Mooncake madness has begun.
Hundreds of people lined up yesterday and today at Maxim’s Cakes stores across the city to snap up mooncake coupons for redeeming the tasty treats during the Mid-Autumn festival in late September.
Several pictures were posted online of lines snaking around pillars and walls in MTR stations, where many a Maxim’s outlet can be found.
Down at Maxim’s Cakes in Sheung Wan MTR station, the coupons were gone yesterday within three hours, according to the cashier Wai.
Things moved even quicker at the outlet on Queens Road Central near the Sheung Wan wet market.
“They were sold out in an hour,” said the cashier, indicating the line had extended out the door and into the street.
According to some reports, it wasn’t just early-bird sweet tooths eager to get their hands on the pastry coupons, particularly those for Maxim’s popular lava custard mooncake, which has been a hit since its introduction in 2016.
Apple Daily published a picture of what looked to be an organized group queuing to slurp up the slips.
It was taken at a Maxim’s outlet in Tsim Sha Tsu, where the line was 50 or 60 people deep.
A customer in the queue told Apple Daily she suspected the group of about 20 men was working together as they were being slipped HK$500 (US$63) bills by a single person.
According to The Standard, business was bustling at the Maxim’s outlet in Sheung Shui, near the border with the mainland, where the cakes are also popular.
Speculators and parallel traders were among more than 200 people that gathered from 4am and stayed until the coupons were sold-out, the newspaper reported.
Normally, lava custard mooncakes cost HK$368 (US$47) for a box of eight. During the early promotional period, the coupons can be bought for HK$228 (US$29).
But already, marked-up coupons for the popular pastry have begun appearing online.
Posts on social media show some netizens selling coupons for HK$350 (US$44).
The coupons — the purchase of which is limited to five per person — were sold out in several stores, but a new round will be made available again on August 1.
The traditional version of the mooncake is filled with red bean or lotus seed paste and a salted duck egg yolk.
Some non-traditional takes on the humble mooncake have included fruit-flavored fillings, and ice-cream moon cakes that resemble a mochi more than a mooncake.