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Best Moon Cakes in GTA ? It's that time of year again...

Hi CHers,

I would like to call upon you all for some assistance in locating the most awe-inspiring moon cake in the GTA. Does anyone have any all-time favourites, or some secret finds? I try to minimize my consumption of these tasty treats, for fear of the ever expanding waistline, but I do try to have at least one each year (so I want to know which ones are worth noshing on). The rest are for family and friends.

I would also like suggestions on ‘modern’ takes on the traditional treat, such as green tea fillings (of which I have never tried), etc. Please also provide prices if you can.

TIA

Cheers and Happy Eating!

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  1. My (Chinese) wife swears by Kim Moon Bakery on Dundas St. W. I'll ask her for prices tonight, and get back to you.

    6 Replies
    1. re: KevinB

      Thanks KevinB. Haven't had one of those in ages. Good to hear they are still good.

      1. re: KevinB

        I second the Kim Moon suggestion - as I've mentioned before in other threads, they're an institution not to be messed with. If you don't want to buy them by the box full, you can get them individually. We might head that way this weekend so we'll also check out the pricing.

        As far as I remember though Kim Moon keeps to the traditional style of moon cakes, and they make them year round!

        1. re: KevinB

          I agree - munching on one right now actually! White lotus paste with two egg yolks is my favourite. A box of those will cost you $27, but there are many other varieties, all of which are less expensive.

          1. re: KevinB

            Hey KevinB, just wanted to say thanks for the Kim Moon rec: I'm new to Toronto, but finding this place was like finding PARADISE! We got 4 cakes for just $25.00 even: lotus with three yolk, white lotus with two yolk, red bean with 1 yolk, and green bean with 1 yolk. Absolutely fantastic!

            1. re: suzday

              Oh and i should report also that if you go right now, you are promised to have VERY fresh cakes because I couldn't believe the rate they were churning them out at: I was only in the bakery for maybe 10 minutes, and a worker came three times with fresh trays to replenish the display cases!

              1. re: suzday

                Ha! Four different flavours in one box? That would be like a disaster for me: I wouldn't be able to resist the urge the eat them all to myself in one day.

            2. Yeah, I've been trying to locate two of my childhood favourites in Ontario but no such luck yet:
              - Red bean paste with watermelon seeds.
              - Durian paste.
              The ones I've found so far are close but they include a whole bunch of other extras in there like eggs that I'm not particularly fond of.

              1. Are you looking for moon-cake made in TO only? If so, I don't know of any. But if you are looking for imports, my all time favorite is "May Sum" mooncake. The yolks are heartier (it looks greasier) than other import mooncakes.

                My dad is coming over from HK next week and wants to bring me a box of mooncake. Does anyone know if mooncake is allowed at custom?

                2 Replies
                1. re: VitaSoy

                  In English, "May Sum" is Maxim.

                  As long as he's not bringing the cakes with ham in it, (e.g. 金華火腿月) it should be OK.

                  1. re: Teep

                    Thanks for the English name, Teep. And thanks for the advice on bringing in mooncake through custom.

                2. Kim Moon was my family's favorite.

                  Nowadays, we buy from Dragon Dynasty Restaurant. They don't have all the fancy varieties that are available (like at T&T), but I do like the mini ones they have. I've tried the fancy ones with green tea, nuts, etc, but personally prefer the plain ones, without the egg yolk (did I say that here)?? Everyone loves the egg yolks, but I just like the white lotus paste (no yolk).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: red dragon

                    I agree with you red dragon, I normally enjoy the lotus paste only. Meanwhile my husband always insists on getting the 4 yolks! that way if he cuts it into quarters, there's always a yolk in each one! I hate the fact that he'll eat the whole entire box and not put on any weight!!! However his cholesterol shoots way up as punishment for no weight gain!

                    1. re: jeannieh20

                      LOL, that's funny about the 4 yolks, never thought about that! So, there is a balance to everything huh? That's what my husband always says about life in general. I look at food and gain weight; go figure!

                      Hope you're watching your husband's moon cake intake!

                      Have a great weekend.

                  2. Thanks everyone for your suggestions.

                    22 Replies
                    1. re: BokChoi

                      Are there any suggestions as to where I can find the "snowy skin" mooncakes? I'm going to be visiting Toronto from New Jersey (which imo is a culinary wasteland) and I would love to try it since I can't seem to find it anywhere near here!

