Five best new mooncake fillings for Mid-Autumn Festival 2015
Every year Hong Kong chefs try to outdo themselves with new takes on the seasonal classic, and 2015 is no exception
There is only so much lotus seed paste that one can eat. That’s why we’re happy to find a range of innovative fillings for mooncakes, that mid-autumn festival staple, this year. We’ve tried a dozen, including a few that made us say “eww”, so you don’t have to. Here’s our top five:
1. Mooncake with black sesame paste and egg yolk
Hoi Yat Heen Chinese Restaurant, HK$188 for six
We are not sure if the black food trend is taking off even in the mooncake world, but we do hope Harbour Plaza North Point’s latest black sesame paste and egg yolk mooncake will become a classic. It is our favourite from the bunch: the pitch-dark seed paste has a lovely roasted fragrance, and although slightly gritty, its texture matches the briny egg yolk perfectly. And with its low-sugar tag, it gives us all the more excuse to have just another piece, or two.
WATCH: How to make red bean mooncakes
2. Yuzu mooncake
Lung Mun Seafood Restaurant, HK$140 for four
The reason why Lung Mun has been running strong for 48 years in Lei Yue Mun is probably because the seafood restaurant is never short of innovative offerings. It has launched six new mooncakes this year, including two created in collaboration with celebrity chef Margaret Xu Yuan. Fillings such as chestnut or vanilla caramel are two of the interesting options, but it is the yuzu flavour that left us wanting more. Wrapped in the buttery cookie pastry is yuzu marmalade, as well as chewy bits of dried orange and peel for a refreshing harmony of citrusy flavours and texture.
3. Taro and salted egg yolk mooncake
Lung King Heen, HK$498 for six
This pale purple beauty reminds us keenly of the popular Chiu Chow-style mashed taro dessert, which we love, but we are also aware of how much lard and sugar were used. Chan Yan-tak, Chinese executive chef of this three Michelin- starred restaurant in the Four Seasons Hong Kong, has rendered this mooncake a less guilty delight, while keeping it tasty. The taro mash is light and not too sweet, albeit it’s a bit gooey and sticks to the inside of your mouth, and we love the golden brown and yolky pastry crust.
4. 30-year Mandarin peel and red bean paste mooncake
Shang Palace, HK$438 for eight
Before our official taste test, we sampled one of these mooncakes created by Chinese executive chef Mok Kit-keung, and were impressed by the fragrant mandarin peel taste – it made the mooncake more complex in flavour. The mandarin peel also adds a healthy aspect, as it helps improve digestion, particularly of this indulgent pastry. However, when we tried it again, the batch we had did not have much, if any mandarin peel taste, and was bland, with just red bean paste. We wondered if someone forgot to add the mandarin peel in our batch.
5. Tieguanyin with cheese and coconut paste mooncake
Hullett House, HK$588 for six
Hullett House should get the award for most daring mooncake flavours this year, with intriguing choices such as seaweed and lotus seed paste, and purple potato paste.The strangest combination this year has to be its “Reunion Night” filling. The mooncake is described as a combination of tieguanyin with cheese and coconut paste. It looks a bit dark in colour, like lotus seed paste, but there’s no discernable cheese or tea flavour, though definitely bits of desiccated coconut in the finish to give some texture to the otherwise neutral-tasting mooncake.
Look out for plenty more Mid-Autumn Festival coverage on the SCMP.com Lifestyle pages as the big day draws nearer.