HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
What are you cooking today? Share your food adventure
TELL US

How do you like your moon cakes?

chowser Sep 23, 2010 09:41 AM

Since it's the season... I'm a traditionalist, red bean fan and that's what I'll always buy. I put up with the egg yolks but don't love them. Recently, we were given one w/ nuts and some dried fruit which I don't care for at all. I've only eaten them as is. Does anyone do anything creative with them? I prefer the flaky crust but haven't found any as good as home (mom made). Actually, I love the paste by itself with a spoon, too. What's your favorite filling? Way to eat them?

  1. ipsedixit Sep 23, 2010 09:51 AM

    If I have to have mooncakes, it's either going to be red beans or dates with walnuts.

    No egg yolk.

    Brew a pot a strong Chinese black tea. Cut up the mooncakes into small triangular slivers.

    Sip some of the black tea, then take a nibble of mooncake. Repeat once. Stop and move on with the rest of your life.

    (We also make the flaky crust kind at home, with mung beans -- 綠豆椪).

    1. t
      taiwanesesmalleats Sep 23, 2010 10:45 AM

      If it's the common ones you see in store, my favorite filling is lotus seed paste, lian rong with no egg yolks.

      If I had a choice though, I like what ipse described, 綠豆椪

      1. K K Sep 23, 2010 12:48 PM

        Usually a whole lotus seed paste (I abhore salty egg yolks in the mooncakes) is enough for me for a whole year. I wouldn't go out of my way to buy the tins from the supermarkets, but if I got them as gifts I'll eat em. Ditto even if made in house by a local Chinese/Cantonese bakery.

        Wing Wah 榮華 is a very famous brand out of HK that spans over 50+ years, unfortunately by the time the imported mooncakes arrive in tins the flavor isn't quite the same. Recently I enjoyed a mooncake from Maxim's 美心 a lot more than Wing Wah.

        Taiwanese mooncakes are completely badass, and are closer to the kind ipse described. A much lighter bite (and a mess to eat), multi flakey layer, like a puff pastry. All sorts of different fillings.

        The ones with interesting ingredients, I may try them one of these years..... oolong tea, green tea, Chinese ham or other savory bits.

        6 Replies
        1. re: K K
          mamachef Sep 23, 2010 01:45 PM

          Red bean paste for me, or date. The egg filling just kinda grosses me out. I like the way Ipse thinks, for sure. "repeat, and get on with the rest of your life." well, what if the rest of my life consists of me wanting to eat mooncake all the time? : )

          1. re: mamachef
            ipsedixit Sep 23, 2010 03:45 PM

            "well, what if the rest of my life consists of me wanting to eat mooncake all the time?"
            ______________________________________

            Then, may you live long and prosper ...

          2. re: K K
            Chemicalkinetics Sep 23, 2010 05:17 PM

            KK,

            I agree with you on that "Wing Wah 榮華 is a very famous brand out of HK that spans over 50+ years, unfortunately by the time the imported mooncakes arrive in tins the flavor isn't quite the same."

            I had always bought 榮華 and 奇華. However, all the shipping and waiting make them less desirable. I first tasted freshly made mooncakes at SF Chinatown from Golden Gate 金門餅家, and they were awesome. They made mooncakes everyday, and I would buy mooncakes from them whenever I went to Chinatown, which was like every month if not more often. Yes, I was a mooncake monster. I ate mooncake all year long. Consider that I ate about one mooncakes per week during non-moon festival and about 4 mooncakes around the moon festival time, I think I ate more mooncakes than most here.

            http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2255/2...

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              k
              klyeoh Sep 24, 2010 04:31 AM

              Oh my, mooncakes the whole year round?! We only get them during the Mid-Autumn Festival here in Singapore. And the hundreds of mooncake stalls all over the city disappeared overnight after the 15th day of the 8th Chinese lunar month (last Wed, 22 Sep)

              Some photos here:
              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7344...

              My fave mooncake: pure white lotus paste, with yolk.
              Most unusual one I had this year: Snowskin mooncake from Raffles Hotel, with custard fillng. In place of a yolk, there was a hollow chocolate sphere filled with popping candy! It was great :-)

              1. re: klyeoh
                Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 06:08 AM

                Not anymore. Here I cannot find a bakery which does mooncake all year around. If you think about it, one mooncake a week is not that unreasonable. It is like a little slice per day. Thanks for the photos. Yeah, I like white lotus paste with yolk. Actually, I like many kinds, but that is certain a standard goto for me.

