moon cakes 2013!
sorry ispe, i know how much you dislike them hockey pucks...
so, what are ya'll gettin this year?
i purposely got some from Dong Hung Vien thanks to last year's la times article-
they have an offer of buy 4 and get 10% off. boxes are metal tins and there are no english translated labels (nor is the order list), but they have english speaking staff.
i only got the soft skin ones. durian, lotus seed and paste, mung bean, and taro. i've only had van's before and in comparison, van's are denser, bigger, and stronger in taste. so far i've eaten the durian and the lotus seed. the durian isn't that strong, something i prefer, but there's a tiny bit of a sour taste to it. oh, and the smell isn't super strong either. my lotus seed had large seeds inside, which i liked interms of crunch factor, but that "i feel so sick because too sweet" came along, although, not as fast as when i had van's. overall, i didn't think there was anything special to them. maybe i should have tried the brown skin kind?
i'm tempted to try lee's sandwiches', they only have the brown ones but have flavors like green tea and azuki (as well as typical vietnamese flavors).
i do hope to get a box of the flacky taiwan kinds from 85c. they were yummy last year but someone told me they're no longer taking order?!? their fb says til the 15th. anyone else hear/know if this is true?
otherwise, i guess i could go for godiva's. they're just chocolates. i haven't really seen any other off-beat or out there moon cakes here interms of flavors this year. how bout you?
anyways, sorry if this is a tad early...
i think i ate enough carbs to run a few marathons
i'll put what country they're originally from / local location.
85c tw style mooncake set (tw/local 85c's) - not a style i'm used to. the ones in the middle row molded really early on, and the rest were dry and lacking in flavor. I'd rather just buy them individually from bakeries if i wanted to eat them.
godiva chocolate mooncakes $50 (asia/numerous california godiva locations, call ahead) - I was very excited for this, but in the end, it was really just a mooncake shaped truffle (or similar). Not much different than their normal chocolates, then again.. i'm not a chocolate connoisseur, and can't seem to appreciate all the ingredients in the description. I'm not sure why they had to put tart fruit flavoring in every piece of "mooncake". Probably will not order the large box again, but maybe the small box.
wing wah (hk/tak shing hong) white lotus seed paste single yolk - friggin $40 for a box of "regular" mooncakes, but they are a famous brand in hk. It tasted good, skin on the side was somewhat thin, paste was very smooth. My family demolished most of the tin already, leaving only one for tonight.
kam wah (malaysia? says that on the box/168 market or most local markets) lotus seed paste single yolk - this is the brand they used to carry at costco near me. I'm not exactly sure what they carry now, but it's an assorted box, not the lotus seed paste ones that I like. at $16, it's a much better deal than the wing wah ones, but the skin is thicker and they leave some of the seeds in the paste(for texture?) the paste also isn't as smooth as wing wah.
D24 durian snowskin mooncake (singapore/san gabriel super store) $30 (or $35?) - one of the few choices of durian snowskin mooncakes in LA. In asia.. (esp hk, gz, sg, my) lots of hotels and bakeries make durian snowskin mooncake, so there's a lot of variety. So far i've only found two in LA, i'll look for more next year. They appear to use mostly real durian. Very good overall, it's kind of like eating frozen durian wrapped in mochi skin. But it needs to be kept and defrosted properly. If you don't defrost enough.. it's durian ice cream.. too long.. you'll have a melted mess of durian as the skin isn't strong enough to hold the durian filling by itself.
sunny bakery durian snowskin mooncake (san gabriel) - $24 per tin or $6 individually. Made on site, but clearly an inferior product when compared to the D24 mooncake. They use a durian paste that isn't really fragrant and is "chalky". Though because it's so chalky, it's easier to store. The employee at sunny said I can move it from the freezer to the fridge a few days before eating.
starbucks mooncake set (hk/not avail locally) - this probably tastes exactly like what you think it tastes like. mooncake meets coffee flavor. This year, the hk version is pretty tame, just "espresso and hazelnut" and "salted caramel and almond". I should have asked some friends from the mainland or malaysia to send it over, much more interesting than hk this year. I liked the espresso one a lot though, strong coffee flavor.
kee wah lotus seed paste single yolk (hk/local kee wah's) - very avg and pretty standard. I didn't get the normal sized one this year so it's hard to compare the skin n texture to the full sized ones. I still like it though, and I think the smaller one actually tastes better than the full sized ones because i can just eat it as if it were a big mooncake shaped cookie. (or cookie shaped mooncake?)
