Yes, folks, it is that time of the year again when mooncakes of different flavors and variants flood downtown Chinatown and other Chinese communities around Metro Manila and beyond. It is mooncake season, as the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is better known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, is upon us.
The second grandest celebration among Chinese communities the world over, next only to the Chinese New Year, the Mid -Autumn Festival takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar, which this year falls on 21 September. This is specifically timed to coincide with the full moon, which symbolizes family unity and reunion. A tradition particularly in Asian countries, where Chinese communities thrive, the festival sees family and relatives coming together to celebrate the special occasion.
Central to the celebration is the mooncake. It is a small but rich and dense cake usually filled with lotus bean paste, red bean paste, nuts, plus a candied egg yolk in the middle that symbolizes the full moon.
These days, the mooncake comes in different creative forms. The classic round or squarish-round premium morsel that highlights the Mid -Autumn Festival now has embossed Chinese characters and design on its thin, pastry-like crust at the very least. There are now various fillings, and the much-coveted yolk is now available not just in singles but in doubles or even triples. And, yes, they come in designer bags and boxes, too!
Classic, custard, Lava
Hong Kong’s best-selling mooncake brand, Hong Kong MX Mooncake, makes a strong comeback this season with its array of classic and contemporary mooncake flavors which Double Down Import and Export Inc. has brought in to the country for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Classics come in the form of the White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Two Egg Yolks and the Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Two Egg Yolks. Both variants are packaged in fours rectangular, embossed gift cans inspired by Chang’e, the moon goddess from traditional Chinese mythology. Then there is the Premium Assorted Mooncakes, which come in gift box with a White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Three Egg Yolks at the center (serving as the moon) and seven small mooncakes (as the stars in the sky) surrounding it. But the most premium of them all is the White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Six Egg Yolks in an elegant red gift box.
From the classics, Hong Kong MX Mooncakes has developed a Lava Custard Mooncake, utilizing the unique double-baked technique, which folds pre-baked crushed golden egg yolk-laced creamy custard paste into layers of milky crust. This results in the perfect blend of silky custard and savory egg yolks that flow from the core. It comes not only in a box of eight but also in Lava Quartet Mooncake (two pieces of classic Lava Custard Mooncake, two pieces of Lava Chocolate Mooncake, two pieces of Lava Caramel Macchiato, and two pieces of Lava Cheese Mooncake), Custard Duet Mooncake (three pieces of Lava Custard Mooncake and three pieces of Creamy Custard Mooncake), and Delightful Moon Assorted Mooncakes (three pieces of Lava Custard Mooncake, and three pieces of Lava Chocolate Mooncake).
Would you believe there are now Minions mooncakes? Hong Kong MX Mooncake has launched a special tumbler gift box series featuring Stuart and Dave, everyone’s favorite Minions. The MX Minions-Stuart Mooncake gift box features eyes that will move along the chubby tumbler and goggles that light up, with the tumbler filled with Hong Kong MX Mooncake’s new original Lace Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with an egg yolk filing that can be pulled apart and enjoyed strand by strand. The MX Minions-Dave Mooncake gift box also comes with a tumbler that flips over and goggles that light up, with his body hiding Hong Kong MX Mooncake’s new Purple Sweet Potato Mooncake. Both gift boxes contain four mini mooncakes each.
Hong Kong MX Mooncakes has pop-up stores at SM Mall of Asia, Greenhills’ V-Mall, Robinsons Place Manila, Uptown BGC and Ayala Cloverleaf. Orders may also be coursed through the brand’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and on Lazada, Shopee, Grab Food, Pickaroo and MetroMart.
Mooncakes in designer bags
Conrad Manila celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival with a selection of handcrafted mooncakes from China Blue by Jereme Leung. They are available in premium flavors and packaged in a Harvest Mooncake Limited Edition Bag designed by Zarah Juan. This designer bag, which comes in luscious red and coral tan colors, features embroidery that depicts traditional barong Tagalog fabric with an intricate design of rice grains to pay homage to Mid-Autumn’s lunar harvest and the national wear of Filipinos. Artisans of Paete, Laguna, handcraft each bag from upcycled wood.
It is designed to contain four pieces of mooncakes, including the new premium flavor, Baked Fragrant Pandan with Taro Black Gold Charcoal Mooncake, recently introduced by Conrad Manila’s executive Chinese chef Eng Yew Khor. This mooncake is handcrafted in round perfection with smooth pandan paste and a creamy taro center, bearing the embossed logo of China Blue and embellished in classic black and edible gold paint finish.
Other available mooncake variants include Baked Red Bean Single Salted Egg Yolk and Baked White Lotus Single Egg Yolk.
Mooncakes are also available in Tropical Allure Bag by Christy Ng in purple or red, Pacific Pearl Bag, and Pacific Box. For orders and inquiries, call +632-8833-9999 or email email@example.com.
of Chinese heritage
Hilton Manila is offering three delightful variants of signature mooncakes from Hua Yuan Brasserie Chinoise for this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival — Red Bean Paste with Single Egg Yolk, White Lotus with Single Egg Yolk and Mixed Nuts — packaged in this year’s festive imperial red mooncake box that pays homage to the core symbols of Chinese heritage.
The box features a pair of red-crowned cranes among sacred clouds, with the golden full moon illuminating the scene. Highlight of the design is an ornate die-cut window pan inspired by the moon windows of Oriental architecture. It houses four mooncakes in matte-finished gold and red receptables.
For inquiries, call +632-7239-7788 or 0917-8266442.
in signature tin cans
Last year, 2020, Kee Wah Bakery, a celebrated household name when it comes to Chinese snacks, brought its signature premium pastries to the Philippines. This year, it brings its best-selling premium mooncakes from Hong Kong to Manila in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
These mooncakes come in Kee Wah Bakery’s signature tin can graced by a classic emperor’s portrait to signify sovereignty. They are available in White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake with Two Yolks, Golden Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake, Red Bean Paste Mooncake, Red Bean Paste Mooncake with Two Yolks, Assorted Nuts Mooncake, Date Paste Mooncake with Pine Nuts and Assorted Nuts Mooncake with Salted Pork.
It also boasts of mini versions of mooncakes, as well as an egg custard mooncake line that includes chocolate and egg custard mooncake, Earl Grey tea and egg custard mooncake, and fruit yogurt custard mooncake with strawberry and orange peel variants.
The brand also offers lower calorie versions of its classic mooncakes that are made with maltitol, a natural sugar substitute.
All of these mooncakes, plus Kee Wah Bakery’s popular pastries, are available in its pop-up stores located at The Podium, Robinsons Magnolia, and Power Plant Mall. Orders may be coursed through Kee Wah’s Facebook and Instagram accounts or through Lazada, Shopee, Pickaroo, Metromart and GrabMart.