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Taste-test and review: 34 mooncakes flavours in Singapore (2019)

These wildly imaginative mooncake flavours will excite the most adventurous of tastebuds this Mid Autumn Festival.

Everyone loves a good traditional lotus paste mooncake (although there are some who are on the fence about whether they love it with a salted egg yolk or not). But the best part about the annual Mid-Autumn Festival is the plethora of exotic, exciting and unconventional flavours that are churned out by the most creative of the culinary industry here. For those with a more adventurous palate, the mooncakes available during this period is a gastronomical delight with plenty of surprises, as chefs try and outdo each other with their creations.

We tried some of the more unique offerings — from tea-infused mooncake with a peach centre to ones with Jambon de Bayonne and lavender to those with truffle carbonara and chrysanthemum and winter melon — and give each a rating. Taste is subjective, to be sure, but it’ll give you an indication on which are worth the price tag (and calories).

(Related: Mooncake boxes: 2019’s best designs for gifting in Singapore — Updated)

TWG Tea

Known for its exquisite luxury teas packaged into gorgeous tins and boxes, it’s no surprise that the brand’s mooncake offerings are equally elegant and infused with some of its aromatic tea blends. What’s unique is that the chefs create each mooncake by hand in a traditional manner — using wooden moulds, instead of mass production — so every piece is painstakingly crafted with minor “imperfections”, such as a heart that isn’t right smack in the centre of the pastry. This year, the brand is serving four baked and four snowskin mooncakes that come in an elegant Moon Route Tea Mooncake gift box.

  • TWG Tea mooncake

    1. Jewel

    What is it: Brown lotus paste is infused with its Chocolate Tea (that comes with real chocolate bits!) and peppered with chocolate chips and crumble. It’s wrapped in a chocolate crust that’s baked to perfection and brushed with a sugar glaze, resulting in a delicious deep brown hue.

    Our view: Those looking to watch their weight will be glad to know that it’s not particularly sweet. The chocolate notes are not strong — you get just a hint of it with some chewing, but that is enhanced thanks to the addition of chocolate chips, which adds a nice crunchy texture as well. The crust feels a tad thick so it’s richer and slightly heavier than the other offerings, which means a quarter at a time is probably enough for an after-dinner snack.

    Rating: 3.5/5

Available from Aug 8 to Sept 13 at all TWG Tea Salons & Boutiques in Singapore and TWG Tea e-Boutique at (self-collection at selected TWG Tea Salons & Boutiques). A set of two mooncakes paired with Moon Route Tea in the Haute Couture Tea Collection® is S$70, while a set of four mooncakes is S$60. Individual mooncakes are S$16.

Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza

Cantonese restaurant Wan Hao has prepared 11 mooncake creations that range from timeless classics to unique flavours that are the brainchild of executive Chinese chef Brian Wong. Each piece is also meticulously handcrafted, and both the baked and snowskin varieties have no added preservatives or artificial flavouring. This year, the mooncakes come in a chic two-tier Chinese cabinet with gold coloured knobs and ring holders and floral motifs that exudes a graceful, oriental vibe.

  • Mooncake

    5. Golden Red Date Baked Mooncakes with Pistachio, Jambon de Bayonne, Sesame & Salted Egg (S$238)

    What is it: This premium pastry has a light sprinkle of gold dust over its crust and is available only as a premium gift set. A set of four comes in a luxurious two-tier, gold satin chest box that is accompanied with a bottle of Chateau Rieussec Cru Classé Sauternes, France 2015 (375ml) and sets you back S$238. Each mooncake’s lotus paste incorporates pistachio, Jambon de Bayonne, sesame and salted egg.

    Our view: It’s a full-bodied, super rich offering that would appeal to those who are looking for something out of the ordinary. The heady, sweet fragrance of red dates is juxtaposed with the savoury smokiness of the slightly-chewy cured ham, resulting in a unique, layered flavour profile with complex textures that’s enhanced by the crunchy pistachios. Some say this is reminiscent of herbal soup while others say it’s like sticky date pudding. Whatever it is, it’s sure to be a conversation starter.

