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Sep 1, 2013 07:45 PM

Mooncake Festival 2013

It's the countdown to the Mid-Autumn Festival (also popularly called the 'Mooncake Festival') on 17th Sep 2013.

Celebrated throughout the world by Chinese (and Vietnamese) communities, different types of mooncakes will be bought and sold, given and received as gifts.

In recent years, keen competition for this multi-million dollar business has seen the invention of mooncakes of new and unusual flavours: so it's no longer just red bean or lotus seed paste used, but chocolate ganache, butter cream, marzipan, etc. are introduced.

Even mooncake gift-boxes are elaborately designed these days, to attract shoppers. The most interesting one I got this year was InterContinental Hotel Kuala Lumpur's Louis Vuitton-inspired mooncake carrier bag!

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  1. I want! klyeoh, can you please get me a couple of those 'bags' when you're back in Singapore this weekend? I want lotus seeds baked mooncakes with double yolks. See you this weekend :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: M_Gomez

      No problem, M-Gomez. It comes in red or cream colour though. I'll get one of each for you.

    2. We just returned from Hong Kong and were surprised to see the lengths people would go to to get just the right moon cakes. Colleagues at the conference we attended were travelling all over Hong Kong to get moon cakes to take home. They were selling them at the airport too. Then some people we talked to - mostly those in their twenties thought they were nasty. We brought some home to add to our Jewish New Year celebration. Sweet and Chinese, what could be bad?

      1 Reply
      1. re: mrsphud

        mrsphud - do check the contents/ingredients of your mooncakes: most times, they are not kosher.

        In HK and Singapore, we can also get vegetarian versions, whilst in Malaysia, they'd produced 'halal' versions.

      2. Scenes around Singapore as we approach the culmination of this year's Mid-Autumn Festival on Thursday, 19 Sep.

        4 Replies
        1. re: klyeoh

          Thanks for getting for me those mooncakes from KL, klyeoh. My family loved the carrier "bag"!

          1. re: M_Gomez

            Pleasure's mine, Martha. Gotta grab some butt mooncakes before they run out ;-)

          2. re: klyeoh

            I really need to visit spore during 中秋

            btw may I ask. I wanted to plan a trip to spore during next year's 中秋節 to taste mooncakes and enjoy local cuisine and festivities.

            I'm very accustomed to the cantonese kind, so i'll be looking for unique and non-traditional (non-cantonese) types. However, from what I'm seeing online, it seems like most of the hotels and chain stores only sell them in box sets.. non individual.. I also hope to visit malaysia.. but it seems like I'd need a whole separate trip for that.

            What would be the best way to accomplish this? Thank You.

            1. re: blimpbinge

              You can buy the mooncakes individually (instead of in boxes of four), and they'll pack them in bags for you.

              Well, mooncakes are sold throughout the Chinese 7th and 8th lunar months these days (some outlets even started selling them during the 6th lunar month!), so you can pop over to Malaysia if you want to try some non-Cantonese ones.

          3. So, this year's Mid-Autumn Festival has come & gone. Just sharing the family dinner dishes we had last night:
            - Stir-fried clams with preserved soybeans, ginger, red chillis and scallions.
            - Fujianese-style 5-spiced meat rolls wrapped in beansheets.
            - Penang-style "belachan" (shrimp paste)-flavoured crisp-fried chicken wings.
            - Fried turnips with cuttlefish and crab-meat, served with Chinese lettuce wraps.
            - Nyonya-style fish "assam pedas" with okra (chilli-and tamarind-flavoured gravy).
            - Nyonya-style assam (tamarind-marinated) prawns.

            7 Replies
            1. re: klyeoh

              looks great particularly that ngor hiang and the turnips

              1. re: Lau

                How was yours, Lau? We had the kids parade around with lanterns after dinner. Seemed like only yesterday when I was the one holding a lantern as a kid - how time flies :-)

                1. re: klyeoh

                  well didnt do anything family related (although i was at home for a wedding), but i did end up finding a mooncake specialist bakery close to my house in CA, which turned out to be pretty good (far better than anything in NY). It's chinese-vietnamese bakery really catering the vietnamese community and really pretty much just dedicated to mooncakes, which was cool


                  1. re: Lau

                    Ah, the Vietnamese are very good in producing Cantonese-style mooncakes - after all, Tet Trung Thu is their second largest festival after the Vietnamese Lunar New Year (Tet Nguyen Dan).

                    The Cantonese still make *the* definitive mooncake - I notice only this type of mooncake is commercially viable even in Beijing or Shanghai when I was there during past mooncake festivals.

                    In Singapore, my Shanghainese aunt still buys the flaky-skinned Shanghainese mooncakes (sized and shaped like te standard Cantonese ones these days) purely for the novelty. Ditto my Hainanese friends who seeked out the discus-shaped and -sized traditional Hainanese mooncakes studded with candied wintermelon and molasses which even they admitted was 'yuks' compared to Cantonese ones.

                    The Teochew branch of my family will also make sure we have some "modern" Teochew ones - flaky skin like the Shanghainese ones, but filled with mashed purple Asian yam and duck's egg yolk then deep-fried. I suspect that it's a fairly recent (i.e. 20 years old) creation since, in my childhood, traditional Teochew "mooncakes" are quite similar to the Hainanese ones, though we also have red bean or mung bean fillings.

                    1. re: klyeoh

                      yah i found absolutely zero difference between these and traditional cantonese style mooncakes. And like you i much prefer the cantonese style mooncake to the flaky one. I'm finding more and more to get alot of chinese stuff in orange county, i don't bother going to the chinese areas anymore, i go to little saigon where im able to find much better quality stuff usually run by chinese-viet people or stuff like mooncakes which is mutually shared tradition

                      as a side note the taro filling they had in their snowskin mooncake was awesome, they unfortunately had run out of taro for their regular mooncakes (reading reviews i believe its their most popular). it was the first time in a while that ive liked a snowskin mooncake, actually quite good. ill put a link up to it once ive written a review for this place

                      1. re: Lau

                        were you able to try snowskin durian mooncake?

                        1. re: blimpbinge

                          no i only tried the snowskin taro, i kind of OD'd on mooncakes after my first trip and while i was originally planning on going back i decided not to. they sell them all year round though and ill probably go back to try more next time im home