Pre Mid Autum Festival – my favourite time of the year is here! It is only during this period where I get to have 8 fanciful snowskin flavours all in one box for desserts for a full month. Being a fan of quirky snowskin flavours, I constantly seek out the most unique flavours from the hundreds available yearly.
A convenient spot for all major mooncake players in Singapore for that quick and dirty overview is Takashimaya, which traditionally holds the biggest convention of mooncake booths.
After combing through close to 60 booths, I’ve picked out my top 10 favourite snowskin mooncakes based on uniqueness, taste and packaging.
#10 Mao Shan Wang Durian Crystal Mooncake, 155 South Bridge by Chui Lau Heung
Mao Shan Wang Durian Crystal Mooncake (screenshot from 155 Southbridge’s website).
The focus here is the crystal skin mooncake. While the taste of the durian is ordinary, the crystal skin is surely a conversation starter. Expect to be impressed by friends and family the moment these exquisite little mooncakes are served.
155 South Bridge also caught my eye with their charcoal baked mooncakes. Some of the flavours include Charcoal Baked Dragon Fruit with Shredded Coconut & Salty Egg, as well as Charcoal Baked Laksa Lotus Paste with Single Yolk.
Some of their packaging comes in what looks like a book, symbolising a story to be told over mooncakes and tea. It wont be an eye catcher for all, but their mooncake flavours can make up for it.
#9 Prickly Pear with Bergamot, Goodwood Park Hotel
Prickly Pear with Bergamot (screenshot from Goodwood Park Hotel’s website).
Goodwood Park Hotel is well known for their snowskin. Every year, they come up with new flavours and this year is no exception. Their Prickly Pear with Bergamot has a slightly sourish taste with crunchy bites of diced pears. Definitely an enticing start to rounds of mooncake tasting.
Goodwood Park Hotel has pretty nice boxes usually but this year they were a tad disappointing.
#8 Salted Black Sesame Truffle, Baker’s Well
Baker’s Well clean cut, colourful, modern image is apparent in their snowskin mooncakes.
Salted Black Sesame Truffle (screenshot from Baker’s Well’s website).
We’ve all heard of salted caramel ice cream. But Salted Black Sesame Truffle is relatively new for me, and Baker’s Well did a good job with the pairing.
I love their colourful moon themed packaging! The colours are so playful your heart would flutter even before savouring their mooncakes.
#7 Rosemary, Almond and Green Tea, Intercontinental Hotel
Garden Collection (screenshot from Intercontinental Hotel’s website).
Intercontinental Hotel has herbs in their snowskin mooncakes. Yes, you read it right. Herbs! How unique and bold is that? The Rosemary, Almond and Green Tea Mooncake might turn you off at first glance, but you will get used to the idea after a while and hey, this actually makes for a good dessert with tea.
The rose pattern is also an additional visual to their theme of Garden Collection. Let’s be honest here, how many companies would rather emboss their company name on the mooncake?
#6 Osmanthus and Walnut, Mandarin Oriental
Osmanthus and Walnut (screenshot from Mandarin Oriental’s website).
We’ve all heard of osmanthus and goji berry, but Mandarin Oriental has tweaked that slightly to include walnuts instead of goji berry. Walnuts are such good brain food, so it’s hard to say no to this.
Mandarin Oriental’s mooncake box wins hands down. Elegant and classic, definitely a presentable gift for your parents-in-law.
#5 Bubble Tea with Butterscotch, Conrad Centennial
Right most: Bubble Tea with Butterscotch (screenshot from Conrad Centennial’s website).
My eyes lit up at the sound of butterscotch. I’ve always only eaten them either in candy form (think Chelsea sweets) or in ice cream tubs. Conrad’s Bubble Tea with Butterscotch sounds really sweet and sticky, but it’s really addictive. The bubble tea adds a tinge of tea fragrance to the butterscotch, making sure this mooncake is still suitable for your 赏月 (moon viewing).
I call this the treasure chest. Bulky, but impressive for sure. They have a limited Luxe Golden Flower, fitting for the Empress Dowager at home (i.e., your mom or wife).
