Hotels, restaurants and bakeries up the ante in mooncake creativity with new flavours, packaging and shapes.
There is no shortage of variety when it comes to mooncakes here.
Every year, hotels, restaurants and bakeries up the ante with more daring flavours that continue to push the boundaries of gimmickry and innovation.
This year, mooncakes come in newfangled flavours that range from black garlic with custard, to root beer and tom yum, and ingredients such as sakura ebi. Once deemed novel, cheese mooncakes have become the norm. So, too, have alcohol- and fruit-based varieties, as well as ones that incorporate savoury ingredients, such as Iberico ham, pork floss and bak kwa. Molten centre lava mooncakes took off last year and remain popular this year.
Speciality mooncakes in various shapes from piglets to handcrafted bunnies also have their place in the market. Over the years, diners in Singapore have tucked into mooncakes in many shapes, from Angry Birds to those in the shape of buttocks.
Mooncakes are usually eaten to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Oct 4 this year.
Legend has it that the cakes were stuffed with secret messages to start a rebellion in China during the Yuan dynasty, when it was ruled by the Mongols. The patterns on the surface of the pastry also served as coded messages.
Ms Fion Wong, 34, Regent Singapore’s director of food and beverage, says: “The visual part is very important. People want something different and unique. More importantly, they also look at how the item can be reused for other functional purposes.”
Indeed, mooncake boxes are often reused to store trinkets and other small items long after the festival is over.
Sales have not dampened despite the hazy economic outlook.
A check with 20 hotels and bakeries here found that the pace of sales this year is generally consistent with last year’s, while some sellers report an increase of up to 20 per cent this year.
Prices of mooncakes, however, have increased slightly, by between 2 and 10 per cent, due to rising manpower costs and increased cost of ingredients such as lotus paste, sellers say.
Here is The Sunday Times’ guide to newfangled offerings, novelty mooncakes and fancy packaging.
ROOT BEER, APPLE CIDER & PRICKLY PEAR WITH BERGAMOT SNOWSKIN MOONCAKES
What: New this year are the creamy root beer mooncakes which are made with vanilla and a hint of rum, and the mildly alcoholic vermilion-skinned apple cider mooncake with small chunks of apple. The refreshing pink prickly pear mooncakes are made with fruit of the cactus plant.
Where: Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road
When: Till Oct 4
Price: $32 for two prickly pear mooncakes, $36 nett for two root beer or apple cider ones.
Info: Call 6730-1867 or 6730-1868, from 9am to 7pm (weekdays), 9am to 1pm (weekends); or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to festivepromotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com. Last day for pre-orders is Sept 28, 5pm
ORANGE CITRUS PASTE WITH APRICOT & SNOWSKIN PEARL MILK TEA
What: The Pine Garden in Ang Mo Kio has created two interesting snowskin flavours.
The orange citrus paste with apricot boasts bright flavours and small bits of dried apricot, while its pearl milk tea variant contains chewy pearls in its tea-blend lotus paste.
Where: The Pine Garden, Block 529 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, 01-2329; AMK Hub, 53 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3, 01-13; Compass One, 1 Sengkang Square, B1-39; Northpoint Shopping Centre, 930 Yishun Avenue 2, B2-01
When: Till Oct 4, various opening hours
Price: $17.20 each
YUZU BIRD’S NEST
What: Shang Palace has created a new tangy yuzu mooncake with bird’s nest. These mooncakes are part of its Mini Snow Skin Eight Treasures gift box, which also comes with chocolate salted toffee mooncakes.
Where: Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road
When: Till Oct 4
Price: $88 for a box of eight mini mooncakes, four of each flavour.
TOM YUM AND SAKURA EBI BAKED MOONCAKES
What: Bakerzin has launched a Bold Collection of baked mooncakes with four exotic flavours: ginger, tom yum, American ginseng and sakura ebi. Each box comes with one of each flavour.
Where: Bakerzin outlets islandwide including Century Square, 2 Tampines Central 5, 01-19, tel: 6694-8584; United Square, 101 Thomson Road, 01-07, tel: 6251-5550; VivoCity, 1 Harbourfront Walk, 01-207, tel: 6438-8700; and Nom La La by Bakerzin, 9 Sentul Crescent, tel: 6385-0409. Also available at mooncake fairs including Takashimaya Square, 391A Orchard Road; and nex at Serangoon Central (from Thursday), and Tampines One (from Sept 22)
When: Till Oct 4, various times
Price: $66 for a box of four mooncakes
Info: Go to www.bakerzin.com/mooncake
BLACK GARLIC WITH WHITE LOTUS AND CUSTARD PASTE
What: Feng Shui Inn’s baked mooncake this year features house-aged organic Japanese black garlic blended with custard and white lotus paste. It is made with brown sugar instead of refined white sugar and contains 20 per cent less sugar than regular mooncakes.
