This year, I sampled mooncakes from 41 establishments (see the bottom for a list of the establishments). From each establishment, I ate 2 to 8 flavors. Let’s say I tried an average of 3.5 flavors. That makes it 144 mooncakes! There goes my hourglass figure.
Since I tried so many, I notice a trend this year: (1) passion fruit, (2) mango, (3) osmanthus, (4) pandan, and (5) the rise of Teochew mooncakes.
In no particular order, these are the best:
Best Traditional Mooncake
Li Bai 李白 (Sheraton Towers)
The first bite of Li Bai’s traditional mooncake runs through my memory, bringing me back to my childhood days of carrying paper lanterns in a playground of a dragon. In them, I taste nostalgia. $63 onwards for a box of 4.
Mei-Xin 香港美心月饼, and Kee Wah 奇华
I don’t like Hong Kong food, they are too traditional (boring), too oily, and one-dimensional. I am surprised to find myself liking these two brands from Hong Kong. On hindsight, for mooncakes, being traditional works. Mei Xin $43 onwards, Kee Wah $50 onwards. Kee Wah is available only at Takashimaya fair (7 Aug-8 Sept). Enquiries: 9005 8118, firstname.lastname@example.org
Best Traditional Mooncake with a Twist
Mooncake festival is the most profitable Chinese holiday in Singapore, even more profitable than Chinese New Year. And SQ wants a piece of the
pie mooncake. SQ isn’t doing so well financially that they have to expand, huh? But the handpicked osmanthus with crispy Japanese plum is the most fragrant of osmanthus mooncakes I’ve tasted. Not bad for a newcomer. $68 for a box.
I’m prejudiced against TWG because of the false advertising. But TWG is the only brand that remains from the Best Mooncakes 2011 list, attesting to how fantastic they are. Their mooncakes, made from tea, are redolent of its sweet fragrant. Got 茶香味, should go very well with a dark tea, not a floral tea. Recommended: Red lantern tea-flavored and Emperor tea-flavored. $60 a box. Available at their outlets. T: 6733 7997, email: Sales@TWGTea.com.
Best Durian Mooncake
Tam Kah 谭家
That’s right, Tam Kah is the seafood delicacies restaurant that I used to visit regularly. Their mao shan wang mooncakes are surprisingly robust, and bittersweet, unexpectedly beating hot favorites of mine like Four Seasons Durian and Goodwood Park. (To be fair, Goodwood Park has 7 flavors of durian mooncakes, but unfortunately, when I was going around to sample, only 1 was available, and it wasn’t of good quality.) $43 for box of 4.
Best Alcoholic Mooncake
The grand marnier chocolate doesn’t have a strong alcoholic taste, but this is nostalgic for me. When I was young, I only got to eat orange chocolate during Chinese New Year. Thus, this reminds me of festivity and holidays. $60 for box of 8.
Baker’s Well is a small independent bakery along East Coast Road. The champagne truffle snowskin has a fizz, just like drinking champagne. $60 for box of 8. T: 9731 2644
Summer Pavilion 夏苑 (Ritz-Carlton)
Snowskin lycheetini. $66 for box of 4 big pieces, or $51 for 6 mini.
Best Savory Mooncake
Chyn Nonya Cakes 真真
Unique mooncakes that taste like pies. Eucommia (herb) chicken floss mooncake (left) has salted bean paste, topped with pecan. Blooming mooncake is made of salted bean paste, mushrooms, scallops, and chicken, like a chicken pie. Emperor snow lotus mooncake is topped with sunflower seeds on its pastry skin, tasted savory too. $48 a box. T: 6556 1311.
Amethyst Pastry & Cakes
Their sugar-free white lotus walnut mooncake, or known to some people as Shanghai mooncake, tastes like gai zhai peng.
Best Vegetarian Mooncake
Paradise Group 乐天
The pure white lotus mooncake is smooth, and not-so-sweet, and still as good as, or even better than other mooncakes. $54 for a box of 4.
