Excuse the irony, but it’s the dawn of mooncake season. With the Mid-Autumn Festival less than a month away, there’ll be plenty of these sweet-savoury moon-shaped morsels to go around the Earth. Modern mooncakes have also seen an uprising in recent years, with chefs such as Andy Foo of Grand Hyatt Singapore, and Nicky Ng of Mitzo, continuing to raise the ante in creativity.
But while Ng’s creations of avant-garde mille-feuille-styled mooncakes still encase long-lived recipes of sweet paste balanced with savoury egg yolk, the modern mooncakes on offer around town, including the ones available at Grand Hyatt Singapore’s mezza9, are refreshing treats with 21st century flavours that incorporate trendy ingredients. You’ll taste superfoods such as acai berry and Trigona honey; quality tea and rye whiskey too — and oh boy, there’s also truffle oil. But if you happen to be a manic purist, not to worry: Most restaurants continue to sell the orthodox kinds over the counter.
Foo shares, “While snowskin mooncakes have given pastry chefs the opportunity to be bold and creative with our flavours, traditional mooncakes will always be the centrepiece of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Each mooncake variant requires different finishing — refreshing flavours for snowskin mooncakes and the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness for traditional mooncakes. Most importantly, all mooncakes must be handmade with the highest quality ingredients to ensure we preserve the authentic taste and texture, which is why we have been making mooncakes by hand at Grand Hyatt Singapore for almost 20 years.”
Even overseas chefs like Melissa Chou, who’s presided over pastries at San Francisco, have lent their confectionary competencies to local establishments. Chou worked closely with The St. Regis Singapore’s Yan Ting’s pastry and dim sum chef Vanessa Cai to create masterfully melded new flavours. And while the Cali girl says she likes traditional mooncakes, it’s all love for the modern ones. “They’re light and I love the soft chewy texture of the snowskins, and the possibilities for fillings are endless and delicious.”
But whether you are the die-hard, filling-must-be-lotus, green bean-, or yam-paste-type of mooncake-eater, or you’re someone who look forward to more exotic combinations, we list the best in mooncake-making this year — an equal mix of modern and traditional ones offered by some of Singapore’s best restaurants and chefs.