Original moon cakes in Beijing

Moon cake festival is there and you’ve probably received in the past week a couple of moon cake boxes from your suppliers or contractors… You may have already offered again this box… as many Chinese people do. You also know that you shouldn’t open the box and eat in front of the one who offered you the moon cakes (as you are supposed to share them with your family)…
We have reviewed for you the best places to buy moon cakes in Beijing, both for traditional ones and original ones.
And if you didn’t have the chance to check original flavors moon cakes, at least you are aware that besides the traditional moon cakes, that few people appreciate, there are also some interesting modern moon cakes!

Scout Real Estate team wish you a wonderful Mid-Autumn Festival!

A little bit of history

But first, let’s check the history about the moon-cake and the Mid-Autumn festival:

  • Mid-Autumn Festival: According to the tradition, the Chinese Emperor was offering sacrifices to the sun in spring and to the moon in autumn. The “Mid-Autumn” day is the 15th day of the 8th lunar month and this night is also called “Night of the Moon”. Since the Song Dynasty (420), this day is celebrated as the Mid-Autumn Festival.
  • Ming revolution: Mooncakes were used as a medium by the Ming rebels to secretly share instructions to attack the Mongolian during Yuan dynasty. This was how the Han Chinese revolt was coordinated on the 15th day of the eighth lunar month.

Traditional moon cake (月餅, yuè bĭng)

moon cake

Its round form is a disc representing the full moon. The cake consists of a pastry crust and a filling and it is about 10 cm diameter and 3–4 cm thickness.

The crust can be either moist and sticky or little flaky. In both case, the main ingredients are flour, sugar and oil.

Traditional fillings for Chinese Moon Cake are: Lotus seed paste (蓮蓉, lían róng), Sweet bean paste (豆沙, dòu shā), Jujube paste (棗泥, zǎo ní), Five kernel or Five Blessings (五仁, wǔ rén). Recipes vary from a region to another one, using sweet and savory fillings.

Original moon cakes

Overtime, in order to boost moon cake sales but also to match changing consumers’ taste preferences, diversifications have been introduced for booth crust and filling, as well as portion size.
First, new ingredients have been used for filling (taro paste, pineapple paste and durian paste). Nowadays, the list keeps growing with coffee, chocolate, nuts, fruits (prunes, pineapples, melons, lychees, berries… ), vegetables (sweet potatoes, purple potato…), cream cheese, green tea, pandan…
Non baked moon cakes also allowed changing the crust: chocolate, ice-cream, glutinous rice, jelly…

Producers also innovate on packaging.

Here are some examples of innovative moon cakes you can find in Beijing:

Four Seasons Beijing Chocolate Moon Cakes

  • In 2014, Four Seasons Beijing Hotel offers the “Or Noir Chocolate Mooncake Collection”, using a unique chocolate recipe.
    The range has 5 flavors: 5 Spice Or Noir, Or Noir Mango & Orange, Or Noir Citrus Fruit – Ginger, Oolong Tea, Milk & Honey.
    Tel: +86 (10) 5695 8532

 

  • east_hotel_mooncakesFor Mid-Autumn 2014 Festibal, East Hotel is offering “Cheesecake Not-Mooncakes” or mooncake-shaped cheesecakes.
    3 flavors available: raspberry, chocolate mouse and mango).
    Tel: +86 (10) 8414 9830.

 

  • Every year, Haagen Dazs is offering new flavors of ice cream mooncakes. In 2014, they offer My Love From the Stars (来自星星的你) megastar Kim Soo-hyun branded boxes. The ice-cream fillings include green tea, macadamia nut and classic vanilla.

 

  • cwh_xi_shi_yue_bing_At China World, you will find Sweet Spot’s mousse mooncakes.
    6 flavors available: very berry, blueberry cheese, vanilla green tea, mango passion fruit, black forest and cappuccino.
    108 RMB for 3 pieces.
    Tel: +86 (10) 6505 0885
    Jianguomen/Beijing Railway Station 建国门/北京站
    EB118, B1/F, China World Mall, 1 Jianguomenwai Dajie – Chaoyang District
    朝阳区, 建国门外大街1号国贸商城地下1层EB118
  • In Peninsula, moon cakes have a center made from egg custard, an original recipe from Chef Yip Wing Wah in Hong Kong.
  • In Kempinski, you’ll find, besides traditional flavors, Puer, papaya and homemade almond chestnut flavors.

  • Starbucks moon cakeStarbucks has developed original moon cake recipes inspired by their drink menu: blueberry and cheese to Earl Grey and orange.
    They come with 2 types of skin, the traditional skin and a Momoyama skin.

 

  • Hilton Wangfujing is offering sugar-free moon cakes.

 

  • yb_01Wei Duo Mei, is offering French Moon Cakes. Recipes have been created by a French Chef.
    Flavors include blueberry, red berries, cheese, chocolate…
    Check locations on their website. They offer also Moon Cake gift cards that you can send to your contacts in case you don’t have the chance to visit them.

Sources:
http://www.timeoutbeijing.com/features/Blogs-Food_Blogs/22168/Where-to-buy-high-end-mooncakes-for-Mid-Autumn-Festival.html

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I am living in China since 2007. I am sharing my experiences for other expatriates to make their stay in Beijing more enjoyable. As I am writing this blog for SCOUT Real Estate agency, I am also computing updates about the Real Estate market in Beijing, not only on residential properties, but as well on commercial locals and offices. Hope you enjoy your reading!