We bought a lot of mooncakes this year – so much so that there’s a lot of leftovers still sitting in the pantry! The Mid-Autumn Festival festival is based on a rather interesting legend:
There was an noble archer called Hou Yi who shoots down 9 of the 10 suns scorching the Earth and was hailed as a hero and pronounced King by the people. However, he eventually he grew corrupted during his reign and became obsessed with finding the Elixir of Life (for immortality) and coveted it for himself. His wife, knowing that he has become an evil ruler, decided not to give it to him and swallowed it herself to save the world from her tyrannical husband.
That was the version I was familiar with – it was told by my grandparents. It’s also listed under Mid-Autumn mythology in Wikipedia. My great-grandmother was a great believer in legends and *swore* I would get my ear cut if I dared looked at the full moon during Mid-Autumn Festival. Apparently the magnificence of Yi’s wife would somehow reach down from the celestial heavens and slice off the ear of an innocent 7 year old boy just coz he wondered what the bright light was.
Okay, I was actually quite naughty and stared stubbornly at the moon in spite of her admonitions and my great-grandma (God bless her soul) actually took out a great big pair of tailoring scissors and seriously wanted to cut my ear lobe off (!!!) to make her point. Fortunately, my uncles saw the severity of the situation and took the scissors away from her. I still remember her story though. Yeah, I was raised with lots of TLC.
It’s like how the original Grimm Brothers stories were all very twisted and realistic (with a veritable cast of regular people with all their flaws) but children’s storybooks and eventually Disney changed them all to become easy-to-digest nice stories without any of the nastiness.
I digress, here’s this year’s mooncake roundup! 🙂
1. Donutes Taiwanese Mung Bean Mooncakes
These come in a box of 9 pieces for RM 49.50. There are two flavors – Mung Bean Original and Mung Bean Crisp Garlic. The latter is quite interesting and it’s the first box of mooncakes I got for my better half’s parents.
2. Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk
I found this to be the most interesting from Tai Thong’s offerings this year. It’s a dragon fruit flavored mooncake with a single yolk inside – what makes it intriguing is the coconut jam (kaya) surrounding the preserved egg yolk. I was quite pleased to find the flavor combination works very well.
3. Shanghai Egg Yolk Mooncakes
This one I bought in Sibu from the import speciality grocer Ta Kiong for RM 49. There are 8 mini Shanghai mooncakes inside and they’re individually wrapped in twin packs.
It’s made by Yong Sheng and they’ve been around since 1952 – before Malaysia’s Independence Day! Each of the miniature pies have a full sized egg yolk inside and I gave them to my dear and she quite liked it. The black sesame topping goes very well with the flaky pastry.
I also have a home-made version from Fairy Flower Cake Shop which comes in a box of 6. Surprisingly, the home made ones are quite expensive since they’re small batch.
4. Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes 2014
I wrote about the Starbucks Mid-Autumn Mooncakes in a previous post. These are miniature 90 gram mooncakes – slightly less than ½ the size of regular mooncakes.
5. D24 and Musang King Mooncakes
My dear kindly bought me two durian flavored mooncakes coz I really like durians and I really like mooncakes. We’ve had them last year and we found them tasty – it’s in the 2013 Mid-Autumn Mooncake Roundup.
6. Traditional Foochow Lard Mooncakes
These are called jing su gao and they’re traditional Foochow lard mooncakes. They don’t have no fancy snowskin, chocolate or ice cream mooncakes back in the days. This was all they had. You’ll notice that all three (3) packs are different despite looking the same. It’s made by 3 distinct bakers – Sin Hing Leong Cake Store, Kinsen Trading Co and Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store.
The middle one looks pleasingly brownish-yellow like freshly baked cookies while the outer two are a pale white. It’s due to the lard vs butter content. My favorite would be from Fairy Flower (Ko Kee) Cake Store – it has the right combination of lard and butter to my taste buds. These Foochow mooncakes are more like biscuits (or cookies) with a crumbly texture and a distinctive taste of lard.
