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Tried & Tested: The best mooncakes for Mid-Autumn festival

Samantha Chiew
Samantha Chiew • 8 min read
Tried & Tested: The best mooncakes for Mid-Autumn festival
Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival with a smorgasbord of tasty traditional and modern mooncakes worthy of your waistlines
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The Mid-Autumn Festival originated in China over 3,000 years ago, derived from the custom of worshipping the moon annually. But it was only in the 1200s that the Chinese started to eat mooncakes during this festive period. There are several stories of how the mooncake came into existence. Some say that the mooncakes contained secret messages which facilitated the overthrow of the Mongol rule, while others believe that eating mooncakes would give one special powers, preventing one from contracting a deadly plague that was spreading during those times.

Whatever the truth may be, we are glad for the arrival of mooncakes as tasty treats to indulge in at this time of year. With so many flavours out there, Options has taken the liberty to taste-test and shortlist the delicacies that are worth your calories. Here are our favourites.

Goodwood Park Hotel

The Mid-Autumn Festival tends to coincide with the durian harvest season, which Goodwood Park has taken advantage of by offering its Premium Duo: Mao Shan Wang and Black Thorn Durian snowskin mooncakes (from $70 for two pieces). Back by popular demand, the Mao Shan Wang Durian is dressed in a luxurious white snowskin that offers lovely bittersweet notes, while the Black Thorn Durian is clad in a distinguished black snowskin and features intense and bitter flavours. For something with a more refreshing note, try Goodwood Park’s new mooncake flavour this year — Tropicana (from $42 for two pieces). This snowskin mooncake draws inspiration from tropical fruits and features an alluring combination of coconut, pineapple and passion fruit purée studded with dulcet morsels of pineapple cubes and coconut flakes. The sweet and tangy filling is then enveloped within an eye-catching variegated snowskin of orange and white.

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Bee Cheng Hiang

Who says bak kwa can only be enjoyed during Chinese New Year? Everyone’s favourite bak kwa brand Bee Cheng Hiang has this year brought back their bak kwa mooncakes, while introducing a decadent limited edition flavour. The Signature Bakkwa Mooncake ($80 for four pieces) is back! Chock-full with melon seeds, nuts, orange skin peels, and bits of Gourmet Bakkwa, this mooncake is a great blend of sweet and savoury flavours. With added pork floss is the Signature Bakkwa Floss Mooncake ($82 for four pieces), a new addition to Bee Cheng Hiang’s mooncake range. The crème de la crème this season is the limited edition Applewood Iberico Mooncake ($128 for four pieces). This decadent mooncake features a blend of walnuts, cashew nuts, almonds, melon seeds and sesame seeds on a bed of premium lotus paste. To top it all off, Bee Cheng Hiang has added bits of its most distinguished Applewood Marbled Iberico Bakkwa, which has been charcoal-grilled to perfection. Taking premium gifting to the next level, the charcoal-baked skin is topped with gold dust.

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The Marmalade Pantry

Celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in style with The Marmalade Pantry’s alluring collection of baked mooncakes. Crafted with a low-sugar and no-lard recipe, the exclusive mooncake collection embodies a marriage of modernity and tradition in four distinctive flavours. The mooncakes are available in four gift sets, each encased in a limited edition bag that features a sophisticated and modern take on traditional elements of Asian design. The bags come in two sizes and can be repurposed for other occasions. Some of the new flavours this year include the Pandan Kaya with Melon Seeds and the Classic Earl Grey Infused Lotus Paste. Don’t forget the signatures too: Baked Charcoal with Black Sesame and Macadamia Nuts and the traditional flavour of Double Yolk with White Lotus Paste. These mooncakes are available in four gift sets starting from $72+. Each gift set comes with the limited edition bag to house the mooncakes.

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Old Seng Choong

Helmed by renowned local pastry chef Daniel Tay, Old Seng Choong is known for its imaginative yet outstanding creations; this Mid-Autumn line-up is no exception. Level up your mooncake game with Old Seng Choong’s new inventive flavours this season, such as the Black Truffle Red Lotus Paste with Bakkwa, Bird Nest Pandan Gula Melaka, and the Hae Bee Hiam Red Lotus Paste. Made using only the best ingredients without preservatives and artificial ingredients, this year’s aromatic baked mini mooncakes boast Old Seng Choong’s signature thin golden-brown pastry and generous filling of pure, unbleached lotus paste that is low in sugar. The festive treats are also given a resting period of five to seven days in order to allow the mooncakes to soften and develop a pleasant, shiny façade. From $68.80 for a box of eight mooncakes, choose between two boxes — teal or magenta — to house the mooncakes. Or top up $10 for a limited edition luxe version of packaging, “The Black Edition”, that also comes with customised engraving.

