Durian, oreo cheesecake and green tea smells circulated the air. Mid Autumn Festival has arrived! The season of family gathering, big bright moons, and the stuffing of our faces with mooncakes. Otherwise known to us as “Moon Cake Day,” the festival this year began on Sept. 8.
The beginning of this year’s Mid Autumn Festival marked the end of Singapore’s Takashimaya Mooncake Fair. We arrived, we tasted, and we evaluated at this year’s busiest mooncake gathering.
Students Tess Nelligan, Sophia Eristoff, Sid Iyer-Sequeira, Ragini Sharma, Tiffany Yu made their way through the masses of bodies in the basement square of Takashimaya, ready to begin their mooncake tasting experience.
We began our search with eyes wide and stomachs empty. This year’s mooncake chefs had outdone themselves, pushing the boundaries of the traditional mooncake to create fresh and unusual flavors.
Stall #1: “Bakers Well”
Featured mooncake flavor: Mixed nuts
The sweet, salty, nutty flavors swirled in our mouths. After tasting the mixed nuts mooncake, Nelligan asked, “How did that sell out?”
Stall #2: Grand Hyatt
Featured mooncake flavor: None
Eristoff pointed out that the queue for mooncakes at Grand Hyatt was too long so we skipped this booth.
Stall #3: Home’s Favorite Cookies ‘n’ Durian
Featured mooncake flavor: The new and popular Durian Ice Cream
Eristoff declared that the durian flavor was the best, but Nelligan shook her head in complete disagreement and disgust. “I’m going to puke,” Nelligan remarked a few minutes later.
Stall #4: East Ocean Teochew Restaurant
Featured mooncake flavor: White lotus and black sesame, Green tea snow-skin
Sharma contended that the white lotus and black sesame was “sweet with a little tang of lotus,” and that “the black sesame brought out the flavor–a burnt taste.”
Stall #5: D’Bun
Featured mooncake flavor: Green tea with dark chocolate
Before tasting, Eristoff exclaimed, “Oh my god, there’s chocolate!”
Dark chocolate and green tea settled in our mouths. Somewhat disappointed, Yu said, “It was aight.”
Stall #6: Bread Junction
Featured mooncake flavor: Yam
The fascinating royal gold mooncake immediately caught our eyes. “Yam!” Seth squealed. Eristoff said the yam was nice and cool, yet Sharma disagreed. “Ew, I don’t like this.”
The Green Tea-Snow skin mooncake won the “Best Mooncake of the Year” title by our lovely tasters, with the traditional Lotus flavored mooncake as the runner up. Unfortunately, the Durian mooncake failed to win the hearts of our tasters and earned the “Worst Mooncake of the Year” title. Maybe next year, Durian!
Photos by Sid Iyer-Sequeira