7. Taste of Crimson Opera
This is Casahana’s flagship mooncake of 2014! It costs RM 19.50 per mooncake and we bought it the day before Mid-Autumn Festival. They also have a charcoal black sesame brown sugar omochi mooncake called Dark Knight but I decided to go for their signature one – expansively named “Taste of Crimson Opera”.
There’s a burst of beetroot and cocoa followed by the tartness of cheese and creamy white chocolate. There’s nothing traditional about this mooncake – all of the 4 ingredients (beetroot, white chocolate, cocoa, cheese) are not something you’ll usually find in a mooncake.
The intricate floral pattern on the top of the mooncake is beautiful too! I was pleased to find that the beetroot is also baked into the skin (so the color isn’t artificial) and it’s not too thick. I would have thought the flowers would make the skin thicker but it’s actually part of the skin. This gets Best of 2014 from us! 🙂
20 thoughts on “Mid-Autumn 2014 Mooncake Roundup: Dragon Fruit with Coconut Single Yolk, beetroot infused Crimson Opera, and traditional Foochow lard mooncakes!”
My cousin residing in Melbourne says the Foochow Mooncake Festival biscuits are the best – all the rest can take a back seat. Ummmm….I choose to remain neutral. 😀
Never saw the Ko Kee Brand though – I wonder if they’re still available. Will go see…
I quite like the Foochow lard mooncakes! 🙂
It’s not for everyone though – some people don’t like the taste, but I can eat a whole row (out of the three rows in the pack) with cold milk at night for a snack. Haha.
The Fairy Flower Cake Shop (Ko Kee) ones are from a stall right in front of Medan Mall. It should be available whole year round nowadays. The owner can make traditional pastries and biscuits to your specifications too if you ask her for a batch e.g. gluten free, no egg, dairy or nuts (all of my niece’s food allergies) so my dad likes it there. I also got the Shanghai style home made mooncakes from that stall.
Ok, thanks. Must be the stall selling all the Foochow specialties. Will drop by and check it out today.
Yup, that’s the one! 🙂
Ko Kee, they call themselves, a lot of their stuff is homemade and you can also make orders on their off days. There’s a pao maker that does that too, my dad always gets them for my niece, she can makes custom paos on her off days – RM 3 each, minimum order 60 buns.
idk why but i’m just not a fan of the ones with yolk in `em. lol. loving all the pink!! i have yet to try beetroot but i’m definitely intrigued now. keeping an eye out! hehe. happy mid-autumn, sixthseal 😀
I love the taste of the salted duck egg yolk! 🙂
I know some people don’t like it though, I think it depends on the manufacturer – some have really horrible stale tasting egg yolks which really tastes nothing like salted duck egg yolks at all while some are actually made from chicken egg yolks.
I do like the proper duck egg yolk ones though – the fresher tasting natural ones, that is.
Yeah, that was a nice find! We only saw it on Sunday, just before Mid-Autumn Festival. We were out grocery shopping and there was a lot of mooncake stalls outside Publika and we stumbled across this. I thought it was very nice – the beetroot filling and sharp cheese center with a layer of white chocolate underneath, good flavor combination!
Likewise! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
My version is different from yours, mine with a dragon in it.. Something to do with the people wanted to fight off the evil dragon, so they inserted secret messages, stuffed them into the mooncakes, distributed to the whole village.. So everyone read the message, ganged up, fought with the dragon, and the dragon died (of course), and everyone lived happily ever after.. LOL..
Of all your mooncakes, the beetroot+white chocolate+cheese looks interesting.. I think I can stuff the whole thing into my mouth, no need to cut into 8 slices, haha.. But that’ll be fattening.. I think I will put on 5kg – to finish all your mooncakes sitting in the pantry 😉
I think dragon is an allegory for the emperor in China! 🙂
The emperor is usually symbolized as the *dragon* while the empress is depicted as the *phoenix*.