                      1. re: autumnlilacs

                        "Snowy skin"? To be honest, I do not think I have ever seen these types of mooncakes. Perhaps you could describe the 'snow' - Is it some sort of flaked coconut?

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          I think that is "iced skin" 冰皮月餅, which is more like a mochi than a mooncake. Dunno, T&T? I think I saw "ice cream mooncakes" there.

                          1. re: Teep

                            Interesting. Never knew they existed as a mooncake. But you are right, I have seen them as mochi before.

                            1. re: BokChoi

                              I just saw at the Warden/Steeles T&T St. Honore Snowy Mooncake: box of 8 (mini) $22.88 and box of 8 (large) $33.88. T&T also makes its own brand of "icee mooncake" (availabe in the refrigerated showcase in the bakery section, next to the large cakes) which are $1.88 each. They come in different colour dough with different fillings, but you must be able to read Chinese to know which filling it is, as it's handwritten at the bottom of the packaged mooncake on the barcode label. I bought a green tea flavoured one and a longan flavoured one. I recall they also have capaccino, turnip, and berries (if I understand the roughly written chinese correctly...)

                              1. re: mmom

                                Thanks mmom. Are they good though? Have you tried any of the flavours?

                                1. re: BokChoi

                                  Regarding Maxim's "iced skin" moon cake, it is not as rich, not as sweet and less oil as the traditional one. It is made with green bean paste. The skin is made with glutinous rice flour I believe. It is served cold. Maybe it is something for you if you prefer something not as heavy.

                                  Here is a thread on it with some pic of the iced skin mooncake :

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/441736

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    Thanks for much for the information, skylineR33. And for remembering my preferences in taste!

                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                      Hello.... mooncake fans,

                                      This year I did not buy my mooncakes from Kim Moon because they use lard. That is what I've heard.

                                      Someone who likes mooncakes recommended the following:

                                      The Hung Heung brand and Wing Wah brand which are both sold T&T which is made in hong kong. I had a few pieces which did not feel as heavy as the kim moon ones. I had bought the white lotus paste with double yolk, the tin box for 4 was $27, and I bought 2 of the 5 nuts which was $18.99 for 2 only.

                                      1. re: Chocaholic

                                        Lard is the classic ingredient. Kim Moon is considered "old school" so it is possible they still use lard. The more famous Hong Kong brands have switched away from it. (But if they use vegetable shortening it could still be chock full of trans fats.)

                                        1. re: Teep

                                          I agree with Teep, I prefer the usage of lard (real fat) as opposed to shortening (man made fat). Shortening will shorten your life - sorry for the pun. Plus I find there is more flavor in lard than shortening anyhow.... since this is a once a year treat I would more than happy to take the lard version!

                                  2. re: BokChoi

                                    I haven't had any other brand iced skin mooncake so I can't compare the T&T ones to them. I do like the lighter flavour of this variety than the traditional pastry with lotus seed paste. I tried the green tea flavoured one, cold (I think one is supposed to store these iced skin mk's in the freezer), and it didn't taste oily at all and just the right amount of sweetness for it to be an indulgence. The longan flavoured MK was, on the other hand, too sweet (I would say even sweeter than the traditional MK with lotus seed paste), so I didn't enjoy it as much. At $1.88 (reg price $2.88), however, it's a good price to sample the various flavours they come in. There are about 6 flavours last night when I went.

                                    1. re: mmom

                                      Great. You are right - at $1.88 I would be more inclined to sample different flavours as it is not too large a commitment. I will try some of them hopefully before the price changes. Now I have to figure out how to get to Kim Moon Bakery during my lunch hour....

                                      Cheers!

                                      1. re: BokChoi

                                        I tried those May Sum 冰皮月餅 with the chocolate coffee favor in chinatown, it is ok as a dessert, but as a moon cake, not that great. I went to Assi Plaza a few weeks ago and I find they got something call Green Tea Moon cake and so I bought a box. It is not May Sum but it is one of those other Hong Kong brand. It is pretty decent actually, the lotus seed paste is actually green-color and there is some hint of green tea favor in it.

