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Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Mid-Autumn Festival / Mooncakes Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 8 September 2014 (Monday) this year, a day celebrated with beautiful lanterns, admiring the beautiful Full Moon and eating mooncakes.

To share a little history, there had been many stories surrounding the Mid-Autumn festival. The most famous one of all would be Chang Er flying to the moon upon taking an elixir meant for her cruel husband, who wanted to live forever. The other tales would be the Wu Gang's chopping of laurel tree and Jade Rabbit pounding medicine etc legends.

Unsure of where mooncake came about, but since young we have been enjoying mooncakes with hot tea, after playing lanterns with friends and neighbors at the estate playgrounds. Sometimes there were fireworks too, or fire crackers - it had been fun.  The very traditional ones came from Da Zhong Guo bakery - baked skin with different fillings.

The one on the right is five nuts (五仁) mooncakes, consisting of a sweet paste and five different types of nuts, as the name implies. Though the mom loves this, I never knew how to appreciate the nutty cake.

I must have three types of mooncakes every year - because I love mooncakes (no savoury ones like curry fillings though, please!). The first type being the baked skin mooncakes, usually white lotus paste filled with egg yolk preferred (like the ones by Fullerton Hotel and Da Zhong Guo as shown in photo above).

Snowskin mooncakes have always been a favorite of mine as well, starting from the usual green tea, durian etc flavors from most hotels and bakeries. Then more flavors were invented over the years, such as Antoinette's chestnut-flavored ones, or Regent Hotel's black sesame ones (both also my favorite).

Lately, I have also came to crave the traditional Teochew ones with the flakey skin. I love the light sweetness of the flakey layers of "skin" embracing  lovely lotus paste fillings within them. I also like Goodwood Park's durian mooncakes as well as Raffles Hotel's champagne truffles ones. One year, I remember receiving a box of Hotel Rendezvous' snowskin blackforest mooncakes, and loved them tremendously as well. The new snowskin tea mooncakes by Shangri-la are starting to grow on  me as well.

This year, I bought for my family and relatives the Low-Sugar ones from Intercontinental Hotel - lotus paste and egg yolks ones, of course. I didn't choose it specifically - I just happened to be in between queues for two telcos at Bugis Junction so I popped into the hotel on a whim, tasted the not-so-sweet mooncakes, liked the pretty packaging and ordered on the spot.

Photosource: http://7lunes.blogspot.sg/2012/07/trapa-bicornis-une-fabuleuse-illusion.html

Though, I would still pop by the mooncake bazaar to sample different mooncakes and see if I could purchase more sometimes....  It was always fun to have mooncakes with tea, and steamed yam alongside
trapas bicornis (better known as "Ling Jiao" or "Bullhorn Nuts").

Well, herein are some of my favorite mooncakes. Here's wishing you a Happy Mid-autumn Festival!

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