Mooncakes are a dessert typically eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. They are intricately decorated traditional Chinese pastries that are named this way, because they are round like the full moon.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the eight month of the lunar calendar that usually marks a day that coincides with the middle of Autumn, hence the name. On that day, the moon is supposed to be at its fullest and brightest. Its perfect circle is a common symbol used in Chinese culture that symbolises harmony, coming full circle and reunion (usually culminating with dinner at a round table).
The spirit of the festival
The festival began as an ancient event held to celebrate family and community, whilst giving thanks for the harvest of crops. The central Chinese legend related to the Mid-Autumn festival concerns the Moon Goddess Chang’e and the sacrifice she made. The full story can be found here.
The spirit of the festival lives on today, but has been adapted to suit contemporary taste and trends. So, like many other festival related foods, mooncakes have also evolved considerably. Various specialty cake shops, restaurants and hotel confectionaries now offer mooncakes of different varieties, presented beautifully in premium boxes covered with elegant designs. It has become a trend to purchase mooncakes to gift to family, friends and business associates.
Mooncakes with an eco-friendly approach
Hilton Kuala Lumpur has always offered something a little different in this department, whilst still retaining the traditional signature taste that mooncake fans love so much about the pastry. This year, the award-winning hotel has once again set another benchmark, by offering a premium mooncakes collection that takes an eco-friendly approach to illustrate its group’s stance on sustainability. We happily accepted their invitation to try out their new collection!
Its premium mooncakes collection called Mid-Autumn Moonrise, is conceptually inspired by moon-gate structures in Chinese tea gardens. The exquisite box that it comes in, is made from sustainable bamboo materials and designed with longevity in mind. As such, it can be still treasured as a keepsake long after Mid-Autumn is over.
Fans of Hilton Kuala Lumpur premium mooncakes sets will also be able to look forward to two new porcelain dishes to add on to the Chinese tea set pieces they have accumulated from previous collections.
Insights from the chef
Chef Lam Hock Hin, one of Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s award-winning chefs from the hotel’s Chynna restaurant, responsible for this year’s offerings, provided some insights into why their mooncakes are so well-received.
Firstly, the skin of the mooncakes, particularly the baked ones, are delicately thin. So, their mooncakes contain more filling than pastry. Health-conscious families may like to know that these mooncakes are made with a special sugar that makes them less sweet and thus healthier.
The collection’s highlights
Highlights from this year’s mooncakes collection include the Celestial Star Mooncake (RM38 nett), a blend of white lotus paste and truffle macadamia nuts filling encapsulated in a blue artisanal snow skin. The truffle taste is not overpowering and beautifully balanced out by the sweet, crunchy macadamia nut nibs.
Other flavours in the snow skin mooncake range include Heavenly Gold (RM60 nett) consisting of pure premium Musang King durian filling, sourced from Raub in Pahang, where the best Malaysian durians are said to come from. The Royal Jade (RM38 nett) features lotus paste with salted mung bean and crusted cashew nuts cooked with black sugar, Blue Moon (RM38 nett) has an alcohol-laced filling of lotus paste with blueberry cheese feuillantine, and Flower Drum (RM38 nett), with a classic lotus paste with soft custard egg yolk filling.
Lovers of more classic mooncakes can chose from traditional baked versions that contain white lotus paste (with or without single egg yolk), lotus paste with single egg yolk, pandan paste with single egg yolk, red bean paste with almond flakes, green tea lotus paste, black sesame lotus with single yolk, and traditional five nuts fillings. These range from RM35 to RM38 nett. You can also purchase these in sets of four for RM158 (Hilton Kuala Lumpur’s National Mooncake Box Lunar Reunion).
We were invited by Hilton Kuala Lumpur. As always, our opinion is honest and our own.