In the canon of traditional Chinese desserts, the mooncake is the most decadent and storied of them all. Golden-baked, round in shape, and filled with sweet lotus seed paste encasing salted duck egg yolks representing the moon. For centuries, these rich delicacies have been served during Mid-Autumn Festival — on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month when a full moon emerges at night — as a ritual offering to the mythical moon goddess of immortality, Chang E. They were a favourite of Empress Dowager Cixi and, as folklore goes, an essential tool of the Ming revolutionaries, who used them to smuggle secret messages while overthrowing the Mongolian rulers of China at the end of the Yuan dynasty.
Today, mooncakes remain an essential part of Chinese culture, lavishly packaged and shared with family and friends as a symbol of completeness and reunion. While time-honoured recipes hold strong to tradition, these days you’ll find mooncakes of every variety.
Sink your teeth into the creamy golden centre of Lai Ching Heen’s beloved lava custard mooncakes, indulge in savoury pork Suzhou-style mooncakes from The Merchants, or prolong the summer season with a tropical mango and passionfruit snow skin rendition from the Michelin-starred Shang Palace.
Ahead, we round up the best mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong.