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 two 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, modern adaptations have flourished with everything from the Peninsula’s egg custard new classic to John Anthony x The Cakery’s superfood-packed treats. Ahead, we round up the best mooncakes for the Mid-Autumn Festival in Hong Kong.
Fook Lam Moon
The gatekeepers of Cantonese fine dining, Fook Lam Moon stick to tradition with culinary artistry that renders optimal ratio of ingredients and balance of flavour. Their classic Double Yolk Lotus Seed Paste Mooncakes have a golden crust infused with the subtle aroma of Pu-er tea, while the fragrant filling is made from the finest Xiangtan lotus seeds, large olive kernels, and premium slated egg yolks. An oldie but a goodie that has stood the test of time.
Peninsula Spring Moon
Giving the traditional recipe a run for its money since 1986, the Peninsula hotel’s famous mini egg custard mooncake was conceived by the culinary team of Michelin-starred Spring Moon as a union of eastern tradition and western techniques. Often imitated but never recreated — and most definitely always sold out every year — this irresistible take on the classic treat has a decadent sweet custard filling that’s beloved by mooncake purists and egg yolk-shunners alike.
Nothing utters pure luxury like Rosewood hotel’s jewel box-inspired blue leather packaging. As for the golden treasures housed inside — French imported butter for the egg custard; premium salted duck egg yolk for the traditional white lotus seed paste – these illustrate only the finest ingredients and artistry from the Butterfly Patisserie team, whose culinary masterpieces display like high jewellery in an atelier.
St. Regis spoils us with a seriously luxe mooncake collection. These square-shaped mooncakes are encased in sleek wooden boxes reminiscent of the hotel’s Andre Fu-designed interior — a modern interpretation of traditional Chinese codes. Brilliantly balanced, too, are the lusciously fragrant flavours, our favourite being the red bean version, with a silky smooth filling lifted by the bright zestiness of Tangerine peel.
This year, Tai Kwun’s Old Bailey brings a regional alternative to the Mid-Autumn Festival table with its Shanghai-style mooncakes (蘇式月餅). Characterised by a buttery, flaky short-crust exterior, these hand-filled pastries are available in both sweet and savoury flavours – a satisfying mixture of ground pork, shallot, ginger, soy sauce and white pepper powder; or the traditional creamy sweet red bean filling.
Calling all art lovers: this year, Duddell’s teams up with Canadian artist Marcel Dzama for a collaborative mooncake collection. The dazzling holographic box is adorned with Dzama’s whimsical ‘Blue Moon’ artwork, which symbolises prosperity and luck in celebration of the moon. Inside, six handmade cream custard mooncakes await.
John Anthony x The Cakery
Healthy mooncakes may no longer be an oxymoron thanks to sustainability-driven Cantonese restaurant John Anthony, who this year teamed up with The Cakery for an artisanal vegan mooncake collection. These gluten-free, guilt-free, and nutrient-rich creations arrive in an opulent (and recycled) origami pyramid, which blossoms to reveal four colourful and innovative flavours: Dark Chocolate & Sichuan Chili; Mango, Ginger & Tumeric; Rose & Mixed Berries; Black and White Sesame — all packed with superfoods, making them a healthier option for you and the environment.
Ralph Lauren’s perennially stylish Ralph’s Coffee nods to the cherished tradition of Mid-Autumn Festival with two locally-created flavours, Custard Lava and Coffee Lava, which arrive in an adorable box modelled after the iconic Ralph’s Coffee Truck — complete with flashing lights and decorative windows that open. The Ralph’s Coffee Lava mooncakes are made with the highest quality organically grown coffee beans, making for the perfect afternoon pick-me-up.
Shanghai Tang x China Tang
Shanghai Tang marks their 25th anniversary by teaming up with China Tang to launch an illuminating mooncake set. The silver-textured box lights up when opened, revealing an intricate paperscape of Tiangong along with six white lotus seed classics. The traditional treat features a salted egg yolk with a dash of pure peanut oil and refined syrup.
Ms. B’s Cakery
For truly special moments, Ms. B’s Cakery returns this year with their highly-anticipated Fresh Mooncakes, which are made daily and shaped in the form of traditional Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival lanterns. These exquisite treats boast a fresh blend of golden mousse of mango and coconut, complete with fresh pomelo pearls wrapped in delicate vanilla chiffon cake and fresh cream.
EditorVogue Hong Kong
CreditWords by Joanna Fu and Kelly Lim; Photography by Kelly Chan