            2. re: K K
              chowser Sep 24, 2010 04:23 AM

              I far prefer the Taiwanese flaky ones but they're hard to find, especially with good flaky pastry. I also don't like the overly sweet fillings, either, especially for the red bean paste. I should probably just learn to make my own. My mom tried doing it with phyllo dough once but we all protested.

            3. sushi_guru Sep 23, 2010 03:49 PM

              microwaved =)

              1. Chemicalkinetics Sep 23, 2010 05:11 PM

                My two most favorite types are:
                1) Egg yolks with lotus seed paste mooncakes and
                2) Five nuts mooncakes preferably with meats in it.

                1. n
                  NicoleFriedman Sep 24, 2010 06:15 AM

                  I may be in the minority but I'm not a big fan of moon cakes in general. I received one as a gift yesterday and just couldn't eat it. For myself, I think it's the texture of the filling (grainy/mushy) and that I'm not too fond of sweetened beans. However, I must say that I've always found them very visually appealing and wouldn't mind another gift of moon cakes, if only to look at them:}

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: NicoleFriedman
                    Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 06:18 AM

                    There are the savory (salty) one with meats. Maybe you will like those?

                  2. JungMann Sep 24, 2010 07:03 AM

                    I don't think I've ever had the flaky crust kind. Is it similar to the crust for hopia? As far as what's available to me in NYC, I could subsist on the chewy crusts filled with lotus seed paste.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: JungMann
                      chowser Sep 24, 2010 08:43 AM

                      I don't think, technically, that the flakey crust ones are moon cakes Here's a picture of one:

                      http://www.mightysweet.com/mesohungry...

                      These are available year round at bakeries and do not have egg yolks. I think the real moon cake crust pales in comparison.

                      1. re: chowser
                        Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 09:09 AM

                        Ok, I have no idea which one Jung Mann is refering to, but the one you (chower) refering to is absolutely and definitely not a mooncake. I have seen the egg yolk version. In fact, it is just one big egg yolk in it.

                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                          chowser Sep 24, 2010 09:18 AM

                          Was there filling with the yolk, or just the yolk? I don't think I've seen one but rarely buy the flaky ones so could have not noticed. Would the one w/ the yolk be a moon cake? Oh, this is getting as complicated as the fried rice question. If the cake doesn't have the yolk, it's not technically a moon cake, is it? And, as jester said below about the pineapple filling one (gotta laugh at the ghetto Taiwanese description)--they're the same crust as a moon cake but not really a moon cake either, especially because the shapes can be so different.

                          1. re: chowser
                            Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 09:37 AM

                            Chowser,

                            Yeah, you are right. Some people may consider it as a mooncake. All I can say is that I don't. Its Chinese name is: 蛋黃酥. Its name does not try to be mooncake anyway. They are really tasty and you can buy them every day of the year. Some of these 蛋黃酥 have so much egg yolk that you barely can taste the filling. Here are two pictures:

                            http://400.tw.tranews.com/Show/images/News/57490_1.jpg

                            http://www.chengfong2005.com.tw/cookpic/%E7%B4%85%E9%BA%B4%E8%9B%8B%E9%BB%83%E9%85%A5.jpg

                            I don't think a mooncake has to have an egg yolk to be a mooncake, but I definitely has a narrower definition of what a mooncake is. I can be stubborn. For example, I don't consider many things on this webpage as mooncakes:

                            http://www.chengfong2005.com.tw/livec...

                            On the other hand, I am not stopping people to call what they want to call. It is just that in my head, I won't eat those to celebrate the moon festival.

                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              ipsedixit Sep 24, 2010 09:59 AM

                              If you want to be traditional about it, I believe that a mooncake should have an egg yolk -- and not just any egg yolk, but a salted duck yolk.

                              According to legend, if not history, during the Yuan Dynasty when the former leaders of the prior Sung Dynasty were trying to overthrow the Mongols (who had invaded dynastic china), they passed along plans using pastries. The plans were baked into the pastries, and because the Mongols were supposed to be barbarians, they would not eat these treats.

                              Because it was a covert operation, these cakes were eaten at night, and the hidden plans read during the Autumn equinox when the full moon was largest and, of course, brightest. Hence, the name "mooncakes".

                              So, historically, the yolks represent these plans of the rebels. Mooncakes, if you will, are sort of like the Chinese version of the Trojan Horse.

                              Personally, I don't care what a mooncake is *supposed* to be (yolk or no yolk, flaky crust or not, sweet or savory filling or both, etc.) -- I just know that everytime I see one I get the sudden urge to do some skeet shooting or play some street hockey.

                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                chowser Sep 24, 2010 10:23 AM

                                I learn so much here. I thought it was about planting and praying for a good crop.