    Rating: 3.2/5

Available from Aug 8 to Sept 13 at Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, Singapore 238865. Pre-order online at www.singaporemarriott.com/mooncakes or call 6831 4708. Alternatively, drop by at the hotel’s Forecourt Stall (by the hotel entrance).

Janice Wong

Janice Wong’s offering this year is a unique twist to the Chinese festival snack. Her limited-edition Mooncake Box Set (S$65) showcases Japanese flavoured mooncakes, with each piece celebrating key ingredients from nine different prefectures in Japan. Housed in a pretty blue box, the nine snowskin mooncakes have distinctive and unique ingredients that were personally sourced by Janice herself, who travelled to each prefecture to get them. They include kinako (roasted soy flour) from Hokkaido, ume (Asian plum) from Wakayama, hojicha (roasted Japanese green tea) from Kyoto and chestnut from Kumamoto.

  • Mooncake Janice Wong

    9. Ume from Wakayama

    Our view: If you want something that is completely out of the ordinary and different from the usual mouthfeel, this would be it. Boasting complex flavours and a light aftertaste of salty preserved plum that is not too overpowering, it’s a pleasant and light option for an after dinner treat.

    Rating: 3.2/5

Available for pre-order online at www.janicewong.online. Orders reaching S$300 and above will receive free delivery.

The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore

Known for its exquisite mooncake cases, this year you’d be spoilt for choice. Go for traditional baked mooncakes such as White Lotus Seed Paste with Double Yolk, White Lotus Seed Paste, and the new White Lotus Seed Paste with Black Sesame, which are presented in a luxe red box, or get the hotel’s contemporary snowskin mooncakes, such as the Orangetini, ‘Mao Shan Wang’ Durian mooncake, or Mini Snowskin Green Tea, that come in a chic gold box. Both of them feature a magnetic top and front flaps which open up to reveal a magnetic desk calendar, a miniature photo frame, and a three-slot pen holder. It also has four side drawers. These will serve you in good stead as a stationery or makeup box on your office desk.

  • Ritz-Carlton mooncake

    12. Orangetini Snowskin Martini Mooncake

    What is it: This is a new flavour this year, and is a cocktail concoction of chocolate, orange zest and liqueur. It comes in a box of eight (S$78), four of which are Orangetini mooncakes and the other four Lycheetini mooncakes.

    Our view: The orange flavour is light and subtle, but has a nice zesty kick to it. The thickness and texture of the snowskin is just right — not too floury, light, melts in your mouth. But people who prefer a stronger alcohol taste may find this falling short a tad because the liquor wasn’t as punchy as expected.

    Rating: 3.2/5

Visit www.rcmooncake.com.sg, call 6434 5190, or email rc.sinrz.mooncakes@ritzcarlton.com to make an order.

(RELATED: Wine and mooncake pairings for a boozy Mid-autumn Festival)

Jade Restaurant, The Fullerton Hotels Singapore

The Jade Originals Mooncake Collection this year comes in either an auspicious red or an elegant turquoise gift box that are adorned with ornamental jade and Oriental motifs. Besides the local-inspired flavours (which we will be reviewing below), there are also other flavours such as the Fullerton Golden Custard Mini Mooncakes, a combination of savoury salted egg yolk and sweet custard encased in light butter pastry; and the White Lotus Seed Paste with Egg Yolk Snow Skin Mooncake, which features a smooth salty-sweet white lotus seed paste. A new addition is the Mixed Nuts with Dried Apricot Baked Mooncake, a rich medley of almonds, walnuts and pine nuts studded with morsels of dried apricot and encased in a baked pastry, if you’re into something healthier.