Best Teochew Mooncake
Park Hotel Group
I had a hard time deciding which category to place Palace Park. It has one of the best themes this year: gems. The snowskin mooncakes sparkle like precious stones, glamoruxurious, but, in the end, for me, substance is more important than style. Their signature Teochew mooncakes with flakey pastry skin are a little oily, but delicious. I prefer the new creation pumpkin to the traditional yam because it has a pleasant but not cloying sweetness. But you have to eat them quickly in case they lao hoong. $62 onwards for a box.
Long Jiang 龙江
Not sure if this is the defunct Long Jiang Seafood at Commonwealth but this Long Jiang mixes yam with coconut, giving it a special aroma, and undercutting the excessive sweetness of yam. Word of advice, Long Jiang: it’s 2014. Get your act together, and get online. $58 for a box. T: 6879 1418. Available at Takashimaya 7 Aug-8 Sept.
Best Packaging (for gifts and corporate)
Li Bai 李白
I try not to repeat the restaurants on this list but Li Bai’s box is just too auspicious, festive, and chio. The box, red embossed with gold, is opened by folding the sides outwards. I’m keeping the box to store my precioussss. $63 onwards for a box of 4.
Royal China at Raffles 皇朝
I don’t like mooncake boxes with pull-out drawers because they look like Chinese medicinal cabinet–inauspicious. The elongated bricklike box makes it look like a coffin. But that blue! that azure! so hypnotizing and posh. The stunning, bright color and luxurious satin material save the box; nobody can mistake that for grief. If a company receives one hundred different boxes of mooncakes, Royal China will stand out. Like presents under a Christmas tree, the most eyecatching is the most desirable. $56 onwards for a box. T: 6338 3363 Email: email@example.com
While other restaurants focus on the box, Cookie Museum focuses on both the box and the mooncakes. I am awestruck to see a mooncake that looks like jade. The box mimics a thick hardcover book with a Victorian lady, quaint. If you’re James Bond, you can hide a gun inside and keep the box amidst your books on the bookshelf. If you’re giving away mooncakes as corporate gifts, this one says quirky, bold, cheeky, and dare to be different. Best for people in design industry. $65 onwards.
List of mooncakes I tried: Amethyst Pastry & Cakes, Bake Inc, Baker’s Well, Bakerzin, Bengawan Solo, Bread Junction, Chyn Nonya Cakes, Cookie Museum, D’bun, East Ocean, Four Seasons, Fullerton Hotel, Garden Pastry & Cake, Gin Thye, Grand Hyatt, Goodwood Park Hotel, Home’s Favorite, Hua Ting (Orchard Hotel), Kee Wah (Hong Kong), Jiang Nan Chun (Four Seasons Hotel), Kwong Cheong Thye, Lavender, Li Bai (Sheraton Towers) , Long Jiang, Mei Xin 美心 (Hong Kong), Minamoto Kitchoan (Japan), Paradise Group, Park Hotel Group, Peony Jade, Royal China, Season 时新, Singapore Airlines, Sucre, Summer Pavilion (Ritz Carlton Hotel), Tai Thong, Tam Kah, Tunglok, TWG, Wing Wah, Yes Natural Vegetarian, Zhen Wei Taste Good.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
ps: Images shown are attributed to their respective companies. Thanks, Bakerzin, Hua Ting, Li Bai, Park Hotel Group, and Sucre, for the complimentary mooncakes.
Categories: 1. Cuisine
Nice list. When I read the title I immediately thought of Bengawan Solo, but I guess they didn’t make your top list, even though you tried them. And I am curious: Singapore Airlines? Do you mean in flight or in the lounges?
Yeah, Bengawan didn’t make the list.
I think you can order online or inflight and SIA will deliver to a Singapore address only. Here is their statement, which is a little confusing: http://www.singaporeair.com/jsp/cms/en_UK/press_release_news/ne140714.jsp
Hi, is the Tam Kah Durain mooncake really that good? Interested to try but scare will get disppointed ….hmmm…any idea if their mooncakes are made locally?