                                        1. re: Xellosw2099

                                          Interesting - so it is a lotus seed paste based filling, with green tea flavouring in it, rather than a green tea filling. So this is typical when they say "green tea flavoured"? Or does it differ depending on the brand? Was it good as a mooncake?
                                          Thanks for the recommendation

                                          1. re: BokChoi

                                            Anyone know where you can purchased bird's nest mooncake?

                                            1. re: BokChoi

                                              Was dashing thru Cherry St T&T and snapped these pics of their "Snowy mooncakes" by St. Honore

                                              1. re: BokChoi

                                                Duh, it helps to attach the photos :)

                                                 
                                                 
                                                1. re: Teep

                                                  Thanks Teep. I had no idea what Snowy mooncakes were until this thread started - learn something new every day. And now I know where to find it - in the freezer section. Did you try any?

                                                  I picked up two pieces of mooncake at Kim Moon yesterday (after getting lost for 1/2 hour during my lunch break as I tried to rely on my memory - I could have SWORN the place looked bigger before. And the signage - I had to rely on reading Chinese characters to find it, for some reason, I could not find the English name. It was right next to Queen's Patisserie). Tried the white lotus last night. mmm ... brings back fond memories. Nice, rich and sweet. Hit the spot.

                                                  Also got a coconut flavoured one. Haven't tried it yet, but I'm excited to.

                                                  Single Mooncakes in a box: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                  Mooncakes out of their box: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                  Lotus Mooncake filling: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                  I love the intricacy of the mold they used and how each flavour is etched into the cake itself (along with the name of the bakery). Never paid much attention before, but from now on, I will.

                                                  Cheers and thanks for the rec everyone.

                                                  Now onto T&T...

                                                  1. re: BokChoi

                                                    I bought the White Lotus with 1 Egg Yolk and the Coconut with 1 Egg Yolk too from Kim Moon on the weekend. They have both been eaten and were yummy! I also bought a Mixed Nuts moon cake from Tung Hing. It wasn't as good. Clearly I am on a moon cake binge, which is strange because normally I don't eat that many. It's usually my Mom who buys them.

                                                    I'm going to check out the ones at T&T this week and that's it or else I'm going to be rolling, just like a full moon. I also looked at the moon cakes at Lai Wah Heen but didn't buy any. I thought 8 in a box was too much but maybe not, given my eating habits. There are also the boxes with different tea matches.

                                                    1. re: BokChoi

                                                      Sure thing BokChoi. This particular freezer was in the mooncake section just inside the entrance of the Cherry St T&T.

                                                      No I didn't try any, maybe I'll get some if they go on sale after this weekend! If you do, please tell!

                                                      Etching the name and the flavour in the molds is actually quite a common practice.

                                                      1. re: Teep

                                                        I never took time to look at them before - I guess the phototaking has forced me to actually examine the cake before gorging myself on it. I know there was always a desing on them, but I was always too hungry to actually "stop and read the letters", so to speak.

                                                        I think I too will wait for the packaged goods to go on sale before I get anymore. Kim Moon's appeared fresh, so I wanted to snap some up. It was a sunny day - so it was a good excuse to go for a jog during lunch to pre-burn off the lard I was about to consume.

                                                        Thanks for the report as well, always_eating. Tea pairings for mooncake - well I'll be! That is quite elaborate.

                                                        Cheers!

                            2. I grew up eating 榮華 white lotus one or two yolks, but now that I live alone, it's hard to finish a whole box. Eating 4 of these babies will turn me into a fatty, plus it's rather expensive to pay $38 for a box of 4. Yup, 榮華 ain't cheap, that's for sure.

                              Can anybody recommend places selling classic white lotus 1 or 2 yolk mooncakes that are comparable to 榮華? Maybe I'll give Kim Moon a try....

                              15 Replies
                              1. re: aser

                                T&T sells single Maxim and Hang Heung 美心﹐恆香mooncakes, which I convinced my dad to buy this year, instead of a whole box, which he insisted to do last year. We end up freezing most of it and just finished the last one in June this year.

                                1. re: Teep

                                  Freezing the remainder moon cakes and slowly chipping away at them throughout the year until June.. that's true chinese style right there.

                                2. re: aser

                                  Try buy them after mid-autumn fest and they are selling cheap. Kim Moon ...never close.

