Mooncakes were initially created to honour Chang'e, a lady who became a moon goddess. Hou Yi, her husband, was devastated when she was converted into an immortal and soared to the moon. As an offering to her, he created round cakes in the form of the moon. In Asian regions, this mythology became known as the Moon Festival or Mid-Autumn Festival. The circular form represents completion and oneness in Chinese culture. As a result, when combined with the round form of the moon, it is seen as a period of wealth and reunion. As a result, it is now also recognised as a harvest festival, during which families gather for a thanksgiving dinner, light lanterns, and eat mooncakes.
Types of Mooncakes
Mooncakes are classified into two types: traditional and modern. Traditional mooncakes differ depending on the Chinese region they originate in, such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, and others. They are baked and might vary in appearance, texture, and flavour.
Modern mooncakes are a modern twist, for example Snow Skin Mooncake, a no-bake mooncake typically served cold, or the Shanghai Mooncake, with buttery crisp pastry wrapping the delicious fillings.
The most popular traditional Mooncakes are likely the Cantonese Mooncakes. They have a lotus shape and silky golden-brown skin. Their filling is generally something delicious, such as lotus paste, which is prepared from lotus seeds. Depending on the size of the mooncake, an egg yolk is also included, and sometimes two.
They can also have a variety of additional filling options, such as:
... and more!
Though they are often sweet, they can also come in a variety savoury tastes such as ham, chicken, and roast pig. However, this is uncommon in Malaysia.
The Shanghai Mooncake has a distinct outer layer. In comparison to the Cantonese Mooncake, its skin is more yellowish, crisp, and crumbly. They are also typically filled with lotus paste and one egg yolk. They are typically topped with black sesame seeds or sunflower seed. The Shanghai Mooncake has blew-up in popularity in the past few years, owing to the buttery taste and and crisp texture that many Malaysian love.
It is notable for its 'thousand' spiral layers. The Teochew Mooncake features a flaky crust and is available in a variety of hues. It's usually stuffed with yam, mung bean, or red bean paste. Though they are not quite as popular as other types of mooncakes in Malaysia, they are an excellent alternative for giving as a holiday gift to family.
The Suzhou Mooncake is a savoury mooncake. They have an off-white flaky exterior with a somewhat caramelised centre. Suzhou Mooncakes are typically imprinted on top with a crimson stamp or sesame seeds. The Suzhou Mooncake is highly uncommon in Malaysia
Beijing Mooncakes are distinguished by a red circle stamp on the top. They are packed with osmanthus, peach seeds, and dried orange peels and have a dry, brown flaky crust.
Modern interpretation of the traditional mooncake are almost countless, the most popular is probably the Snow Skin Mooncake, where it is typically served cold, and does not require baking at all. Other modern moocakes include ice-cream mooncake, matcha mooncake, mochi mooncake, jelly mooncake, alcohol infused mooncake, chocolate mooncake, durian mooncake, and so much more! It is only limited by imagination!
What is your favourite type of mooncake?
Here at Joshijosh, we offer several types of mooncake:
Low Sugar Mooncake
No Sugar Mooncake (Diabetes Friendly!)
Snow Skin Mooncake
Stay tuned to our social media or our website for when we launch our mooncakes!