Temple's vegetarian mooncakes hit market
Vegetarian mooncakes from Shanghai’s Jade Buddha Temple hit the market on Thursday after the abbot and monks blessed the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival food.
The temple has a 30-year tradition of making mooncakes for the festival which falls on September 13 this year.
It initially made the mooncakes as a treat for monks or to present to guests and local seniors, but an increasing number of visitors asked for the snack.
The Suzhou- and Cantonese-style mooncakes are made by traditional means.
Some 150 senior chefs make about 70,000 mooncakes in more than 20 flavors every day. Many of the chefs have been making the traditional food for decades.
The cost of ingredients has increased this year, but the retail price will remain the same as that of last year, said Huang Zhiliang, general manager of the vegetarian food company of the temple.
The cost of sugar and lotus nut has increased by 10 percent, while the price of pine nut is more than double last year, Huang said.
The vegetarian mooncakes of the temple are made with less oil and sugar compared with other traditional festival treats.
The temple’s abbot and senior monks blessed the production line on Thursday.
The mooncakes are available in the temple on Jiangning Road in Putuo District, and at supermarkets across the city as well as online stores.
The mooncakes are especially popular among overseas Chinese and foreign visitors.
The temple, built in 1882 and renowned for its Jade Buddha, is one of the city’s most popular sites, attracting 1.2 million visitors a year, a third of them from abroad.
Citywide, a total of 20,000 tons of mooncakes will be produced this year, about 10 percent less than that of 2018.
Total sales are expected to reach 2.2 billion yuan (US$312 million).