Mooncakes are one of those amazing delicacies that have stood the test of time.
It is a treat that is rich not only in flavour, but also in history. In case you didn't know, mooncakes are commonly associated with the Mid-Autumn Festival.
(Fun fact: Mid-Autumn Festival is also known as ‘Mooncake Festival’)
Here’s a little backstory on the Mid-Autumn Festival: The early beginnings of the Mid-Autumn Festival is said to have taken place in the Zhou Dynasty when the harvest moon in autumn would be worshipped by the Chinese emperors of those ancient times.
They held onto the belief that by doing so, their harvest would benefit in the year to come.
In the Tang Dynasty, the practice of appreciating the moon became more widespread to those of the upper class. It is an occasion celebrated with big parties by the wealthy folks as well as the officials – an act conducted to follow what the emperors did.
Drinks, music, and dances are part of the occasion too. However, the ordinary people would simply pray to the Earth’s natural satellite (yes, that's just an elaborate way to address the moon) for a fruitful harvest. Eventually, the commoners started to appreciate the moon too.
The 15th day of the 8th lunar month was marked as the Mid-Autumn Festival in the Northern Song Dynasty. Since then, making sacrifices to the moon became a common practice.
The consumption of mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival started to become a tradition in the Yuan Dynasty. Guess what? There could be more to mooncakes than meets the eyes.
Word has it that mooncakes were an important element in the Ming revolutionaries’ quest to overthrow the Mongolian rulers. There are several different versions of how it went down but the plot is essentially similar.
Zhu Yuanzhang and military strategist Liu Bowen came up with the idea to utilise the mooncakes as a medium to carry a secret message to the Han Chinese people on their move to rise against the Mongols during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
To boost the distribution of the mooncakes, a rumour on the existence of a fatal disease, which could only be prevented by consuming the festive treats, began to spread.
Taking it to another creative level, they also had the hidden message printed on the surfaces of the mooncakes (it’s four in a package) that make a puzzle or mosaic. To solve it, one would have to cut all the four mooncakes into another four chunks respectively, which would provide them with 16 parts of mooncakes.
Once properly assembled, the secret message would be revealed. To destroy the ‘evidence’, well, they’d just gobble it up! Duh.
An interesting tale indeed! We’re not sure if we’d be able to look at mooncakes the same way again after learning about the possibility of this epic story!
The Mid-Autumn Festival would rise in popularity even more in the Ming and Qing Dynasties.
Amazingly, mooncakes have stayed significant to this very day. Mooncakes are generally round to complement the harvest moon. Plus, a round shape according to the Chinese culture is a symbol of completeness and unity.
To that, a full moon signifies fortune and togetherness for the family.
A thin crust makes the outer layer of mooncakes. Depending on the region, the crusts are traditionally chewy or flaky or tender. Red bean or lotus seed pastes are some of its common fillings. These days, there are so many different versions of the mooncakes.
If you’re thinking of trying out mooncakes with a twist, give the followings a shot:
#1 Inside Scoop's Snow Skin Ice Cream Mooncakes
In case you didn't know, snow skin basically refers to the crust of mooncakes, which are made of glutinous rice. Snow skin mooncakes are served chilled. Inside Scoop is rolling out these cool treats with a wide range of interesting flavours to choose from!
Their Durian with Chocolate Yolk
flavour is basically D24 ice cream with some yummy dark chocolate ganache in the center – such a tempting combination indeed. The Unicorn with Raspberry Yolk
flavour is made up of raspberry yoghurt; blue pea flower ice cream as well as a raspberry yolk in the middle of course. They also offer fun flavours such as the Mint Chocolate Chip with Oreo Crunch
, Vanilla Bean with Peanut Oreo Disc
and Dark Chocolate Brownies with Rocher Disc
They also have a bigger version called The Supermoon
. How big you ask? Well, it’s 7.5 inches. Pistachio ice cream, raspberry jelly and a crunchy chocolate base coated in snow skin!