                                  1. re: pokerdan

                                    Oh my goodie goodness! I just came home and plopped my butt down and had 1/4 of a white lotus (no yolk) and am in HEAVEN! drool.... too bad for my a$$ and hips!! oh well I guess I'll be walking to work for the next year to work off this lard! mmmm.... now i have to watch my husband eat his 3 yolk moon cake.... :)

                                    1. re: jeannieh20

                                      jeannieh20, I just got back from T&T and noticed that they sell "low-calorie" / "low fat" mooncakes (shocking). They use Xylitol and the nutritional information states that 1/4 mooncake is 199 calories, 8g of fat (or so). Not bad, if I do say so myself. However, since I only ingest these suckers once a year, I've decided to treat myself to the full-fat versions. I've never been the type to sacrifice taste for the sake of ....health. Wonder if anyone has ever tried them...?

                                      Mooncakes are 15% off right now at T&T. Probably cheaper after the festival.

                                      Cheers!

                                      1. re: BokChoi

                                        ugh no i can't and won't do the low fat stuff, who knows what kind of chemicals end up in you body after eating it! I'll stick to my au natural moon cake with REAL fat (lard as opposed to shortening)... like you say it's only once a year I think I can deal.

                                        surprisingly it was not too expensive, we bought 2 white lotus only and 2 2 yokes - the total was only $27 for everything, and since Kim Moon is in walking distance for me this year I don't mind. the amount of money spent on gas would make up the difference for the extra 15%... and since kim moon makes them year round i don't mind the extra for now...

                                        enjoy your cakes!

                                        1. re: jeannieh20

                                          I'm with you on that one. I could not imagine ingesting anything 'man made' in terms of sweeteners or fat. But the ingredients were all natural (from what was listed, less the shortening, but that is in a lot of things nowadays so it's almost a given) - even the xylitol - a sugar substitute derived from fruits/veggies. I guess it would be good for diabetics.

                                          Now if you could only remove cholesterol from those egg yolks naturally...

                                          Cheers!

                                          1. re: BokChoi

                                            Xylitol is generally a "natural" sugar substitute; then again, glucose-fructose is made from natural ingredients, and honey is a naturally occurring form of glucose-fructose.

                                            I wouldn't worry too much about eating a few moon cakes a year; it's not going to hurt unless your diet is off-kilter anyways!

                                        2. re: BokChoi

                                          OK got around to trying a mooncake from T&T (from a friend) - "heng shawn" (phonetic translation). Not impressed. Tasted very artificial and bland compared to the Kim Moon version. Just an FYI.

                                          cheers!

                                          1. re: BokChoi

                                            We tried the Maxim one and was disappointed too, the yolks were like leather!

                                            1. re: Teep

                                              Teep, thanks for the warning.

                                              I did not even bother with the yolk on the one I was trying to eat. Once you have fresh ones, you cannot go back to the ones that were made months ago overseas. Maybe I just have not found a good one yet at T&T. I have realized that nothing beats lard.

                                              1. re: BokChoi

                                                mmm.... LARD! (in deep homer voice)

                                                I haven't even bothered to try others now that I had Kim Moon's.

                                                1. re: jeannieh20

                                                  jeannieh20, make sure you don't try their coconut mooncake with single egg. Just as an update to these earlier posts, I ate the coconut version (with other miscellaneous dried fruits inside) and I did not enjoy it at all. I ended up tossing out 3/4 of the cake as it reminded me of a Chinese version of the infamous Fruit Cake. The coconut flavour was quite apparent, but the texture was a bit 'off' for my tastes. The traditional white lotus version was much, much better.

                                                  Photo of coconut version: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                  Cheers!

                                                  1. re: BokChoi

                                                    Bumping for 2009 ... where to order in Markham/Scarborough from local bakery/restaurant?

                                                    1. re: Guzzler

                                                      I haven't tried Aromaz for a while, but they're pretty decent overall for baked goods in the Scarborough area. I wouldn't claim them to be the best, but I do enjoy them. Might be worth trying out?

                                                      Some of their other seasonal goodies:
                                                      http://www.flickr.com/photos/bokchoi-...

                                                      I'm sure others will have further suggestions. Good luck!

                                  2. I rarely buy mooncakes but want to buy some as gifts when I go to Montreal next week; so want something that is really good as per all you mooncake afficiandos.

                                    Which is better - Kim Moon or Wing Wah? Or is there something else? If I have to travel to T&T or up to Markham, I would have to buy over the weekend.

