Sunday, November 05, 2006

Singapore Vacation Part 2: Mid Autumn Festival

I was extremely lucky to be back in Singapore during the Mid Autumn Festival. Why? Because this is the only time you can find mooncakes. Traditional Cantonese mooncakes are usually made with sweet lotus paste, salted egg yolks and sometimes with melon seeds or other nuts. It has a rich golden brown baked crust with Chinese characters imprinted on the top of the mooncake. Nowadays, recipes of mooncakes are so diverse: Cantonese, Teochew, Taiwanese, Suzhou and Modern Snow Skin. Some recipes even come with a Singaporean touch - Durian mooncakes and Pandan mooncakes.

Durian .. is the most loved or hated fruit by people. It's like the cheese affair. It is yellow, stinky and smells almost rotten. Despite the smell, the taste is pretty sweet and creamy. It melts like chocolate in the mouth.

By chance, I was at the Mooncake Festival Far at Takashimaya. There were lots of vendors offering free samples to everyone. I couldn't resist but gave in to the mooncakes samples. It surprised me to see every vendors' creativity in mooncakes had gone over the top. Durian mooncakes were no longer a novelty. Any flavours you could possibly imagine were there: Strawberry, blueberry, white and milk chocolate, champagne, walnut, hazelnut,cuppucino, green tea, tiramisu and bird's nest. How about some Haagen Dazs Belgian Chocolate Coated Ice cream Mooncakes? Raffles Hotel came up with the Champagne Truffles & Ganache, Rum & Raisins, Baileys as well as Ginseng & Wolfberries Mooncakes. Not something that I had expected from traditional Chinese mooncakes. 3 days before the event ended, these mooncakes from Raffles were all sold out! I guess originality sells.

Given all the flavours I could choose from, I love only traditional Cantonese mooncakes. Especially accompanied by freshly brewed Earl Grey or Japanese Green Tea. Now the Mid Autumn Festival is over, only the reminiscence of the festive taste is left of me: the chewiness of the
crust, the sweetness of the lotus paste and the saltiness of the salted egg yolks.


kEV said...

Your eating/shopping experience is very entertaining. The noodles with many topplings sound like the legendary Laksa. It's my big favourite. Did you bring any Laksa paste and try at home? It's great!

Do Koreans also celebrate Mid Autumn Fest?

IceCat in Seoul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
IceCat in Seoul said...

I wish I brought back some Laksa paste to cook at home. My luggage was at the maximum allowance at the airport while I left Singapore. Brought back some sambal chilli for making Nasi Lemak. Do you know that dish?

Koreans celebrate Mid Autumn Festival too. But they don't carry lanterns. It's a family get together, visiting their ancestors' graves and having family dinner. Songpyon, rice cakes which are filled with beans, chestnuts or sesame seeds and steamed with pine needles,
are eaten during this festival.