6 Mooncake Tips From The Experts

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6 Mooncake Tips From The Experts

Have you ever stepped into a mooncake fair and felt overwhelmed by the endless rows of mooncakes, enthusiastic sellers and a hypnotic mix of colourful packaging? Let’s turn those fears into excitement as we reveal all you need to know about mooncakes from one of Singapore’s most reputable mooncake experts, Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

Can’t make up your mind at mooncake fairs? No worries! We bring you an inside scoop on how to select the best mooncakes for your loved ones from one of Singapore’s most reputable mooncake connoisseurs. They are the specialists in traditional mooncakes - Mandarin Orchard Singapore and their executive Sous Chef, Liew Tian Heong.

Tips and Tricks from Chef Liew, Mandarin Orchard Singapore: 
Mandarin Orchard’s philosophy is about respecting classic mooncake recipes and traditional baking methods. According to the 2011-2013 Gold winner of the Hospitality Asia Platform Awards (HAPA), Master Chef in the Asian Cuisine category, understanding the delicate process of making mooncakes will help you choose the best quality and tastiest mooncakes. These are his top six tips on what you should look out for!

  1. Taste the Lotus Paste  Traditional mooncakes like Mandarin Orchard’s Baked Mooncake with Single or Double Yolk and White Lotus Paste should be made of high-quality lotus paste. Who knew that like Durians, lotus paste also have different grades! He tells us that top-grade lotus paste should be smooth and not too sticky or heavy on the palate. 
  2. Look for the Shine If they have been baked right, traditional mooncakes actually release a little bit of oil creating a drool-worthy shine on the skin. For this to happen, the pastries have to be cured for two days after baking. This ensures they are perfectly moist and soft before being packaged. So do look out for a little glossiness inside the mooncake and from the egg as well.
  3. Thinner Skin, More Filling The Mandarin Orchard mooncake philosophy, which has been upheld throughout their 40 years of mooncake crafting, is to make them with perfectly thin skin. So make sure that you can see the filling through the skin, as this generally means that there’s more filling.  
  4. Natural Golden Goodness If you are buying mooncakes for your grandparents, in-laws or true lovers of the traditional, make sure the skin has a natural caramel-golden colour. If the darker brown colour is slightly uneven, no worries as it indicates that the pastries are turned in the oven by hand, rather than automatically, to ensure an even bake.

  5. A Salty Sweet Balance Although an expert in traditional mooncakes, Chef Liew also advises that for snow skin varieties, look out for the right balance between salty and sweet. For example, his Mini Snowskin Lychee Martini and Chocolate Mooncakes have this multi-dimensional flavour profile where the sweet, creamy Lychee Martini filling balances so harmoniously with the luscious salted white chocolate centre. And yet, the most pleasant surprise comes after, when you get a playful martini tap-dance on your taste buds! So don’t go for the snow skin mooncakes that are just sweet sweet sweet! Similarly, his Mini Snow Skin Yam and Yam Paste mooncakes feature a naturally sweet and fresh Teochew Yam paste that is balanced perfectly with a salted chocolate truffle centre. Yam lovers, watch out!
  6. A Longer Life One of the most useful tips is to ask about shelf-life. A high-quality traditional mooncake, like Mandarin Orchard’s baked mooncakes can be kept for more than two weeks at room temperature. Perfect for those who like to revel in the slow sweet enjoyment of every bite.

Chef’s recommendations 

So to make your life a little easier, Chef Liew has some recommendations that we can safely say are well-worth your money:
  1. For clients, family and older generation: Top picks are the Baked Mooncake with Double Yolk and White Lotus Paste and the Baked Mooncake with Single Yolk and White Lotus Paste. These easy-to-keep and long-life classics have been Mandarin Orchard’s best-sellers amongst their regulars for years! 
  2. For non-sugar fans: Baked Mooncake with Mixed Nuts and Jamón Ibérico is a scrumptious savoury delight. One of Mandarin Orchard’s signature pieces, it’s an intriguing harmony of herbs and spices, sweet melon, salty Ibérico ham, crunchy rich cashew and walnut textures, and a fragrant hint of lime. 
  3. For the adventurous: Go for the newest Mini Snow Skin Red Wine Cranberry Paste and Yuzu Lemongrass mooncake. This exotic wonder is light and citrusy, like a soft dreamy pillow on your tongue.
We hope that you will use these tips at the fairs this Mid-Autumn Festival and buy mooncakes that will surely put a smile on the faces of your loved ones! So visit our fairs and do not be shy to find out if your mooncakes are worthy. 

For more tips and tricks from Bakerzin in Part Two of our mooncake expert guide, stay tuned to this website!

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