Mooncakes!

In the spirit of the last post, I resolved to try mooncakes this year.

What is a mooncake? (quotes are from Wikipedia)

Mooncake (simplified Chinese: 月饼; traditional Chinese: 月餅; pinyin: yuè bĭng) is a Chinese bakery product traditionally eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival / Zhongqiu Festival. The festival is for lunar worship and moon watching, when mooncakes are regarded as an indispensable delicacy. Mooncakes are offered between friends or on family gatherings while celebrating the festival. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the four most important Chinese festivals.

Typical mooncakes are round or rectangular pastries, measuring about 10 cm in diameter and 4–5 cm thick. A rich thick filling usually made from red bean or lotus seed paste is surrounded by a thin (2–3 mm) crust and may contain yolks from salted duck eggs. Mooncakes are usually eaten in small wedges accompanied by Chinese tea. Today, it is customary for businessmen and families to present them to their clients or relatives as presents,[1] helping to fuel a demand for high-end mooncake styles. The caloric content of a mooncake is approximately 1,000 calories (for a cake measuring 10 centimetres (3.9 in), but energy content varies with filling and size.[2]

I first saw mooncakes during our first year here.  But I was too scared to try one.  We missed the Mid-Autumn Festival last year due to travel.  So this was our year for mooncakes.  When a good friend heard that we wanted to try them, she gifted us with some.

L-R-The bag, the box, and the side of the box which notes the flavor (White Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk) and where the Mooncakes were from.

This is what you see when you open the box.

Looking at a moon cake from above

Side view of the mooncake with the utensils they gave us to cut it into pieces.

Inside of the Mooncake, cut in half.

All four of us tried the mooncakes, but sadly the only person who liked them was Rhiannon.

I was really surprised by how sweet the mooncakes were.  It was a very strong/concentrated sweetness, but not sugary–I’m not quite sure if there is an analogous flavor that I could compare it to (that I’ve had–remember I have a limited palate).

We finished several of the mooncakes in our trying, and then gifted away the rest, as I didn’t want them to go to waste.

Ellie’s mooncake

One of Ellie’s class projects last week was to make their own “mooncakes.”  Ellie was thrilled that it was pink.  When I tasted hers, it was like a sweet taffy (no egg yolks there).

Ellie, eating her mooncake

There are two kinds of mooncakes-the baked ones, like ours at the top, and “snowskin” mooncakes.  Given our lack of enthusiasm for the more traditional flavors, I decided to pick up some double chocolate snowskin mooncakes from Polar at Great World city.

Exterior of the snowskin double chocolate mooncake

“Snowskin” refers to the fact that they are cold and must be kept in the fridge.  I was told to take them out about 20 minutes before serving them.

inside of the double chocolate mooncake

Okay, so it’s basically a giant chocolate truffle, but it allows those of us who have limited palates to participate, so it’s not all bad 🙂  They were okay, if very rich (duh, double chocolate).

If you want to see more mooncakes, go to this gallery of more than 25 different kinds (including Angry Birds shaped mooncakes).

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12 Responses to Mooncakes!

  1. Stacey says:

    Oh I forgot to post our mooncake pics! You have inspired me to blog today. 😉 Like you, I prefer the snowskin ones too. I’ve gone twice now to taste all the traditional ones but they aren’t really my thing. I don’t mind lotus or bean paste but am not a fan of the pastry on the outside or the double yolk ones. I prefer those fillings in a bao or sesame bun. Maybe it’s a texture thing.

  2. Geraldine says:

    There’s also the yam stuffed mooncake if you look around 🙂 Oh yes, champagne truffle mooncakes from Raffles Hotel are da best!

  3. Dawn says:

    To tell the honest truth, while I appreciate many Chinese delicacies, mooncakes aren’t one of them. The taste doesn’t bother me, though I don’t particularly enjoy it – but something in them acts as an irritant to me and gives me a scratchy throat. As a result, I avoid them. Haven’t tried the chocolate ones though!

  4. Laura says:

    I clearly need to try the snowskin ones too – they sound like they’d be nicer! The more traditional ones I’ve tried were OK but they didn’t do much for me either so I’ve never bothered since.

  5. Tabea says:

    There is a place at Paragon that does chocolate peanut butter mooncakes : see http://www.shentop.net/news/read.php?id=3187

  6. prongs says:

    You’re supposed to only eat a small slice and accompany it with chinese tea to wash away the sweetness/richness/oiliness/heatiness 🙂

    • Crystal says:

      I know, but I’ve just never been a “tea” person. Even with tea, though, I don’t think it would be to my taste, but it’s a good tip for anyone who wants to give them a whirl.

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