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The Peninsula

The Peninsula’s Chinese Culinary Advisor, chef Tang Chi Keung, has been creating his own legendary versions of mooncakes for the past 30 years. The acclaimed Michelin-starred chef’s mooncake line-up are sought after and quickly sold out every year. Making a return this year is the best-selling Mini Egg Custard Mooncakes ($83 for a box of eight). This signature flavour was created in 1986 using only the most premium ingredients. But don’t forget to try out the newly launched flavours that showcases chef Tang’s culinary creativity and skills, namely the Walnut and Fig Flavoured Custard Mooncake and the Red and South Date Lotus Seed Paste. These are available in the Star Chef Mooncake Gift Box ($118 for a box of eight). Another new offering is the Constellation Mooncake Gift Box ($120 for a box of eight), a medley of mooncake flavours featuring the classic White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Double Yolks, Tie Guan Yin Flavoured Egg Custard Mooncake, Breakfast Tea Flavoured Egg Custard Mooncake, and Golden Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Yolk.

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Royal Durian

One thing we all love about durian season is also the durian pastries and treats. Mooncakes are no exception, especially with Singapore’s only five star-rated durian store Royal Durian. This Mid-Autumn and durian season, indulge in the 100% Pure Mao Shan Wang Durian Snowskin Mooncake ($118 for a box of eight). Each set of mooncakes come in a keepsake box fitted with lights, a design that is inspired by the constellations. Symbolising that the mooncakes are “out of this world”, each snowskin mooncake is made with 100% pure Mao Shan Wang durian flesh sourced from Pahang, Malaysia. Open the box and expect a plume of dry-ice smoke for a jaw-dropping, Instagram-worthy presentation. Due to its laborious production process, these mooncakes are available in limited quantities, so grab them fast!

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Marina Bay Sands

Led by executive pastry chef Antonio Benites, the integrated resort’s pastry team celebrates the time-honoured artistry of traditional mooncakes through three delicate flavours, thoughtfully crafted using all-natural, premium ingredients. Each mooncake set ($88 nett) consists of two elegant tea-infuser tumblers filled with eight mini baked mooncakes and two tins of TWG Imperial Pu-Erh tea leaves. Marrying traditional Cantonese-style baking techniques with wellness ingredients such as manuka honey, nutrient-rich seeds, and house-made low-sugar paste, Chef Antonio and his team of 30 pastry chefs present three luscious mooncake flavours — low sugar lotus paste with melon seeds; premium pandan with melon seeds; yam and lotus paste with salted egg yolk — baked in small batches daily to ensure maximum freshness and quality. All three mooncakes are encased in a Cantonese-style dough which incorporates Hong Kong flour and grapeseed oil, elevated with manuka honey for a well-balanced taste and texture.

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Janice Wong

For this year’s Mid-Autumn festivities, dessert doyenne Janice Wong is bringing back its signature drip painted Chocolate Mooncakes ($98 for a box of eight), with a delectable range of new and familiar flavours. Set on a base of chocolate sponge and featuring a spin on classics are flavours like Coffee & Chocolate with lashings of kopi ganache, Caramelised Sea Salt Pecan Dark Chocolate, and Peanut Butter Snickers with peanut butter paste and salted caramel ganache. For the non-conformist, the Coconut Vanilla Biscoff, with its crunchy Biscoff crumble with hints of caramel and vanilla ganache, will hit the spot. As an exclusive collaboration for the 2021 Mid-Autumn Festival, Janice Wong Singapore has teamed up with fellow homegrown nuts and snacks company Tai Sun. Featuring their well-loved Nature’s Wonders premium range of dried fruits and nuts, these innovative creations are part of Tai Sun’s 55th anniversary celebrations that aims to promote the support and demand for local businesses. The four delicious flavours are the tangy-sweet Yuzu Cranberry, earthy Mung Bean Pecan Pistachio, fragrant Coconut Pecan Baked Almond, and buttery, aromatic Gula Melaka Macadamia.

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MAIN PHOTO: Goodwood Park Hotel

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