Mooncake Festival this year falls on September 19th (Thursday). If you’ve been anywhere near the hotels, malls and chinese restaurants, I have no doubt that you have been marketed to or fed mooncakes by that particular retailer. It’s almost impossible to avoid the mooncake craze in Singapore. The flavors used to be very “traditional”. Lotus seed paste with melon seed (now quite a rarity). Lotus seed paste with single/double/quadruple yolk(s). Assorted nuts and ham. Now, there are so many varieties that if we brought an ancient Chinese person from many dynasties ago back to life, he’d be surprised and spoilt for choice. Pastry chefs vying to outdo one another became more creative. Snowskin mooncakes became a raging success, these unbaked chilled mooncakes are closer to ice-cream in texture and are more delicate. This paved the way for increasingly dessert like creations, such as durian mooncake, cempadak mooncake, sesame, yam mooncake etc.
At Goodwood Hotel, it wasn’t just durian mooncakes. It was Mao Shan Wang Mooncake, or D24 mooncake, Red Prawn, D88 or Butter mooncake. Perhaps this pastry chef is from Penang, or perhaps the Goodwood received many guests from Penang. They’ve been offering these for a few years and I guess it’s proved popular, most probably as gifts.
The coloring differentiates the flavors, I thought it was an interesting choice by the chef to make the Mao Shan Wang an almost ivory white, the D24 a golden yellow and the Red Prawn, well, Red. (If you’re a regular durian consumer, you would know that real MSW’s are always rich yellow in color, more so than the D24’s. Maybe a lighter color denotes a more delicate taste and price). Anyway, I reckon they attached a scarcity value to the mooncakes and made them great gifts. They were flying off the shelves into little cool packs when I was there on Saturday afternoon. People in the queue ahead of me were purchasing five or six boxes at a go. I didn’t observe anyone buying the giant versions though. At around SGD 90 per box (no discounts even if you hold a Citibank card), you’d better be sharing it with someone special. *Many other hotel/restaurants have also followed suit and are offering durian based mooncakes. I admit that I would prefer to eat the fruit unadulterated.