Friday, September 09, 2011
Mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival 2011 - Snowskin Variety
In recent years, the snowskin varieties have flooded the market until they seem to have taken over the more traditional baked ones. The mochi-like skin is often dressed up in contemporary flavours that appeal to the young at heart. Sometimes the flavour combinations work while others just fall flat on the face. All kinds of items are used to create interest whether it is alcohol, coffee and even gummy bears. Even the healthy spin is employed in the form of black charcoal powder, spirulina powder to win those watching their waistlines.
This year, most of the snowskin varieties I tasted were generally good. In terms of innovativeness though, I did feel they were kinda unexciting but I guess the public's tastebuds aren't so out there to accept luwak coffee or foie gras flavoured ones that have been parading in Shanghai. I only took exception to a rather sweet tasting white chocolate, raisins and pistachio version from Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur but otherwise all their snowskin varieties were excellent especially their tribute to the King of fruits. For those who just prefer it plain and unadorned, go for the Chef Choi's version, as its silky supple skin with the oh-so-smooth white lotus paste can dangerously lure you to eat the whole box in one sitting.
Hilton Kuala Lumpur
This year's offering from Hilton Kuala Lumpur is the Flower Drum (RM18), inspired by the novel of the same name that was made into a movie and Broadway musical. Coloured a delicate lavender hue, this snowskin white lotus paste mooncake comes with a creamy custard center. The addition of salted egg yolk gives the otherwise sweet confection a much needed savoury edge. We were lucky to attend a mooncake making session conducted by the Chef Chan from Chynna. It was great fun making our own mooncakes with little imperfections. The chef made it look so easy when he demonstrated for us but as each one of us took over, we realised there's so many elements to getting it right. From the rolling of the snowskin to the right consistency, delicately covering the white lotus paste and custard center with the skin and then molding the mooncake. All that hard work definitely makes you appreciate each mooncake that is churned out.
Available at Mid Valley Megamall Centre Court Lower Ground Floor and Hilton Kuala Lumpur, Sentral, Tel: 03-2264 2515.
Chef Choi Restaurant
I often go back to this place specially for their snow skin variety. It may be plain but I do love the super smooth lotus paste with the supple snowskin encasing it. One of my friends, a recent convert to these mooncakes swears she can finish one mooncake box (with four) on her own!
Chef Choi Restaurant, 159, Jalan Ampang, Tel: 03-2163 5866
Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur
For me, Shangri-la sets the benchmark for mooncakes. Everything produced by the hotel gets high praise for me. The only exception is the mini ping pei white chocolate with pistachio flavour and golden raisins (RM17), a flavour combination that was just too sweet. My big favourite is their mini ping pei durian (RM17), filled with luscious and fragrant durian flesh. Equally good is their mini ping pei snowskin (RM15) and the one flavoured with green tea (RM15). Another big favourite for me is the mini ping pei chocolate with ganache, pecan nuts and Chinese tea (RM17). You don't get to taste much of the Chinese tea but the small bits of pecan nuts adds a nice textural contrast to its softness. Best of all the box is simply a great keepsake with its jade-like piece mounted on top of the pink box.
Available at Mid Valley Concourse Lower Ground Floor and Shangri-la Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Sultan Ismail, KL, Tel: 03-2074 3560.
Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur
Befitting its ritzy image, one of my perennial favourites is the decadent Moet & Chandon Champagne mooncakes (RM9.50) from Li Yen. There is even a dusky pink Moet & Chandon Rose version (RM16). This year, Li Yen introduces two new flavours: green tea with custard and egg yolk (RM9) and the wasabi with lotus (RM9). I'm not a fan of the green tea flavour which I feel lacks the slight bitter edge of green tea. However the wasabi flavour adds a tangy refreshing touch to the whole mooncake.
Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, Li Yen Restaurant, 168, Jalan Imbi, Kuala Lumpur, Tel:03-21428000.
Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
The mini mooncakes here seem to be shrinking in size as the years go by (this year it is 4cm in diameter for those who love to know) even though prices are kept to the same levels. The mini snow skin with durian paste (RM13) is filled with chunky durian that will please lovers of the King of fruits. The mini snowskin with honeydew flavoured lotus paste (RM12) bears the distinct sweet scent of the fruit.
Available at Mandarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur, KLCC, Tel: 03-2380 8888.
Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore
We seem to have a yearly affair with these mooncakes as my sister hauls back boxes of them from Singapore. This year's version is less oily hence the snowskin has a nice bite to it. The lotus paste is also smooth and not too sweet.
For the whole haul of this year's Mid-Autumn Festival treats, see the Flickr set.