One of my favourite season is coming soon and that is the Mid Autumn Festival as you get to eat many different kinds of mooncakes. Every year you see more and more flavours introduced by the hotels and bakeries across Singapore and not forgetting foreign bakeries from Malaysia and Hong Kong bringing their mooncakes here for the local crowd. While many of these new flavours like Teh Tarik and fruits flavoured ones are very refreshing to the palate, I have my own personal favourites.
Raffles were the first to introduce snow skin mooncakes with a champagne flavoured truffle centre in the 1990s where everyone only knew about snow skin moon cakes with or without salted egg yolk. It was a gamble to try something new but this was a gamble well worth it. Many other hotels started to copy the same idea with their own versions of liqueur infused snow skin moon cakes. For me, the title of the best champagne truffle mooncakes still belongs to Raffles Hotel. The skin of the mooncakes are soft and fragrant with a clean vanilla flavour and the lotus paste is not too sweet. The star which is the champagne truffles were creamy with the right balance of champagne flavour. This is one of the reason I look forward to this festival.
You can get the mooncakes online at Raffles hotel website and all online orders will be entitled to 20% discount. Collection is until 21 September at their mooncake counter at the Raffles hotel.
While innovation is good, there are some things where tradition still wins hands down. In the case of baked mooncakes, this traditional handmade mooncakes from Tai Thong Cake Shop beats every single mooncake out there. There is another bakery from Malaysia with a similar name so do not be confused as this Tai Thong Cake Shop is located at mosque street and it is the only outlet in Singapore and they do not participate in any mooncake fair. This is one of those old school Chinese bakery selling traditional pastries used in Chinese wedding as well as other celebrations.
Founded in the 1950s, the bakery insist on using their traditional methods by hand instead of changing the bakery’s kitchen operation to machines as they believe pastries made by hands with love taste different.
They have various kinds of moon cakes available like the normal 2 yolk/4 yolk/ all nuts /red bean and even pineapple moon cakes. Compared to hotels and modern bakeries, these selections seem boring but for me this is what traditional moon cakes should be.
The skin of the moon cakes from Tai Thong is baked to chocolate brown color with a nice chinese cookie oily baked taste unlike many bland light-colored mooncakes out there. For me the skin makes the mooncake since the fillings are generally 200% sugar bombs. To make such well oiled and baked skin, you need years of experience in making Chinese pastries and this is exactly Tai Thong’s expertise.
A sad news I read from their Facebook is that they might be selling the cake shop as there is nobody in the family taking the reins. I hope they continue on so I can have my favourite mooncakes in future.
You can find out more about the cake shop and their mooncake prices here
Durians! You either love it or you don’t. Most Singaporeans are so crazy about it we try to make it into every known dessert. One of them is the mooncake. One of the first brand incorporating durian puree into their snow skin moon cakes is Goodwood Park Hotel. In a matter of 1-2 years, everywhere you go, everyone was selling durian mooncakes. My favourite one is the ones from Home Favourites.
They managed to get the proportion of the durian puree right. It is very creamy and taste almost like eating the actual fruit itself. They also have different mooncakes based on the different durian species like red prawn, mao shan wang, golden phoenix and many more. The skin that envelops the puree is soft and light which doesn’t steal the thunder from the durian puree.
You can find home favourites at all major mooncake fairs. To find out more on their offerings, you can visit their page here
Last but not least, this is a specialty mooncake that looks nothing like the others. This is a Teochew style mooncake with yam paste and salted egg yolk. Unlike the normal traditional mooncakes which are baked, these comes in flaky pastry skin which are sometimes fried or baked. In the hey days of these kind of Teochew moon cakes, the old Crown Prince hotel is the king when it comes to the best yam paste Teochew mooncakes. Peony Jade claims to have the crown prince recipe and bakery chef and after trying, although it is not 100% the same but it is good enough. The layers of skin are very crispy and has a light buttery taste. The yam paste is very smooth and taste a lot like the yam paste dessert. This mooncake is slightly sweeter then the other moon cakes so a pot of tea will go best with it.
To find out more about Peony Jade moon cakes, you can visit their website
These are my personal favourites to celebrate the mid autumn festival and I am sure everyone has their own favourites. Do not forget to pick up your moon cakes as mid autumn is about 2 weeks away.