  • Fullerton mooncake

    14. Ondeh Ondeh Snow Skin Mooncake (S$62 for classic box and S$73 for premium box)

    What is it: Encased in an adorable orangey-brown snowskin is the trinity of coconut, gula melaka and pandan — a taste profile which is inspired by the iconic flavours of the beloved ondeh ondeh kueh.

    Our view: The pandan-infused lotus paste is thankfully not too sweet, as it balances out the punchy sugary aftertaste delivered by the gula melaka centre. Flecks of coconut flakes give each bite a nice crunch so the mooncake is not too one-dimensional. Definitely a crowd pleaser.

    Rating: 4/5

Available from July 30 to Sept 13 at The Fullerton Cake Boutique, The Fullerton Hotels Singapore, 1 Fullerton Square, Singapore 049178. Call 6877 8943, email fullertonshop@fullertonhotels.com or visit its online store at shop.fullertonhotels.com to order.

Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore

Handcrafted by the culinary team of the award-winning cantonese restaurant, the mooncakes this year are housed in an intricate blue lattice patterned box. Unlike other cases, there’s also a fascinating augmented reality portion called “Coming Together” you’d enjoy with your mooncake box. Designed by young visual artists from The Business Times Budding Artists Fund (BT BAF), your box turns into a lovely art piece, where against a backdrop of gentle falling petals, children play and families meet under a brightly lit moon (you’d have to download Artivive, a free app from the Apple or Google store to see the box come alive). 

  • Li Bai mooncake

    17. Mini Snow Skin Chia Seed Dark Chocolate (S$68 per box of eight)

    What is it: In a nice shade of jade green, this new flavour features a core made of bitter sweet dark chocolate that is generously studded with chia seeds.

    Our view: We were expecting something a little richer and more intense, but the end product fell just short of delivering that punch as the chocolate felt underwhelming. That said, it features a melt-in-your-mouth tender snowskin and the chia seeds gave a light crunchy texture that was surprisingly satisfying.

    Rating: 3.3/5

Available from Aug 1 to Sept 13, at Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore, or lobby level booth, 39 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228230. Call 6839 5636/5623, email mooncake@sheratonsingapore.com or visit http://shopatsheraton.oddle.me for orders.

Summer Palace, The Regent Singapore

The creations this year are housed in a unique vertical box that takes inspiration from the structure of the hotel’s bubble lifts – its most distinct feature within the John Portman-designed atrium. Another interesting feature of the sturdy red box is that it sports the same gold Oriental panels seen in Summer Palace. The doors of the box close via a bronze lock that adds a luxe factor. Besides the gorgeous eight-piece Snowskin Collection, the hotel also has traditional baked offerings, with flavours such as the usual White Lotus Paste with Single/Double Yolk and Melon Seeds and Parma Ham and Pork Floss with Assorted Nuts.

  • Regent Singapore mooncake

    19. Truffle Carbonara (part of the eight-piece Regent Snowskin Collection, S$84.50 per box)

    What is it: Italian restaurant Basilico’s Executive Chef Angelo Ciccone reimagined one of its bestsellers, the Truffle Carbonara, to come up with this unique spin to a snowskin mooncake. Sporting unique black striations across a bright yellow snowskin mooncake, it combines the aromatic black truffle with silky smooth cream cheese.

    Our view: The flavours sound extremely fascinating, but it can be quite a shock to the system for those not accustomed to such unconventional flavours. Be warned: It’s for someone with really adventurous tastebuds. The truffle flavour is strong, delivering a kick that is heightened by the savoury cream cheese. It’s nothing like what we’ve ever tried before, but we personally found it too overpowering for our liking.

    Rating: 3/5

Available from Aug 8 to Sept 13 at Regent Singapore Lobby Booth, Level 1, or Summer Palace, Level 3, 1 Cuscaden Road, Singapore 249715. Call 6725 3288, email foodbeverage@regentsingapore.com.sg or visit shop.regentsingapore.com.sg to order.