I sampled several durian ones and liked Tam Kah best. But my friend tasted it too and she said it isn’t gao (thick) enough for her. Go sample it at the Takashimaya fair and let me know that you think. Sorry, don’t know if it’s made locally.
Had tried the Tam Kah durian mooncake over the weekend at Taka. I also felt that it’s not thick enough, still prefer Goodwood park. :p
Have you sampled Thye Moh Chan Traditional Teochew-style Mooncakes. It looks like a big Tau Sar Piah with a salted yolk. I was trying to look for feedbacks as my dad requested that me to buy the salted bean-mung mooncakes for him this year.
Hello. No haven’t tried yet. But I know the PR company doing the promotion and they are reliable. They only do PR for eateries with good standards. So go ahead and buy for your dad.
hi there, I went serangoon nex to try the tam kah durian mooncake, the price per box is $57 instead of the $43 for a box listed on your blog. when I asked the ‘auntie’ there, she was a bit unfriendly and said she doesn’t know and that if it is cheaper online, I can order online.
I tried the durian moon cake and feel it’s not as ‘gao’ as Marriott, InterCon & Peony Jade, though it really is not bad and is value for money. I will order a box online to try anyway. In the past (about 2 years ago) I felt prima dlei had really good durian mooncake too, wonder if you had tried :)
Yeah, everyone told me Tam Kah isn’t gao enough. But the one I sampled at Taka fair was really very gao. Maybe that auntie see me fat, give me a bigger part. Hahaha.
I think the $43 is an online price, and it’s for early bird. I dunno if they still have it. You can check their website.
I didn’t try the Prima Deli one. I’ll drop by their shop and try. Thanks for the recommendation!
Thank YOU for your recommendation! I love to discover unconventional things.
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You’re very welcome. :)
Do you know where i can get the traditional hei tou sha, black bean paste mooncakes, we had in Singapore in the 1980s and 90s. They sort of disappeared, and those red bean paste in black ink with the same name from malaysia, or those using longan, taste nothing like the real stuff we used to have
Do you know where i can get the traditional hei tou sha or black bean paste moon cakes? They sort of disappeared slowly over the years, then finally no one is doing. I have went around mooncake fairs with no luck. Then I tried buying from top moon cake makers in Malaysia, but none of their black-inked red bean paste or longan paste of the same name, are the right stuff which i ate in the 1980s and 90s. Can any real foodie tell me where i can buy real hei tou sha moon cake? Those we ate in the 80s and 90s
Typo, i mean Not* the right or same stuff i ate in the 80s and 90s
Can try the taka mooncake fair. They have many stores there but I dunno if the fair is over.
Nope, unfortunately I have already been to taka fair for the past few years, they don’t have it
Even thou whom label the same name, the ingredients is imitation made from red bean paste and the taste is totally different
It’s a pale comparison to the rich creaminess of the black bean paste
I think none of the new generation of foodies remember the taste of true black bean paste moon cake
I ate the black bean paste mooncake last year I think. Or the year before. I can’t remember where it’s from. Sorry. But good news is it’s certainly still around.
Sorry but i went taka fair almost every year, I asked almost store to store
The closest is red bean paste moon cake, or black bean paste moon cake but they used red bean paste and not black bean paste
Oh sorry. I wasn’t clear. I don’t mean I ate the black bean at the taka stalls. I mean my mother bought or some relative gave her.
I went taka moon cake fair for the past few years, from poey jade to Shanghai moon cakes , the closest I got was “black bean paste” moon cake which are made of red bean paste and not the real black paste we had in the 1980 and 90s
bengawan used to have them till 1999 to 2000, but they have stopped making them
I even asked store by store at the taka fair
I am grateful you replied to my questions but I tasted most of them but nothing come close
Have you ate the black bean paste traditional moon cake before in the 90s or not ?
If not we are not on the same topic