Where: Feng Shui Inn, Crockfords Tower, Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway
When: Till Oct 4, noon to 8pm daily
Price: $68 for a box of six
MINI MILO DINOSAUR MOONCAKES
What: Peony Jade’s new molten lava Milo dinosaur mooncakes are filled with a Milo creme centre and feuilletine for a little bit of crunch.
They are best eaten warm – preheat the oven to 180 deg C, then reduce the heat to 130 deg C and bake for two to five minutes.
Where: Peony Jade, two outlets – Keppel Club, 10 Bukit Chermin Road, club lobby, tel: 6276-9138; Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road, 02-02, tel: 6338-0305; mooncake fairs, including Takashimaya Square, 391A Orchard Road; Chevron House, Raffles Place; and Tangs VivoCity, Central Court, 1 Harbourfront Walk.
When: Till Oct 3 at Peony Jade restaurant outlets, until Oct 4 at various mooncake fairs
Price: $72 for eight pieces
Info: Orders must be made at least three days in advance. Call 6276-8327, from 9am to 7pm (weekdays) and from 9am to 1pm (weekends). Go to peonyjade.com or pjmooncakes.com.sg. E-mail email@example.com
THE BUNNY COLLECTION
What: Ollella, which specialises in French choux pastries, has created a range of bunny-shaped snowskin mooncakes. There are four bunnies and each has a different flavour – white peach champagne with a strawberry gelee centre; dark chocolate rum with almond crunch; mango white chocolate with a candied yuzu and ginger centre; and raspberry rose with a lychee centre.
Where: Ollella – 3 Petain Road, Residences@Somme, 01-01; and Takashimaya Square, Basement 2, 391A Orchard Road
When: Till Oct 4. Its Petain Road outlet is open from noon to 6pm (Wednesdays to Mondays), closed on Tuesdays; Takashimaya’s Mid-Autumn Fair, 10am to 9.30pm, daily
Price: From $48 for four round mooncakes to $78 for eight bunny-shaped mooncakes.
PROSPEROUS PIG-ME-UP MOONCAKES
What: This year, Peony Jade has created pink three-dimensional Pig-me-up snowskin mooncakes with lotus paste and egg yolk custard.
Where: Peony Jade, two outlets – Keppel Club, 10 Bukit Chermin Road, club lobby, tel: 6276-9138; Clarke Quay, 3A River Valley Road, 02-02, tel: 6338-0305; mooncake fairs, including Takashimaya Square, 391A Orchard Road; Chevron House, Raffles Place; and Tangs VivoCity, Central Court, 1 Harbourfront Walk
When: Till Oct 3 at Peony Jade restaurant outlets; till Oct 4 at various mooncake fairs Price: $42 for two, $72 for four
Info: Orders must be made at least three days in advance. Call 6276-8327, from 9am to 7pm (weekdays), and from 9am to 1pm (weekends). Go to peonyjade.com or pjmooncakes.com.sg. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
HELLO KITTY MOONCAKES
What: These baked Hello Kitty mooncakes are filled with white lotus paste, melon seeds and a single egg yolk. They come in a white and gold floral-design reusuable tin.
Where: Hello Kitty Orchid Garden, Arrival Hall Central, 01-22, Terminal 3, Changi Airport
When: Till Oct 4, while stocks last. Walk-ins only
Price: $33.80 for a box of two. Purchase by Sept 14 and pay $29.80 a box
Info: Call 6241-6127 or go to www.hellokittyorchidgarden.com
THE COW JUMPED OVER THE MOON-CAKE
What: Cheesecake specialist Cat And The Fiddle has rolled out five mini cheesecake snowskin mooncakes, each embossed with a cat. Flavours are blueberry, strawberry, cookies and cream, chocolate and durian. Each box comes with a reusable glossy PVC tote bag. The charcoal skin durian mooncakes are sold separately as a set of eight, while the other flavours come in an assorted box of eight.
Where: Order online at www.catandthefiddle.com
When: Till Oct 4
Price: $68.80 for eight mini mooncakes. Each box comes with two of each flavour
What: Tuck into mooncakes embossed with Sanrio’s lazy egg yolk character Gudetama. A set of four mooncakes in different flavours, from black sesame to pandan lotus, comes in a novelty Gudetama-shaped tin. Each set also comes with a dining voucher for Gudetama Cafe Singapore.
