As cooler winds blanket Taiwan, supermarkets are bustling with people doing last-minute Mid-Autumn Festival shopping.
Over the last few years, there is a growing trend to purchase barbecue grills, bags of coal, and various other equipment, resulting in people barbecuing on roadsides, parks and beaches.
The festival has also warmed the hearts of hundreds of foreigners who embrace Eastern culture and partake in local festivities with family and friends.
After years of seeing stores brimming with beautiful boxes of delicious mooncakes and watching our neighbors enjoy a barbecue, we finally caved and purchased a grill, some coal and got to work!
Back in India, home barbecue is not a trend; rather, restaurants will serve barbecue grilled chicken or other types of meat. Here in Taiwan, however, barbecuing is part of the culture and it brings family and friends together to celebrate with delicious food.
Despite being vegetarian and limited in my barbecue options, I love to grill mushroom, corn, and bell pepper kebabs as well as tofu. Barbecuing is a tedious task but the end result is always worth the wait.
The heat radiating from the coals as my family members and I take turns to grill sometimes is unbearable. But, the food after being cooked thoroughly retains a taste that a traditional stove cannot capture.
Last year, my grandmother visited us from India, so my brother and I explained the importance of the Mid-Autumn Festival. She was particularly curious after seeing everyone barbecue in the streets and questioned why there were so many promotional activities in stores.
From the perspective of someone who hasn’t yet been exposed to the festivities in Taiwan, she was fascinated by the warm and loving atmosphere that was buzzing in the city. Moreover, the delicate mooncakes made such an impact on her that she packed several boxes to take home.
My family has been partaking in Mid-Autumn Festivities for almost 5 years now even though my family has resided in Taiwan for almost two decades.
In hindsight, this has brought us closer to the culture and embrace Taiwan’s fantastic traditions. If I put it colloquially, it makes us feel more integrated into the festivities and part of the place we call home.
This year, the season is less tainted by global warming and the regular typhoon season has made it cooler which makes hot barbecue all the more tempting.
We plan to barbecue our food and share mooncakes with our neighbors while savoring the joyous celebratory ambiance.
Festivities are always an exciting and glorious time, but safety is an underlying issue. Hopefully, people can drive safely and conduct all their grilling in a secure manner.
Here’s to another prosperous year and celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival munching on cakes and barbecuing under the moon.
Saloni Meghnani is a student working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication in Taiwan. She grew up in Taipei and attended an international school. Saloni is an avid reader and is passionate about writing. Her upbringing as a third culture child gives her a unique perspective on her coverage of socio-economic issues in Asia.