Come October, people around the world will gather with friends and family to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival.
The festival on Oct. 1 is commonly celebrated among East Asian communities and marks the end of the harvest season by thanking the Chinese goddess of the moon. For urban dwellers like most of us, the festival largely revolves around family reunions, incandescent lanterns, and indulgent mooncakes.
Malaysians are no stranger to the occasion, which is also called the Mooncake Festival. The dense pastry said to symbolize prosperity is usually filled with red bean or lotus-flavored paste. It often contains a salted egg yolk center, which represents the full moon, but some modern iterations have replaced it with other ingredients.
Whether you prefer traditional or contemporary mooncakes, here are some places in Kuala Lumpur to get your fix.
Hello Kitty mooncakes
Convenience store chain Family Mart launched a series of adorable Hello Kitty mooncakes embossed with the Sanrio Japanese character. Not only are they pretty cute, but these mooncakes also come in a music box that opens to reveal a Hello Kitty toy twirling to a sweet melody.
These halal-certified mooncakes come in four different flavors: Bamboo Charcoal White Lotus With Salted Egg Lava, Durian Lotus With Musang King Lava, White Lotus Double Yolks, and Pandan White Lotus Single Yolk.
Price: RM 178 (US$43)
Kuala Lumpur-based ice cream parlor Inside Scoop is making yummy super-sized ice cream mooncakes this year, perfect for a sweltering Mid-Autumn evening.
These “supermoon” cakes are made with pistachio ice cream and a raspberry jelly center. They are halal-certified and perfect for big gatherings as well as ice cream lovers seeking non-traditional mooncakes.
Price: RM 148 (US$36)
Traditional mooncakes by Nobu
Mooncake purists might want to turn to Nobu for its selection of mooncakes that pays homage to tradition but still looks modern.
The Michelin-starred Japanese franchise in Kuala Lumpur’s Jalan Ampang launched its “Full Moon” collection, which features a box of sweet and rich traditionally-baked mooncakes in flavors that include green tea lotus, black sesame lotus, kabocha (pumpkin) lotus with single yolk, and the evergreen red bean paste.
“We went with traditional flavors that we know and love because there’s a sense of nostalgia attached to mooncakes,” executive chef Phillip Leong said. All mooncakes are pork-free.
Price: RM 128 (US$30)
Call 03-21645084 for orders
Snow-skin mooncakes by Le Meridien
If you’re craving tender, mochi-like snow skin mooncakes, the Le Meridien has a selection of interesting flavors for those with adventurous palates.
The mooncake flavors include gold-dusted sweet and sour yuzu calamansi with confit orange peel, the healthy Rainforest Tualang honey and figs, coffee-infused signature illy coffee snow skin with macadamia nuts, and rum-and-raisin inspired Chivas Whisky with golden raisins. Raisins are soaked in Chivas whisky for 48 hours. None of the mooncakes are halal.
Price: RM 178 (US$43)
Call +603-22637434 for orders
Mid-Autumn in Malaysia is not complete without durian mooncakes. Thankfully, durian distributor Hernan Food is stepping up to fulfill the wish of durian-hungry revelers this year with mooncakes containing rich puree from the beloved Musang King fruit. Be sure to take your time to sink your teeth into each of these mochi-like snow skin treats since the “King of Fruits” season is coming to a close. All mooncakes are halal-certified.
Price: RM 118 (US$28)
Call +6010-2362066 for orders
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