Their four-piece box is sold at RM106
while the two-piece box costs RM63.60
. The Supermoon is priced at RM115
#2 Boba Mooncakes
Casahana, a wholesale bakery based in Shah Alam, has a reputation for their unique mooncake creations. Last year, they took on the challenge to produce nasi lemak-inspired mooncakes. Well, this year, they went with something more sweet than savoury.
It also further escalates the boba domination for they have created mooncakes of milk tea flavour! It’s the Brown Sugar Tea Au Lait mooncakes
. Of course, there are boba pearls in the fillings too, as well as oozing brown sugar! It will cost you RM19.90
for a piece of this trendy mooncake.
#3 Starbucks Mooncakes
Coffee lovers, Starbucks have just what you need to celebrate the occasion: mooncakes with their signature espresso flavours!
, Coffee Mixed Nuts
(talk about fusion!) and Green Tea Key Lime
are what’s available! It comes in a pretty packaging of course. In fact, we’ve covered this special collection from Starbucks here
. They are available at RM88
#4 Petai Mooncakes
Jennifer Chung, a baker from Ipoh, has come up with mooncakes with an interesting choice of filling – petai! Well, potatoes and sambal dried shrimps are also part of the recipe. Those elements combined do make sense!
Jennifer has also been experimenting on other delicacies with petai, including petai sambal dumplings, petai steamed buns as well as petai prawn fritters. Talk about funky flavours, eh?
Well, if you’re up for it, the petai mooncakes are sold at RM15 for two pieces
and RM28 for four pieces
#5 Hello Kitty Mooncakes
FamilyMart is back at it again with their kawaii Hello Kitty mooncake
set! The imprints sure are adorable! The box is great too.
The flavours that come in the set are Durian Lotus with Musang King Lava, Bamboo Charcoal White Lotus with Salted Egg Lava, Pandan White Lotus Single Yolk and White Lotus Double Yolks.
A set of these four flavours is priced at RM155 but they are limited in quantity though. So, you better hurry if you want ‘em!
#6 Jelly Mooncakes
Jelly mooncakes have been a thing for a while now but it still remains a fun approach! Flavours range from cendol
and even fruity taste like dragon fruit
, and mango
A seller based in Kepong has these products at RM36 a box of four flavours
of your choice. You can check ‘em out here
#7 Godiva Chocolate Mooncakes
You can always count on this renowned establishment to come out with such premium goods. Their version of the mooncakes is no exception.
This year, the flavours they are introducing for their Mid Autumn Collection are Crunchy Nuts Milk Chocolate Mooncake
, Speculoos Dark Chocolate Mooncake
, and Roasted Sesame Milk Chocolate Mooncake
. Neat presentation too! This is the perfect choice for the chocoholics.
A box of four is priced at RM149
. If you seek more, a box of eight pieces is priced at RM179
while the 12-piece is priced at RM299
#8 Crème De La Crème
Cute little creations inspired by Chinese mythology has the town buzzing! Crème De La Crème showcases their artistic skill with ice cream mooncakes of various shapes and flavours. They take the expression, “Eat with your eyes,” very seriously. But it’s not all just about the looks. They have crafted such interesting flavours to match the visual appeals.
There’s Chang E’s Elixir
, a petit gateau that’s round in shape is basically formed with the elements of Kyoto Houjicha ice cream, sesame crunch, white and dark chocolate as well as sakura and lychee rosemary yolk.
The yellow full moon creation or as its official name goes, Fly Me To The Moon
, consists of chocolate ice cream, hazelnut crunch, candied orange, meringue, gold flakes with citrus ganache yolk.
The Little White Rabbit
, which is the form of an almost-too-cute-to-eat fluffy bunny, includes a tropical trait to it with coconut ice cream, raspberry sorbet, mango compote, almond crumble and white chocolate with mango-passion fruit yolk.
The construction of the Chinese lantern mooncakes that go by the name Prosperity Lantern
consists of pistachio ice cream, lemon sponge, dark chocolate with strawberry and homemade strawberry jam yolk. Yummy!
A box of the four precious mooncakes costs RM129
So, who is ready to indulge? We know we are! Some of these mooncakes are selling out fast. Go and get them while they are still available!
To our readers who observe this occasion, Rojak Daily
wishes you a Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!