Feng Shui Inn

Created by Executive Chef Li Kwok Kwong, this new offering from Feng Shui Inn at Resorts World Sentosa was inspired by the molten lava mooncake which was first made popular in Hong Kong before becoming all the rage throughout Asia.

Resorts World Sentosa mooncake

22. Crispy White Lotus Custard Milk Mooncake (S$78 per box of six)

What is it: Instead of the usual baked skin or snowskin, Chef Li has encased the rich liquid goodness of salted egg yolk within a round crispy pastry shell — its shape a nod to the harvest moon’s symbolic representation of family unity and completeness.

Our view: It’s a messy affair when you indulge in this mooncake, with flaky pastry and sesame seed flying everywhere as you try to cut into its spherical shape (it’s too big to simply pop the whole thing into your mouth too). But Feng Shui Inn’s unique twist to the traditional mooncake offerings gets the thumbs up, as we love the buttery crispy skin that’s not too chunky. It cradles the highlight of the pastry — a salty, creamy molten egg yolk and not-too-sweet white lotus paste. The taste is familiar but not entirely usual, thanks to the nuanced flavours of custard, coconut milk and salted butter that is well balanced with that of the savoury sesame seeds.

Rating: 4.3/5

Available from Aug 16 to Sept 13, while stocks last, at Feng Shui Inn, Crockfords Tower, Level G2, Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098138. Call 6577 6599, email FengShuiInn@rwsentosa.com, or visit www.rwsentosa.com/mooncakes2019 to make your orders. 

Crowne Plaza® Changi Airport

If the splendid mooncake boxes delight you every year as much as what’s in them, then Crowne Plaza® Changi Airport’s gorgeous case might just be the one to tickle your fancy. The hotel’s mooncake offerings this year come in a limited edition travel-themed suitcase — a sturdy and adorable trunk that is in a vibrant shade of plum and gives off a retro chic vibe, thanks to its brown trimming and gold hardware. Bonus: The inserts can be removed so you can reuse it to store your jewellery or as a handy purse on the weekends. Its mooncake flavours are not lacking in ingenuity either. For baked mooncakes, besides the usual traditional offerings, there’s also the White Lotus Paste with Jackfruit (real juicy jackfruit bits included) and Black Sesame Paste with Melon Seeds which comes with a sprinkle of gold dust at the top. Snow skin mooncakes are even more intriguing, with each box containing four tea-infused flavours — Chrysanthemum with Winter Melon Bits, Red Date with Wolfberries, Earl Grey with Tapioca Pearls and Matcha with Adzuki Beans.

  • Crowne Plaza mooncake

    23. Earl Grey with Tapioca Pearls (part of a box of four assorted flavours at $85)

    What is it: As its name suggests, this creative flavour is in a gorgeous lavender shade, with earl grey infused lotus paste and tapioca pearls (yes, the bubble tea ones) housed within the pastry.

    Our view: We were really excited to hear about this flavour, because hello, pearls in our mooncake and earl grey flavour? Yes please! It’s a dream come true for earl grey milk tea fanatics. Sadly, although the flecks of tea can be clearly seen in the lotus paste, the earl grey flavour was so faint we were hard-pressed to taste it. The chewy, addictive pearls were also not as generously peppered in the mooncake as we had hoped. That said, the snowskin was one of the best we’ve tried: It’s silky smooth and so thin it’s almost translucent.

    Rating: 3.3/5

Available till Sept 13 at the Lobby Lounge in Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, 75 Airport Blvd, #01-01, Singapore 819664. Collection of mooncakes will be from Aug 13 to Sept 13. Traditional baked mooncakes are available in a box of four from S$70 to $88 while snow skin mooncakes are available in a box of four at $85. Call 6823 5367 between 9am and 7pm, email LobbyLounge.cpca@ihg.com or visit bit.ly/cp-mooncakes-estore to order. 

