Chicago Eats: Mid-Autumn Festival at Shanghai Terrace | chicago foodie girl


Chicago Eats: Mid-Autumn Festival at Shanghai Terrace

One of the most important festivals on the Chinese calendar (second only to Chinese New Year) is the Mid-Autumn Festival. The annual event, which falls on September 27 this year, celebrates the harvest time and the biggest, brightest moon of the year. While the festival dates back centuries from the tradition of worshiping the Goddess of the Moon and celebrating the harvest, the modern-day version is more about reuniting with family and close friends to view the moon, drink tea, and nosh on delicious mooncakes by the light of lanterns.

Ever since I first learned about the festival from a group of wonderful Chinese exchange students I had in a class years ago, I've longed to travel to China during September (along with it being one of the most important festivals, it's also one of the most beautiful). As much as I would just love to pick up and head over to China to celebrate, it's just not in the cards at the moment (I will get there one day though!). In the meantime, I'm all about finding alternatives that don't involve crossing an ocean, so of course, I was thrilled when the good folks at the Peninsula Hotel invited me to join them for a media preview of their six-course Mid-Autumn Festival dinner at their fine-dining Chinese restaurant Shanghai Terrace.

You may recall that I stopped by the Peninsula over the summer to indulge in their amazing Bastille Day menu. Seeing as that meal was one of the best of the entire summer (and a few of the dishes are even on my overall top picks of the entire year!), you can bet that I had extremely high expectations for the meal. I'm happy to say that Shanghai Terrace met all of my expectations and then some - the space was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and through everything from the intimate setting to the delectable mooncakes, it really felt like they had captured the essence of the Mid-Autumn Festival.

Descending the staircase to the restaurant - how gorgeous is the lobby?!

Every corner is filled with beautiful teapots and other art objects - I could have spent hours exploring all of the lovely finds!

We kicked off the evening on The Terrace (open from May-September), which offers a relaxing city-meets-lush-garden-oasis vibe.

As the sun set, we made our way back inside for champagne and our six-course authentic dim sum feast!

First course: Shanghai Terrace trio with Wagyu Beef, Crispy Crab Wonton, Truffle Chicken Siew Mai

Second course: Peking Duck Roll with cucumber, scallion, and hoisin sauce

 Second course vegetarian option: Crispy Tofu with garlic, green beans, onions, and jalapeno

Strawberry Fields: Absolut citron, chambord, lemons, strawberries, and Sprite

Third course: Abalone Seafood Soup with shrimp, scallop, bamboo mushroom, and spring onion

Fourth course (and my favorite of the savory dishes!): Steamed Tiger Prawn with garlic sauce, seasonal vegetables, and coriander soy

 Look at all of that garlic awesomeness!

Green Tea Mojito

Fifth course: Chinese-Style Beef Tenderloin with bell peppers, onions, and Chinese barbecue sauce

Fifth course pescatarian option: Chili Prawns with asparagus, wasabi, and sweet chili

Before our final course, we were treated to a mooncake-making demonstration by Chef Elmo Han. Originally created by Dim Sum Ambassador Chef Yip during his 26-year tenure at The Peninsula Hong Kong’s Spring Moon restaurant, these special Peninsula mooncakes are made of a light egg custard and flaky pastry morsels (traditional mooncakes are made from a heavy lotus paste and duck egg yolk). As we learned during the demo, each individual cake is handmade and is reminiscent of a shortbread cookie filled with egg custard (in other words, holy deliciousness!).

Sixth course: Homemade Mooncake and Red Bean Pudding

I triple heart love sweet red bean desserts, so you know that I completely demolished this delicious pudding! 

The best mooncake I've ever had!

The Mid-Autumn Festival package, Chicago-style, which includes authentic mooncakes, a dim-sum inspired menu, "AfterMoon Tea" in the Lobby, and a festival-themed "Moon" cocktail is available through September 27 at the Peninsula Hotel. 

1 comment

  1. Such a gorgeous meal! I haven't been to Shanghai Terrace in ages--I must get back soon!


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