                                LOL, I take it you don't like moon cakes? I like the flakey ones w/ red bean paste. The others I eat more out of obligation, something about bringing good luck to the family, so I also have the yolk. The yolk that costs about $4 each because each yolk seems to add about that much to the cost of the moon cake.

                                1. re: chowser
                                  ipsedixit Sep 24, 2010 10:34 AM

                                  "LOL, I take it you don't like moon cakes?"
                                  _____________________________________

                                  I've expressed my love, or lack thereof, for mooncakes on several occasions ...

                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7342...

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    chowser Sep 24, 2010 11:23 AM

                                    Oh, now that you mention it, were you the one who started the thread on Home Cooking a long time ago on what to do w/ too many moon cakes? They are a little like the ubiquitous fruit cake but I like the red bean ones. Not nearly as much as the flaky pastry one, though. I think Ferraro Rocher are along the same idea--things I've never seen the older generation eat but they pass them around.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      ipsedixit Sep 24, 2010 11:31 AM

                                      Yup that was me.

                                      Re: Ferraro Rocher. I think those things were actually popular (and consumed on a regular basis) until Price Club/Costco started carrying them ...

                                  2. re: chowser
                                    Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 10:38 AM

                                    chower,

                                    Both legends are true. There are some evidence that mooncakes may have existed before the Mongol conquest, thus, its origin may not necessary has to do with revolution. I don't know. I just want to ride a Mongolian pony when I hear the word Mongol.

                                  3. re: ipsedixit
                                    Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 10:34 AM

                                    "I just know that everytime I see one I get the sudden urge to do some skeet shooting or play some street hockey"

                                    What?

                                  4. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                    chowser Sep 24, 2010 10:20 AM

                                    Those pictures of "mooncakes" look amazing. I've never seen the gelatin ones but wow, how beautiful.

                                    1. re: chowser
                                      Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 10:35 AM

                                      Yes, they look beautiful. However, I am not going to call them mooncakes in my head. I understand Miss America and Miss China are very attractive. I am just not going to call them my wives.

                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        chowser Sep 24, 2010 11:23 AM

                                        :-)

                                2. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                  JungMann Sep 24, 2010 10:19 AM

                                  The mooncakes I'm referring to look like this: http://www.manaliandterry.com/wp-cont.... They have a thin, tender crust which doesn't really flake. What chowser posted is what I would call "hopia."

                                3. re: chowser
                                  ipsedixit Sep 24, 2010 10:10 AM

                                  "I don't think, technically, that the flakey crust ones are moon cakes Here's a picture of one:

                                  http://www.mightysweet.com/mesohungry...

                                  These are available year round at bakeries and do not have egg yolks. I think the real moon cake crust pales in comparison."
                                  _______________________________________________

                                  Those are Ningbo-style mooncakes.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit
                                    chowser Sep 24, 2010 10:19 AM

                                    We didn't call them moon cakes. Translated red bean cookies (ahng dow-ah biangh), or at least that's why my mom called them. I think I put them all these pastries together because they're somewhat similar.

                              2. e
                                Erika L Sep 24, 2010 07:46 AM

                                Lotus seed or red bean, no yolk. There weren't a lot of choices when I was a kid so I got attached to these and haven't been able to develop a taste for other types.

                                I once went to an early fall potluck with the theme, bring what your grandmother made. I sort of cheated and brought moon cakes, in part because my grandmother didn't cook and also because I thought it would make an interesting addition. They're definitely an acquired taste--everyone tried a wedge but I could tell would not be running to a Chinese bakery to get their own stash!

                                (Other potluck offerings: lentil soup, pea salad, radish salad, piroshkys.)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Erika L
                                  Chemicalkinetics Sep 24, 2010 08:05 AM

                                  That is because you didn't give them the one with yolk. Most here at my work (non Asian) love to eat the mooncakes I bought in.

                                2. n
                                  nooyawka Sep 24, 2010 08:24 AM

                                  I love the traditional red/brown lotus seed paste with 2 egg yolks. Wing Wah or Maxim. No variations for me, thank you.

                                  1. j
                                    jester99 Sep 24, 2010 08:30 AM

                                    Loutus paste and depending on the brand, with the egg yolks. sometimes the egg yolks is like really, really dry which i think just destroys the rest of the cake.

                                    I have had mooncake with pineapple filling so its like a ghetto Taiwanese pineapple cake and I do enjoy those.

                                    1. limster Sep 24, 2010 12:26 PM

                                      Lotus paste with 2 yolks or the flaky Teochew style ones with taro paste and 2 yolks.

                                      Show Hidden Posts