Funny story, I remember being asked why I had a tattoo of a phoenix coz in China, it’s usually females who do that (the person who asked was from Mainland China and she had a phoenix tattoo but not like mine) while the guys goes for dragons. I said it’s a very clichéd thing to have a dragon tattoo since it’s very old fashioned and besides my phoenix wasn’t the typical feathered peacock-like feng huang (鳳凰) of Chinese mythology but the Greek (or Ancient Egypt) depiction of the phoenix which symbolizes renewal and rebirth:
Your story is a lot closer to mine though – the dragon is the emperor (or king) and it’s about a citizen uprising/revolt against the evil emperor. I’ve heard of that too, but it’s a more contemporary story (might have really happened) instead of an old myth.
Haha! I like the beetroot one too! The filling goes very well with the cheese “egg” with a layer of white chocolate underneath. I have so much mooncakes to finish that I don’t bother cutting it up anymore – I just eat it like a bun, the entire thing.
My granny says don’t put at the moon else will get my ear cut.
This year we did not eat much of mooncake as compared to previous.
Saw in another blog , the lady praised “Taste of Crimson Opera” too.
It is quite good! 🙂
You have to really take a bit bite of everything – the beetroot filling, the cheese “egg” and the white chocolate under the cheese faux egg to get what it’s all about. I like new flavors that’s done well.
Oh, too bad but at least you celebrated! Happy Mid-Autumn Festival to you and your family Kathy!
Oh, I’ve heard that too! 🙂
If you point at the moon you’ll get your ear cut too. I think that’s why my great-grandma was so angry that time. I was very rebellious and didn’t believe in stuff like that so I not only looked at the moon, I pointed and I gave it the middle finger, so she got soooo angry she took out a pair of tailoring scissors and wanted to really cut my ear to teach me a lesson until my uncles pulled her away. Haha.
I still remember it coz it was quite funny (though not at the time) and that’s how the full story goes. I guess I made her go into Hulk mode by flipping off the moon.
This might be from the mythology too – Yi tried to shoot down his wife as she ascended to heaven but missed, so the “no pointing” might be related to that.
Yea, this is the first time i heard about cutting ear thingy, my parents encouraged me to look at the moon when i was small LOL
It might be certain ethnicities that believes in certain things! 🙂
I’m not sure where all that ear cutting thing came from but I’m from a Heng Hua background – my grandparents and great-grandparents are all pure Heng Hua from both sides so it might be a Heng Hua thing but Kathy knows of it too.
I’m thinking it also could be due to the fact that solar and lunar eclipses in the past – back in the days, they didn’t know it wasn’t safe to look directly at solar eclipses (although lunar eclipses are okay) and maybe some people got their retinas burned and became blind, thus the origins of this myth.
Wow, so the crimson opera got the best of 2014 from you. Hahaha, I am pleased to read this because this means I did not miss out not eating the rest since I have eaten the crimson opera. 🙂
Haha! Yeah, I thought that was the best of this year! 🙂
There are other good ones though, I totally missed the Haagen-Dazs mooncake ice cream, would love to have an ice cream mooncake but it was on the night of the day itself before I found out about it from their Facebook.
Not everyone likes the beetroot Crimson Opera though – I reckon you have to eat a large bite with everything inside, have received comments that it’s tasteless from people who just bite into the beetroot filling. Glad to hear you tried it too Mun!
Yes, that’s the secret of eating moon cakes with extra fillings, have to eat them together to get the whole taste. Just like when you eat those with salted egg yolks, have to eat the salted egg yolk together with the lotus paste and the baked pastry skin. 🙂
I’ll do that everytime but some people don’t – reckon it’s coz they want to avoid eating the egg yolk (either coz they don’t like the taste or for health reasons e.g. cholesterol).
You’re right, it’s meant to be eaten with everything together though!
wow… the mooncakes look very special. I usually go for the lotus white paste type, not adventurous enough to try others.
Yeah, that’s the standard one that I always go for too! 🙂
I’ll get a couple of traditional ones – lotus paste, fruits, nuts & ham and other which I’ve just seen come out this year.