Traditional Chinese Bridal Pastries
In a traditional Chinese wedding, the groom’s parents will give bridal pastries to the bride’s parents, who distribute these pastries to family and friends before the wedding day to share their joy, and to celebrate the union of two beautiful persons. It is interesting that people living in Hong Kong have not been using traditional Chinese bridal pastries for a long time. They usually give “cake cards” or “coupons” to family and friends who will take the cards/coupons to the bakery to select whatever pastries they like. For many years the tradition is to buy and eat western type of bakery. In the last decade, the old traditions have returned, particularly for the overseas Chinese, who are more traditional than the people living in Hong Kong or in other big cities in China. I have recently got some traditional wedding desserts from a friend. They seem to be modified traditional Chinese desserts, like the heart-shaped cakes ( with lotus seed paste inside the cakes which are like moon cakes) . The other pinkish one has flaky skin, and also lotus seed paste inside. Very delicious!
If you are interested, go to a good Chinese Bakery, not necessary in Chinatown, and ask for it. However, even in cities known for their multicultural cuisine, such as San Francisco or New York where there are big Chinatown districts with lots of bakery, only a few very specialized Chinese Bakery will make and sell this kind of Chinese wedding cakes, which are quite expensive too. Therefore whenever we have got special pastries like these, we usually save them to be shared with family and friends. I hope people will continue to keep up this nice tradition.
The only bakery that I know of, which is specialized in Chinese bridal cake is this one–Kee Wah. Outside Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, they are only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I am not advertising for this company which undoubtedly is internationally known and has a good reputation. I just checked the site to confirm the terminology, and found that the short paragraph on Chinese Wedding Tradition is pretty good.
There is an on-line store where you can buy some specialized Chinese pastries. However, the store does not include bridal pastries!
The pastries and packaging are all designed in an auspicious way, representing prosperity, good fortune and fruitful union.
If you are interested in reading more about symbolism in Chinese tradition, look up this book: “Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art”, written by Teresa Tse Bartholomew, Asian Art Museum, 2006. I bought this book when it was first published and gave a few to family and friends. I will perhaps write about this subject in another blog. Let me know if you are interested.