If you’ve never had a mooncake before you are missing out on one of the best Chinese pastries ever created. This ornate dessert with a golden crust and creamy filling is a staple of the annual Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival also known as the Mooncake Festival or Lantern Festival (this year it was celebrated September 8th). Mooncakes are made as an offering to the moon goddess Chang'e and have been enjoyed for over 3,000 years.
The cakes come with a thin crust and come in a variety of flavors but the most traditional come with a lotus seed or red bean stuffing. They often have a salted duck egg center representing the four phases of the moon. Here's a great recipe for Chinese mooncakes if you'd like to make them at home.
This nifty infographic from Makati Shangri-La will give you an in-depth tutorial about the history of mooncakes and the many varieties out there (click on the image to enlarge):
Dal is one of those recipes that goes all the way back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Unlike dishes such as biryani, brought to India by the Moghuls, it is one of those foods that has always been there. It is therefore a building block of Indian culture.