Mooncake Makeover

On the 15th day of the eighth month of the Chinese calendar is the mid-Autumn Festival. This year, it falls on Wednesday, September 22. Boxes of mooncakes are flying off the shelves. Mooncake diplomacy is in full swing, as friends, relatives and business associates exchange these rich, decadent cakes. Celebrating this holiday steeped in tradition, families gather to make paper lanterns and eat seasonal fruits. But ASIAN PALATE discovered new innovations to usher in this festive culinary holiday.

© Photo: Anytime X Kee Wah Bakery

In Hong Kong, the mooncake takes center stage at high tea in  Anytime Restaurant . Scones and clotted cream have been replaced by the mooncake, with a platter of Norwegian salmon, Parma ham, assorted fruits and miniature pies.Tired of the usual lotus paste and duck egg yolk filling, clever chefs try to outdo each other with new flavors. Pushing the decadence level a notch higher, Shangri-La hotel introduces the mini custard mooncakes with Foie Gras. For addicts of the caffeinated fizzy drink, Maxim’s offers Coca Cola flavoured snow skin mooncakes.

In Singapore, mooncake makeovers are the rage. Durian fanatics can’t get enough of the durian snowskin mooncakes sold in many restaurants and hotels. Extending the fruit theme,   Goodwood Park Hotel sells other tropical flavors like Cempadak, Mango with Pomelo, and Apple Caramel snowskin mooncake.  Addressing the health conscious eaters, the Four Seasons Singapore recently introduced the Dongquai mooncake. This earthy herb is known as the female ginseng. Women believe Dongquai enhances beauty and harmonizes vital energy. Despite the high calorie content of mooncakes, women feel less guilty with this health-enhancing attribute. Women can finally have their cake and eat it, too.

Looking for something to sip along whilst you are having this traditional festive delicacy? Try pairing mooncakes with some full-bodied sweet wines from promising Chinese chateau like Chateau Sun God Great Wall and Chateau Junding .

As the mid-Autumn Festival happens only once a year, take your pick: go for tradition or innovation.

© Photo: Lynn Chen@Flickr