The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore

This hotel’s first foray into mooncakes is led and crafted by Hong Kong Chef Alvin Leung, who has been nicknamed The Demon Chef and has four Michelin stars under his belt. The mooncake range includes classics such as white lotus seed paste with egg yolks and American fig mooncakes.

The signature offering this year is the Mini Theatre Combo set, which comprises four mini mooncakes each of the Mini Golden Corn and Caramel Mixed Nuts in a box.

Mooncake

26. Mini Theatre Combo Set (S$68 per box of eight)

What is it: Traditional baked mooncakes with caramel mixed nuts or golden corn fillings.

Our view: For traditionalists who want to toe the line this Mid Autumn Festival, this combo set will tickle your tastebuds. The caramel mixed nuts mooncakes struck a good balance between chewiness and crunchiness, and the caramel added a pleasant burnt sugar taste. The golden corn mooncakes was reminiscent of traditional plain lotus seed mooncakes, but with a fragrant corn taste that added dimension to the taste. Both had thin, evenly baked skin, retained a traditional taste, and just the right amount of sweetness that would appeal to a large audience.

Rating: 4/5

Available from Aug 16 to Sept 13, while stocks last, at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, 15 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906. Call 6715 6871, email reservation.15stamford@kempinski.com to make your orders. 

Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore

Shang Palace’s mooncake offerings this year come in pretty metal floral tins — tiffany blue for its new dual-flavour Mini Snowskin Mooncakes and crimson for its limited edition Hong Kong-style Mini Baked Custard with Bird’s Nest. Both tins sport delicately placed sweet blossoms on the lids, and make a great gift for both friends/family and business associates. There’s also the Shang Palace Four Treasures which includes, apart from the usual single/double yolks in lotus paste, a Mixed Nuts with Chicken Ham. These are presented in a gorgeous case covered in fine silk-satin of a rich red hue, with embroidered floral patterns, two drawers and a mirror.

  • Shangri-La mooncake

    27. Kaya Truffle Snowskin Mooncakes (Four pieces, part of a box of eight Mini Snowskin Mooncakes, $80)

    What is it: The highlight of this mooncake is the house-made kaya, made fresh in-house with coconut, gula melaka, and eggs. The silky smooth, not-too-sweet kaya paste is hidden within a delicate white chocolate shell that’s nestled within a reduced-sugar white lotus paste.

    Our view: We give this flavour two thumbs up for its creativity, not to mention its taste. Instead of infusing the kaya flavour within the lotus paste — and running the risk of it getting lost — the chefs chose to “reveal” it by infusing it within a white chocolate case. The result: A satisfying kick as you bite into the shell and feel the rush of oozing kaya flowing into your mouth. The burst of flavour, not to mention the various textures blending in together, makes this one of the more refreshing ones we’ve tasted so far.

    Rating: 4.5/5

Available from July 9 to Sept 13, at lobby level, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350. Call 6213 4398/6213 4473 or email dining.sls@shangri-la.com to order.

Antoinette

Antoinette is known for its pretty packaging and even prettier pastries, so it’s no surprise its mooncakes are the same. There are three traditional baked favourites on offer: The Salted Yolk Hae Bee Hiam, Single Yolk and Double Yolk, concealed in a charming pastel pink box that sports its iconic logo in the centre surrounded by gorgeous florals. There is also an assortment of mini snowskin mooncakes with four flavours  Salted Yolk Truffle, Crunchy Chocolate Pearls, Ondeh Ondeh and the new Peach Truffle.

Antoinette mooncake

29. Salted Yolk Hae Bee Hiam (S$60+ per box of four)

What is it: A sweet, spicy and savoury pastry with a housemade hae bee hiam and salted egg centre, encased within a smooth low-sugar white lotus paste with pumpkin seeds.