                                    11 Replies
                                    1. re: Degustation

                                      They are all about the same!! Its like comparing BMW with Mercedes?!!
                                      To impress, just pick the ones with lotus paste filling with 4 yolks!!

                                      1. re: Charles Yu

                                        Thanks, Charles. My dad would appreciate the 4 yolks more than the rest of the clan, but that might give him a heart attack if he ate them all!

                                        1. re: Degustation

                                          Bring some 'Crestor' for him as well!! Ha!

                                          1. re: Degustation

                                            I know egg yolks are supposed to be luxurious but I actually prefer the moon cake without them. Blasphemy I know.... But I think it's cause we got a moon cake with 8 yolks one time and I may have OD'd on it :)

                                            1. re: Nevy

                                              8 yolks in one cake?!! Surely, that cannot be a regular size cake? How on earth can they cramped 8 salted duck yolks in one cake unless one increases the height and width!!

                                              As for what constitute the 'best' cake? Nowadays, for health reason, I doubt one can get 'the best' commercially, which, according to real aficionados, need to use real 'lard' in the lotus paste to create the smoothness and the aroma. Also, in the past, salted egg yolks from 'free range' ducks were used! Doubt large quantities of these are readily available nowadays.
                                              Carrying a hefty price, a 'Peninsula' name plus posh packaging might not necessarily guarantee the 'best' product. At least from the 'taste' point of view!

                                              1. re: Charles Yu

                                                The 8 egg yolk moon cake was really a cake. It was probably a good 6 inch diameter filled with lotus paste, 8 egg yolks (supposedly duck yolks), and made with lard. I don't dare to think the calories. It was a gift from my dad's boss.

                                                Aren't most mooncakes for show these days? :)

                                        2. re: Degustation

                                          I tried the snowy skin moon cake with bird nest and mango filling from a Taiwan brand. It's not as good as the Hagen Daaz version from my HK trip but it's a lot better than most in Canada. I found it at T&T. If you have to travel without a cooler, I'm not sure this would work but it comes in a very nice box.

                                          T&T also carries a moon cake from Peninsula HK. It's very pricey but it carries a big reputation. My Auntie swears they are the best.

                                          1. re: Nevy

                                            I was considering the snowy skin moon cakes but as you said, I won't have cooler with me, so that's not an option. Too bad.

                                            Now I'm really curious about the Peninsula moon cakes. Thanks for the tip, Nevy.

                                            But I'll pass on the gold and jewel encrusted ones:
                                            http://www.scmp.com/news/china/articl...

                                            1. re: Degustation

                                              Oh that's too bad... they're not as heavy as the traditional mooncakes and if you love mochi textures (or ice cream for that matter), these are a nice alternative.

                                              I think of all the commercially available ones in Toronto area, Peninsula HK might have the most recognizable branding. Is it worth the $50 ++ for it? Debatable.For the same price, you could do a huge selection of T&T brands and other HK or Taiwanese brands and overwhelm your family with the options. I've seen T&T offer packaging of just 2 moon cakes so you could do a mooncake buffet!

                                              1. re: Nevy

                                                If the Peninsula mini moon cakes at T&T are the egg custard ones, I found them so-so, taste-wise, when I was recently back in HK. Definitely different (good for those who've overdosed on the traditional type), but I wouldn't buy them for myself.

                                                However, they're definitely a go-to moon cake if you want to impress someone, e.g., boss, in-laws, etc. (The Chinese man dressed head-to-toe in luxury brands standing behind me in line at Customs had eight boxes!)

                                                1. re: lsk

                                                  Oh wow, you tried the custard ones? I heard they completely sold out in days and I don't believe T&T carry those. From what I remember, they had the assorted mini mooncake (4) and the larger ones. They were the traditional filling of lotus paste and duck eggs.

                                                  Wow... 8 boxes of Peninsula, that's $400++? Crazy....

                                        3. Oh mooncake post! I was just gonna start one... good that there's one already.

                                          Anyone know if there's a taro paste one out there? I've been looking everywhere - but can't find any... I dont care if its the cold ones, just want some with taro paste! Thanks in advance!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jennjen18

                                            T&T definitely has the taro paste in the snowy skin style. From what I remember, the Mississauga location still had that flavour (They totally sold out of the durian, green tea, and mango though)