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Mooncakes Throughout the Years




Cantonese Style Double Yolk Yellow Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake
Cantonese Style Double Yolk Yellow Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake

With mooncake season just around the corner (September 10th). What would be a better way to celebrate it, than with a review on mooncakes over the years?

And of course we have to start with, what's considered the oldest mooncake on the market. The "Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake" or 莲蓉月饼(Lian rong yue bing). Please note, this review is on Cantonese mooncakes, which is the most famous variety. There are other varieties such as Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou and the list goes on. The characteristics of a Cantonese style mooncake is a thin crust, rich filling (sweet or savory), and salted egg or duck yolks. Now back to the review. This kind of mooncake (Lotus Seed paste) dates back to as early as 1889. The filling (Lotus seed paste) can be either white or yellow, with the difference being the sugar that is used to cook it. Which, results in the different colorization. It can also include a salted egg yolk or two as pictured above. The light sweetness of the lotus seed and the fatty and salty egg or duck yolk, will sure bring bliss to your mouth.

Cantonese Style Mixed Nuts Mooncake
Cantonese Style Mixed Nuts Mooncake

Next up we have the mixed nuts mooncake, which is called "Wu Ren" (五仁). This mooncake is a sweet and savory mooncake as it's made with nuts and sometimes also with ham. This mooncake became popular in 1939 when it was introduced to the province of Yunan, by the establishment of the Kunming Guansheng Garden. This type of mooncake has a variety of fillings such as walnuts, peanuts, almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, black and white sesame seeds. The combination of nuts, vary by the chef and company making it.


Cantonese Style Egg Yolk Red Bean Paste Mooncake
Cantonese Style Egg Yolk Red Bean Paste Mooncake

Now, some of my favorite traditional fillings are Red bean and Black sesame paste. The dates on the creation of these mooncakes were no where to be found, but if you ask any Cantonese person, what mooncake flavors they grew up eating, these two would be included. These mooncakes are sweet and packed with flavor. Perfect for those of you who

Cantonese Style Black Sesame Paste Mooncake
Cantonese Style Black Sesame Paste Mooncake

have a sweet tooth. Especially, for those of you who are red bean and black sesame fanatics. Some bakeries and companies make their mooncakes more fragrant and flavorful and some companies make their mooncakes a bit, diluted in flavor. So tyr around, to find the best one for you. Another traditional filling is the "Winter melon Mooncake" (冬瓜月饼). I personally do not like it, since it's too sweet and the crunchiness of the winter melon, gives people chills.

Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Custard Mooncake
Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Custard Mooncake

Next up is the "Custard Mooncake" (奶黄月饼 - Nai huang yue bing). This type of mooncake (custard), made it's first appearance in 1986, and ever since then, it's never went out of fashion. In fact, other than the Snow Skin mooncakes, this type of mooncake is the most popular among the younger generations. With another boom in 2014 when, Hong Kong brand, Mei Xin created the "Lava Custard Mooncake" (美心流心奶黄月饼 - Mei xin liu xin nai huang yue bing). This type of mooncake is so milky and rich, you will not want to stop

Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Custard Mooncake
Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Custard Mooncake

eating it. If you love the custard buns at your local dim sum restaurant, just know you will love this. As this is just that, in the form of a mooncake. Not to mention the effort that Mei Xin (美心)put's into their packaging is mind blowing. Look at how beautiful the box is.

Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Mooncake 2022 Packaging (US)
Hong Kong Mei Xin Lava Mooncake 2022 Packaging (US)

Lastly, we have the "Snow Skin Mooncakes" (饼皮月饼 - Bing pi yue bing). This type of

Cantonese Style Mango Snow Skin Mooncake
Cantonese Style Mango Snow Skin Mooncake

mooncake emerged in the 1960s. The crust, or wrapping is made of glutinous flour and the texture is similar to that of mochi. This type of mooncake is meant to be eaten cold, so store it in the freezer. Each company makes their Snow Skin mooncakes differently, some of them have a jelly like center (like the above picture), surrounded by a flavored paste. Other companies don't have the jelly and just the paste. There are some that is just filled with ice cream as well. There are a variety of flavors, like chocolate, mango, taro, peach and so on. Because this type of mooncake is so popular with the current generation, that even major brands like Starbucks, come out with their own versions in China each year.

And that concludes, our walk through mooncake history. Which mooncake will you be eating this Mid - Autumn festival?


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