Our view: A savoury mooncake with the taste of spicy dried shrimp? We have to admit, we were apprehensive when we had to try it. Surprise surprise, this turned out to be very palatable. Kudos to the chef: The hae bee hiam was deftly infused into the salted egg yolk and was so well-balanced with the sweet lotus paste and salty powdery yolk that you get just a hint of hae bee hiam with every bite. But it’s aromatic and spicy enough for you to want to reach for another piece. This is a unique flavour done right.

Rating: 4/5

Available at 30 Penhas Road, Singapore 208188, and #01-28, Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039596. Call 6293 3121 or visit www.antoinette.com.sg/mooncake2019 to order.

Hilton Singapore

Choose between a retro yet elegant four-tier tiffin-style carrier that sports bold floral motifs, or go for the limited edition luxurious designer handbag packaging that sports bamboo handle and a chinoiserie wrapping of oriental graphics and floral motif, to make your gifting this year a conversation-starter. Golden baked mooncakes include the usual traditional ones as well as a wholesome purple sweet potato with walnuts mooncake and the hotel’s new creation, the citrus peel apricot with white lotus mooncake. Snow skin offerings include blueberry cheesecake, passion fruit with mint snowskin mooncake, lychee chocolate truffle and dark chocolate with crunchy pearl snowskin mooncake.

  • Hilton mooncake

    30. Blueberry Cheesecake ($66 for a box of eight)

    What is it: A new flavour from the hotel, this East-meets-West deep purple creation is inspired by the hotel’s popular American cheesecake.

    Our view: You get a whiff of blueberry almost instantly, once you’ve taken this adorable mini mooncake out of its packaging (which is just the right size of a mid-day snack, might we add). The cheesecake filling is just right — creamy, not too overpowering and not too sweet. One drawback is its skin, which is slightly thicker than most and flakes off from its filling. Still, it’s an enjoyable dessert that most would love.

    Rating: 3.8/5

Available from Aug 10 to Sept 13 at D9 Cakery, Lobby Level, Hilton Singapore, 581 Orchard Road, Singapore 238883. Visit www.hiltonsingaporerestaurants.com/offers, call 6730 3392, or email D9Cakery@hilton.com to order.

Goodwood Park Hotel

Besides the usual traditional baked favourites, the hotel’s repertoire this year is a range of tropical-based — Mango with Pomelo, Cempedak, D24 Durian, and new flavour Kiwi Dragonfruit Manuka Honey — snowskin mooncakes, a premium black and white coloured duo of ‘Mao Shan Wang’ and Black Thorn Durian snowskin mooncakes that are bursting with luscious pulp of the beloved fruit and a gorgeous Blue Pea Flower with White Lotus Seed Paste and Melon Seeds snowskin mooncake. They are presented in an elegant yellow hard box that’s embossed with intricate golden peonies.

  • Mooncake

    33. Kiwi Dragonfruit Manula Honey (S$36 for two pieces, S$56 for four pieces. Also available as part of the Snowskin Combo, S$66 for four different flavours)

    What is it: Encased within a pretty pastel pink snowskin with a light dusting of gold flakes is a tangy kiwi puree with fresh dragon fruit cubes that is enhanced with maunka honey.

    Our view: If you like your mooncake slightly sweet with a tinge of sour, and your snowskin to be so powdery soft it falls apart in your mouth, this one ticks the right boxes. The puree’s creamy, ice-cream-like consistency is pleasant and the kiwi seeds peppered throughout give it a nice crunchy bite.

    Rating: 3.8/5

Available from Aug 8 to Sept 13 at The Deli, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Rd, Singapore 228221. Call 6730 1868 (general enquiries) or 6730 1867 (corporate enquiries) from 9am to 7pm (Mondays to Fridays) and 9am to 1pm (Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays), visit http://festivepromotions.goodwoodparkhotel.com or email the order form (available at the hotel or at www.goodwoodparkhotel.com) to: mooncake@goodwoodparkhotel.com to order. The last pre-order date is 6 September 2019, 5pm. 

(RELATED: The most luxurious mooncakes this season)