Hopefully I can go to asia next year and do my mooncake run, it sounds a bit silly but it's something I've wanted to do for awhile. They have so many companies competing there, so there are simply more types and flavors avail. If i'm not able to go, then I will sample more of the local bakeries that make it fresh.
Happy Mid Autumn Festival everyone!
What office do you work in that they're even aware that mooncakes even exist?
I sent out a friendly bilingual "中秋節快樂" e-mail to my colleagues with a link to the entry in Wikipedia, and this was one reply. And I quote:
"According to the Farmers Almanac, Fall begins on September 22 at 4:44pm. How is it possible to be in the middle of something that has not officially begun?
Also, why is it called moon cake? Does it contain parts of the moon? Or does one gaze at the moon as they consume said cake?"
At my Chinese class this evening, my professor brought in some mooncakes and tea. While they were not exactly... ahem, the most palatable of confections, it was a very kind gesture. He gave a little speech about how appreciative he was to be able to spend this time celebrating the holiday with his students, and we listened to 月亮代表我的心 on Youtube. I laowaied it up with my favorite Da Shan performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YknME_...
A great way to celebrate the holiday, in my opinion.
re: Mr Taster
Mid-Autumn Moon is Chinese sukkot, so happy holidays either way.
It's called moon cake cuz it's round, and it's eaten while gazing at the moon (now many have "round" yolks)? Didn't use to be called moon cake, but some royal hussy blurted out "moon cake" while.. "gazing at the moon".
This year is even worse than last year. In addition to the freebs at work, someone brought homemade ones. It's all date paste instead of red bean, with crust baked made from scratch. I tossed that into the garbage after one bite this morning. It wasn't even worth composting.
Mooncake ranks right up there with balut and bundaegi. Stuff is so foul. Why couldn't they have baked some apple pie instead?
throwin' this out there-
anyone who'd like a boxed set from 85c may be s.o.l. even though it's not the 15th and they haven't updated their fb, website, or taken flyers down at the stores, they are indeed sold out at the stores. basically they didn't take into account the influx of immigrants and the demand it would create.
there may be a tiny ray of hope though. the chino hills location still has spots open for the flacky crust taiwanese set. i was #78 last night and asked about their so-called "quota" that all the other locations had told me about. after me, there's 22 spots left. so if that interests you, HURRRY!!!!
*btw, i tried calling them many times before i came in last night and kept getting the machine (manager was "surprised" when i told her). no clue what would happen if you faxed your order hence.
if you wanted the brown skin cantonese set, they told me they sold out within a few days of starting pre-orders. you can still come in each day and buy individual cakes (they sell out throughout the day so if you want all, you might have to time yourself) but they cannot give you any gift box nor 10% off.
hopefully this helps. i'll definitely keep this in mind next year!
i got the godiva ones (haven't eaten yet), and will be getting the D24 durian snowskin mooncakes (sg superstore), kee wah, the brand they have at costco (my parents love it?), and will try to get the 85c box this year.
next year, i swore to myself that I would go to hk+gz, singapore+msia to eat their mooncakes.. they are amazing and cannot be found in the US..
Well at least that's what the box said, also that they are from singapore. My cantonese friends really love it so I end up buying a ton of boxes every time I get them at the san gabriel superstore. They're quite good, but make sure to defrost them correctly, otherwise you'll be biting into either frozen durian or melted snowskin/durian.