#4 Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine, Regent
Right: Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine (photo taken from Regent’s mooncake brochure).
Finally, a snowskin mooncake for that man in your life. Regent’s Cinnamon Red Bean with Spiced Wine is fragrant and well balanced. I was afraid that the cinnamon would overpower the rest but Regent’s choice of spiced wine was a good complement. I would imagine this would be a hit with the mature gentlemen around.
The mooncakes come in individual tin boxes stored in a unique carry-and-go wooden box. Very apt design for their spice themed mooncakes. Good one, Regent!
#3 Assorted Truffle Yolks, Chocoelf
Photo taken from Chocoelf’s mooncake brochure.
Chocoelf’s flavours are not unique, but their idea of a flavoured truffle yolk is somewhat surprising. Many mooncake companies today prefer to have a single flavour as it’s entire filling, but Chocoelf wraps it’s truffle yolk with the traditional lotus paste. I thought this would cause the mooncake to lose most of its flavour, but I was wrong. The truffle yolks (actually I just call it the jelly layer) are rather intense and I really liked the texture.
Their best seller is the Intense Dark Chocolate Truffle Yolk. If you look around, chocolate mooncakes are no longer in fashion probably because chocolate just does not work as a mooncake but somehow Chocoelf gets it right. After all, they are a chocolate company.
Best of all? No sugar added! Perfect for those health conscious.
Chocoelf’s packaging not really impressive. However, they allow you to fix your own corporate logo if you purchase 10 boxes or more.
#2 Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese, Peony Jade
Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese (screenshot from Peony Jade’s website).
Peony Jade’s Crème Brûlée & Blueberry Cheese was a surprise for me. I thought the blueberry cheese would make me jelat after a while and was quite hesitant to try it at first but the Crème Brûlée saved the day. This milky icy texture is somewhat akin to eating ice cream. Yums.
Apart from that, Peony Jade also has a cute little pink piggy snowskin mooncake – Silver Lotus Paste with Egg Yolk Custard, which happens to be low sugar.
#1 Assorted, Grand Hyatt
Screenshot taken from Grand Hyatt’s online order form.
Grand Hyatt bagged the #1 spot for me because they’ve exceeded my expectations not once, but four times! They’ve got Peanut Butter Sea Salt Truffle, Chocolate Mint Fondant, Strawberry Lime Tequila Truffle, and Violette & Tanqueray No. TEN Gin. Most mooncake companies have only one or two star flavours but Grand Hyatt – wow. Just wow. The team at Mezza9 really did a good job this year.
Alas! Their boxes aren’t as fancy as their mooncakes. It also comes in two designs – 2016’s and this year’s. Apparently, if you request for the 2016 box, you get to save $3.
# Bonus Mao Shan Wang, Golden Moments
New to the mooncake market, Golden Moments only have one product on the table – Mao Shan Wang Durian Mooncake. While their MSW isn’t as strong as the other major brands out there, Golden Moments’ company philosophy is what attracted me. The three Singaporeans behind this company hopes to use durian delicacies to bring families closer together. Such a simple yet sincere vision. I hope they will continue to work towards this!
Tips for shopping at Takashimaya’s Mid Autumn Festival 2017:
1. Bring your arsenal of credit cards to the fair. Different credit cards are entitled to different discounts for the same product. Bring along a pen so you can write the details down on the brochures.
2. Go early in the morning. You do not want to miss out on what would be the best mooncake you’ve ever eaten just because you failed to get a tasting sample due to the massive crowd.
3. Always ask about the longest possible storage period for the snowskin mooncakes. Some snowskin mooncakes have to be consumed within 5 days. Alternatively, ask if you can pay now (for the discounts and availability of flavours) and collect closer to the date.
4. Try not to bring along your baby prams, especially if you’re visiting on a weekend noon. You’ll find it super hard to navigate, and from a safety perspective, a huge crowd means people won’t be able to avoid tripping over your pram.
5. Finally, do a quick search online prior to purchasing to see if you’re indeed getting the best deal. Some hotels offer their own discounts online but this usually means that you have to collect it from the hotel itself.
The Mid Autumn Festival fair at Takashimaya is happening from now till 4 Oct 17.
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