Where: The mooncakes are available at Gudetama Cafe Singapore, Suntec City, 3 Temasek Boulevard, 01-361, tel: 6677-6195; Esso-Cheers petrol stations; Joe & Dough outlets, including Leisure Park Kallang, 5 Stadium Walk, 01-12, tel: 6348-2848; Income at Raffles, 16 Collyer Quay, 02-05, tel: 6438-2115; and Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, 01-86, tel: 6337-0938; and The Soup Spoon outlets
When: Till Oct 4
Price: $78 for a box of four mooncakes
What: Marvel Comic’s superheroes Ironman and Spiderman are now on mooncake tins. The baked red bean paste and green tea Ironman mooncakes are embossed with an A, the symbol for the Avengers; while the baked egg custard Spiderman mooncakes are embossed with an image of Spiderman’s web-shooting hand.
Where: Hong Kong MX Mooncakes, Takashimaya Square, B2, 391A Orchard Road
When: Till Oct 4, 10am to 9.30pm daily
Price: $65 for two Marvel tins – one Spiderman tin and one Ironman tin. Each tin comes with four mooncakes
MARINA BAY SANDS
What: Its elegant white box resembles a Chinese treasure chest. It has a gold lotus motif and is lined with blue velvet.
Aside from traditional lotus paste with yolks, baked mooncake options include lychee rose, brown sugar longan ginger tea and caramel lotus seed paste. Snowskin varieties include chewy cherry coconut, dark chocolate orange Grand Marnier and attap seed with yam.
Where: SweetSpot, Marina Bay Sands Hotel Lobby Tower 3, Bayfront Avenue
When: Till Oct 4. The shop opens from 7am to 10pm daily
Price: From $68+ for a box of eight snowskin mooncakes to $70+ for a box of four traditional mooncakes
Info: Call 6688-8588 or go to www.marinabaysands.com/mooncake
CROWNE PLAZA CHANGI AIRPORT
What: Baked mooncakes come in an orange suitcase with brown trimming and gold hardware, complete with a luggage tag. Snowskin mooncakes come in a metal case.
Where: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport,75 Airport Boulevard, 01-01; and at various mooncake fairs from Sept 18, including Jurong Point, 1 Jurong West Central 2; Compass One, 1 Sengkang Square; Junction 8, 9 Bishan Place; and Tampines Mall, 4 Tampines Central 5
When: Till Oct 4, at the hotel; Sept 18 to Oct 3 at mooncake fairs
Price: From $70 nett for a box of four baked mooncakes
What: Yan Ting’s Lavish Premium Gift Box set includes a baby blue chest adorned with flowers in hues of yellow, pink, red and white. Choose between baked and snowskin mooncakes, and either a half-bottle of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut champagne with two flutes, or a teapot set with pu’er tea. Snowskin mooncake flavours this year include a reduced sugar green apple paste and champagne truffle with chocolate paste.
Where: The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Road. The mooncakes are available at Yan Ting, level 1 U, or La Patisserie, lobby level
When: Till Oct 4, 10am to 10pm daily
Price: The Lavish Premium Gift sets are priced from $148+
What: Cherry Garden’s mooncake box looks like a miniature wooden wardrobe with cherry blossoms. Baked mooncake options include pandan with dried cherries and pistachio, and sea salt caramel with single yolk.
New snowskin flavours include a custard paste with rose petals and chestnut, and passionfruit with pistachio.
Where: Mandarin Oriental Singapore, 5 Raffles Avenue
When: Till Oct 4, 11am to 9pm daily
Price: Prices start at $68 for a box of four baked mooncakes
Info: Call 6885-3081 or e-mail email@example.com
What: Mooncakes are packaged in individual tins and placed in a spice carrier-inspired box made of pine wood. Opt for baked mooncakes or new snowkin variants such as pineapple pink peppercorn and cinnamon red bean.
Where: Regent Singapore – A Four Seasons Hotel, 1 Cuscaden Road
When: Till Oct 4. Summer Palace, level 3 – noon to 2.30pm, 6.30 to 10.30pm, daily; hotel lobby – 11am to 8.30pm, daily; Takashimaya Square, B2, 391A Orchard Road, 10am to 9.30pm daily
Price: From $66 for a box of four baked mooncakes
Info: Call 6725-3239 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
What: Baked mooncakes come in an LED mirror chest which instantly lights up when opened. Each box also comes with a choice of crystal brooches, including a pair of swans or a peacock in either blue or clear crystal.
Mooncake varieties include pure white lotus and a bamboo charcoal mooncake with dragonfruit and black sesame. Other flavours are sold out.
Where: Concorde Hotel Singapore, 100 Orchard Road
When: Till Oct 4. Collection is available from noon to 9pm daily
Price: From $60 for a box of four
Info: Call 6739-8370 or e-mail email@example.com. Pre-orders advised