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Moon Cakes for Autumn Moon Festival

  • s

Hey there,

Just returned from Hong Kong with my hoard of moon cakes as I've done in years past, only to have them confiscated this time by customs because they contained egg yolks. Avian flu they said. While looking to replenish the supply in Chinatown, I saw a number of bakeries that seem to make their own. Has anyone tried any of them and any recommedations?

Thanks,
Sammy

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  1. Sammy, my condolences for your mooncake loss. It’s absurd for them to think that cooked salted egg yolks could possibly contain bird flue. Fact is, most cakes and cookies contain eggs in the batter – that doesn’t stop us from importing Chinese baked goods. I would have gone ballistic if they tried to pull that on me. How did they even know they contained egg yolks?

    Anyway, to answer your question: for mooncakes I like the Chinatown bakery near the big arches (Sorry, I can never remember the names). Around this time last year they had some smaller ones made in flavors different than their usual ones just for the holiday. I wonder if Boston’s transfat ban has forced them to change their recipes. (I’m guessing they were made with the now-banned Crisco or hydrogenated lard.)

    1. Honestly, I think buying the imported tins of mooncakes are just as good if not better than what they make in the bakeries. Plus you get more variety. Many of the tins are imported from HK, so you might be able to replace some of the same ones you lost.

      I find the bakeries' versions here to be somewhat blah. I'm not a huge mooncake fan - find them too heavy and just too much - so maybe I'm not the best judge. My mom much prefers the ones imported than buying from the local bakeries.

      1. My favorites are the ones from Ho Yuen Bakery. I adore the lotus seed paste with double yolks...

        1 Reply
        1. re: galleygirl

          the ones with lotus paste are my favorite too. i usually get them across the street at hing shing pastry. i'll have to try them at ho yuen bakery

        2. For a huge selection from HK, go to Foodpak Express. They had some 20 different brands right at the entrance when I was there on Friday. The link is www.foodpakexpress.com/

          Anybody knows any place that carry mooncakes made in California instead of China?

          1. By far the best Mooncakes I have had in Boston are from Yi Soon in Allston. Numerous varieties with many different and interesting fillings and quite fresh. Really delicious. Not your usual leaden mooncakes.

            1 Reply
            1. re: StriperGuy

              Mooncakes aren't supposed to be leaden?

            2. Thank you all for your suggestions. Looking on the bright side, I'll make an adventure out of this and see if I can hit the spots mentioned. May end up with the tins as kobuta suggested, but now I'm intrigued by the locally made cakes.

              1. Actually, this raises a related question: do any of the bakeries in Chinatown sell the smaller mooncakes (i.e., filipino style hopia)? The super88 on essex used to carry some by a vietnamese bakery that were very similar to filipino hopia; they were plagued by the usual problem mentioned above (leaden and oily), but they did have some filipino-type flavors, such as ube. Has anyone seen these around still elsewhere? It looks like we won't manage to get a batch of the light and tender hopia from our favorite bakery this year, so it would be nice to find a local stand-in!

                15 Replies
                1. re: another_adam

                  Not smaller, but I did see the newer C-Mart on Herald St offer a variety of different flavored moon cakes in a mini-fridge set up by their entrance. I recall taro, green tea/matcha. These were from Hong Kong. I did see Yi Soon offering smaller cakes in individually wrapped packages, with different flavors, but when I was last there the flavors only had labels in Chinese.

                  1. re: another_adam

                    i have seen hopia with the other baked goods in the prepared foods section at sure pinoy market on water street in quincy. i think they're from a filipino bakery in new jersey. this was awhile ago though

                    1. re: galangatron

                      Thanks, all-- yeah, I think I've seen the NJ ones at Sure Pinoy (I forget the name of the bakery, but I know what you're talking about-- Christina's? Cathy's? I might be totally off on that... Anyway, Kam Man also carries that same bakery. We're not big fans of their enseymada or pandesal, but haven't tried the hopia, so maybe it's their specialty or something. I was also hoping to uncover a source that was a short T-ride away, though)

                      I'll definitely check out Yi Soon! That *is* close, we love them and we're frequent regulars there--but somehow I must be looking for other things, and I never noticed the moon cakes! They might not have mung or ube, but if anyone in town carried the candied melon/pork flavor, I bet it would be them. :)

                    2. re: another_adam

                      Yi Soon has small and large ones and usually labels their many flavors.

                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        Picked up some of the small Yi Soon ones last night-- as one might expect, the flavors are definitely (trendy) Chinese: lotus seed, green tea, things with yolk. They're the chinese style wrapping (oily dense pastry, molded with a pattern)-- the lotus paste is good, but the others are too sweet for me. I'm still hoping to find the flakier tender style, in the small round hopia form, like the ones from this vietnamese bakery that the super88 on essex st used to carry. I'm not sure why they made filipino flavors, but they were pretty good!

                        1. re: another_adam

                          Huh, now you've peeked my curiosity. If you track em down please post back.

                          1. re: another_adam

                            Green tea is a trendy flavour, but lotus seed and salted duck egg yolks are traditional.

                            1. re: limster

                              Yeah, good point- I did just mean trendy w.r.t. green tea-- they have two versions, green tea w/egg and plain green tea (I'm not sure what the medium is for the green tea-- bean?). The other flavors are more usual: red bean, lotus seed, salted egg. They also have date flavor, but it seems to be, um, European (?) dates and not Chinese dates... Not bad, but very sweet!

                                1. re: limster

                                  I love the date one. They also have melon and pineapple sometimes.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    Ooh - is it wintermelon? or melon melon?
                                    (I'm secretly hoping for the pork+wintermelon combo...)

                                    1. re: StriperGuy

                                      Had a small pineapple moon cake the other day (I'm loving the small ones) and I really enjoyed it.

                          2. re: another_adam

                            So to answer my own question, in a way: we just discovered last night that the market formerly known as the Allston Super 88 actually carries a filipino brand of hopia in the refrigerator aisle, with a good selection of flavors: ube (purple yam), mongo (mung bean), pandan, "baboy" (literally, pork- but it's winter melon flavor, and this version seems to have no actual pork, much like meatless mincemeat). There's also a hopia hapon ("japanese hopia") with red bean paste. They're made with corn oil instead of lard, and they seem to have been previously frozen. (In fact, one wonders why they don't leave them frozen). We picked up a sampler of the varieties, but haven't broken into them yet...

                            1. re: another_adam

                              To continue following up on my previous reply (just to store all this info in one thread): Hong Kong market in Allston now carries not only the Eng Bee Tin hopia in the fridge case (near the prepared foods and noodles), but they also are carrying frozen packages of Ho-Land, 5 to a pack, under $2. They had just two flavors of the Ho-Land: ube, and pandan/macapuno. I like the Ho-Land better than the Eng Bee Tin- they're pretty flaky, not *too* oily (well, hopia will always be somewhat heavy/oily), and they aren't made with preservatives. The packaging is cuter, too :) I'd never had macapuno hopia before, but they're my new favorite!