Thursday, September 30, 2004

mooncake galore part 1:
cantonese mooncake

mooncakes at emperor bakery, sydney chinatown
♥ mooncakes display at emperor bakery, chinatown
mooncake is a must-eat item during the mid-autumn festival. it is a round little pastry, usually golden in colour but not necessary, with different types of chinese fillings. it can be sweet or savoury but it seems that the sweet one is usually more popular.

similar baked goods have long been enjoyed by the chinese at most Chinese celebrations before mooncake come around and become inextricably linked with the mid-autumn festival. way back then, the people did not have access to so many different vatypes of food as we do now. they were poor so their mooncakes were filled with a paste of lard and sugar. lard was cheap and easy to obtain. mooncakes only become a festive food until the Yuan dynasty.

there are many different types of mooncakes in different regions of china. i grew up with cantonese mooncakes, which are the most common and probably the more known mooncakes over the globe.

Hong Kong Tai Wing Wah Mooncake
♥ hong kong wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
this is a very typical cantonese mooncake from a very famous hong kong restaurant called "wing wah". every time i look at this mooncake, my heart is filled with joy and glow of warmth because this mooncake travels all the way from hong kong to sydney! lucky pinkcocoa *grin*

the mooncake is made in a specially designed wooden mould. each bakery has their own custom-made mooncake mould with their insignia. the significance of the insignia is like that of prada or gucci in the fashion world. many chinese people are willing to pay higher prices for mooncakes from reputable bakers.

if you could read chinese, the pattern on the mooncake says "tai wing wah" in the middle. double yolk on the right and white lotus on the left.

wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
♥ wing wah double yolk white lotus mooncake
there are many different fillings in mooncakes. this one (from wing wah) in the picture is the most common mooncake and probably most well-liked by many: the double yolk white lotus paste mooncake. yolk being that of a duck egg and not of chicken!

prices of mooncakes are based the number of yolks. the wing wah mooncake box set in my earlier post cost $41. there are also three yolks and four yolks.

then there are the different fillings: red bean paste (tau-sah), red lotus paste (lian yong), white lotus paste (bai lian yong), mung bean paste (luu dou), red date paste (hong zhao). and for those with contemporary tastebuds: cheese, chocolate, coffee, durian, pandan; just to name a few. there are also fruit fillings which are highly recommended by dietitians because of their lower sugar and fat content.

honey sugar bakery mooncake
♥ sugar honey mooncake
this is a local made mooncakes by a bakery called 'sugar honey'. cute name, isnt it? their mooncakes come in a very beautifully decorated wooden box.

Image Hosted by
♥ savoury five nuts mooncake
in the sugar honey box were the savoury five nuts mooncake with double yolk. even though it is termed savoury, this mooncake still has a certain degree of sweetness attached. this nutty one isnt that popular among the younger generation but is very much enjoyed by the elders.

grandpa: ohhh. this one 'hor jiak' (this means tasty in hokkien)
grandma: yeah. 'hor jiak' than the other one. how come didnt open this earlier?

the 'five nuts' are walnut, almond, olive kernel, melon seeds and white sesame seeds; mixed with candied winter-melon paste. i first tried the nutty mooncake in singapore. my family isnt into nutty thing that's why i have never come across it until a few years ago. i was a little disappointed with this five-nuts mooncake. the nuts were rather oily and they were soft! no *crunch crunch* of nuts that i was so looking forward to.

Image Hosted by
♥ zhu jiang mooncake boxset
this luxurious boxset is from a food company called "zhu jiang" in china. each mooncake comes packed in beautiful printed tin. this particular pack showcase the four legendary beauties of china.

mooncakes today come with all sort of extravagant packaging. it's more of a case of selecting the packaging over the taste. this is a rather sad phenomenon.

Image Hosted by
♥ double yolk red lotus paste mooncake
i find the crust of the zhu-jiang mooncake a tad too wet and floury. it also isnt as brown/golden as the wing wah mooncake. i only had a small bite. this mooncake is too sweet for me.

Image Hosted by
♥ double yolk white lotus mooncake
the white lotus mooncake from the zhu-jiang food co. is very much paler than wing wah's. the white lotus paste is almost whitish.

sorry for not having much of a good description of the zhu-jiang mooncakes. it's a personal barrier that i have set up for myself ever since i learnt about the treatment of unsold mooncakes in mainland china.

this concludes the first episode of my mooncake galore in sydney. there are a few more to come. i am still waiting for my taiwanese mooncakes to arrive in sydney. now, after some very intensive fingers exercises, let me reward them by stretching my arms over to that leftover piece of mooncake just over there......