving punk rock angeleno wants to turn you on to all that is funky, delicious and weird in the city. While Elise holds down the fort, her adventurous alter ego Kiki Maraschino is known to roam the country in search of catfish.
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