Conventional recipe remains popular but baker laments that people are becoming picky For years people have predicted the demise of the traditional mooncake, and bakeries have come up with increasingly exotic varieties. There have been snowy mooncakes, chocolate and ice cream mooncakes, even barbecued duck and cha siu (pork) mooncakes. But Lee Ying-kuen says his company, Wing Wah, a leading mooncake bakery, has resisted the temptation to go for novelty and focuses on the traditional egg yolk, sugar and fat recipe. 'I think traditional mooncakes [made with brown lotus-seed paste and egg yolk], are still the most popular in Hong Kong even though there are all kinds of new mooncakes coming out,' he said. 'Of course, people will buy the new ones to try them out but I don't believe they will keep buying them. Traditional mooncakes are a part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. When people want to celebrate the festival, they will continue to buy the traditional ones'. Mr Lee also said that Wing Wah had adjusted its prices during the economic downturn. 'We offer more discounts now. We give up to 40 per cent off whereas before it was only 20 per cent maximum. Even though people's spending power is lower, our sales figures have not gone down.' But he says the bakery has kept up with some modern trends. 'We're continuously trying to improve our mooncakes. We now use less oil and less sugar to make them healthier, and surveys have shown that our customers are happy with the new taste,' he says. 'We have expanded our range to include red bean, green bean and nuts as the filling but we mainly produce the traditional ones.' Despite the popularity of snowy mooncakes with white paste, such as those offered by rival Taipan, Wing Wah has no plans to diversify into non-traditional cakes. 'We've looked at the market but the snowy mooncakes haven't affected our sales. In fact, our sales have been rising this year, perhaps because more mainlanders are in Hong Kong,' Mr Lee says. 'Snowy mooncakes are not even new products. They've been on the market for a long time but because they need to be stored in the fridge, people rarely bought them in the past as they had to eat them in a day or two.' Packaging has also changed. 'Fifty years ago we used paper boxes but now we use a tin case,' he says. Technology has also allowed the company to improve the designs on the packaging. Another major Chinese pastry producer is the Kee Wah Cake Shop. Unlike Wing Wah, Kee Wah has expanded its range to include many options, including mooncakes with Chinese ham and mixed-nut mooncakes. 'We now have many more varieties than when we first started out and the packaging has also evolved,' spokeswoman Denise Wong says. 'We used to have [a logo with] a woman on the moon but we felt it was a bit old fashioned so six or seven years ago we changed it to a Chinese emperor.' Despite the different varieties offered by Kee Wah, Ms Wong laments the drop in demand for traditional mooncakes. 'Hong Kong people are so spoilt by variety. They have become very picky' she says.