Epoch Times, Singapore Edition (Issue 493, Aug 22 – Sept 4, 2014)
A guide to mooncake styles from different regions
By Ting Ting, Epoch Times Staff and NTD Television
Most of the mooncakes we are familiar with are the Cantonese-style, which is traditionally eaten in Guangdong, Guangxi and Jiangxi provinces in China.
Cantonese-style mooncakes are well-known throughout the world for their exquisitely made fillings and crust. The thin, reddish-brown crust is glossy and chewy, with beautiful patterns and Chinese characters inscribed on top.
The fillings range from sweet to savoury. A favourite filling is lotus seed paste, which is very sweet. Due to its high price, lotus seed paste is considered a luxurious filling.
Other fillings include red bean paste and jujube fruit paste—a dark red paste with a smoky, fruity and sometimes a sour flavour.
Five Kernels is a filling that contains a blend of 5 types of nuts and seeds, coarsely chopped and held together by maltose syrup. The most common type of nuts and seeds used are walnuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, peanuts, sesame seeds, and almonds.
It is very common for Cantonese-style mooncake to have a salted egg yolk inside. The round egg yolk represents the full moon.
Other savoury fillings for these mooncakes include char siu, roast goose, dried mushrooms, and peeled shrimp.
The Beijing-style mooncake is most popular amongst people in Northern China, and consists of a few different types.
There is the Zi Lai Bai mooncake, which is a white pastry, and the Zi Lai Hong mooncake, which is a darker pastry with a red circle on it. Both of these mooncakes are on the drier and flakier side, and use essentially the same type of fillings like rock sugar, peach seeds, melon seeds, wisteria blossom and mountain hawthorn.
Another type of Beijing-style mooncake is the Ti Jiang mooncake. It has a light, foamy, soft crust, like a light shortbread pastry. Unlike the Cantonese-style mooncake, it is thicker and harder on the outside and has less filling than the Cantonese-style. Ti Jiang mooncake is very aromatic because it uses sesame oil as one of the ingredients.
Fan Mao mooncake is also another type of Beijing mooncake, which has many layers of super flaky crust.
Suzhou-style mooncake is favoured by people from the provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Shanghai. It is known for its layers upon layers of flaky pastry, which is made from blending wheat meal with white sugar and oil. There are two main types: sweet, toasted ones and salty, pan-fried ones. The savoury ones are usually made with pork mince and are served hot.
Pepper-salt flavour is a popular flavour of Suzhou-style mooncake.
Teochew-style is another type of flaky mooncake that emphasises on the aroma of lard after roasting.
Yunnan-Style mooncake is popular in Yunnan, Guizhou and its surrounding areas. It is well-known for using ham, honey, lard and sugar as fillings. The flour crust pastry is roasted golden and is crispy but not crumby.
There are two types of Taiwanese mooncakes. One has a crust that is similar to the famous Taiwanese pineapple cake. The other is a flaky pastry crust. Popular fillings include red bean, mung bean and taro paste.
Traditional mooncakes are very oily and each one is over a thousand calories. However, health conscious people have invented lower calorie mooncakes.
In Hong Kong, they invented the snow skin mooncake which is not baked but instead use glutinous rice crust, and that needs to be frozen.
The crust itself can be infused with different flavours like chocolate and fruits. The filling is more like a dessert, and is comparable to mochi ice-cream.
And there is even jelly mooncake, where the crust is made of agar or gelatine with a variety of fruits flavours.
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