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Friday, September 06, 2019, 11:31
Mooncakes get a Mid-Autumn makeover
By Maggie Beale
Friday, September 06, 2019, 11:31 By Maggie Beale

Chocolate mooncakes in whisky flavors available at InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Mid-Autumn Festival is celebrated with fun carnivals, colorful shining lanterns, dragon dances and mooncakes. Traditionally, mooncakes are filled with lotus seed paste embedded with salted egg yolks. For this year’s celebrations, which culminate on the evening of September 13, several venues are giving this delicacy a new spin with creative fillings geared to modern taste buds. 

John Anthony, the sustainable Chinese restaurant located in Lee Garden Three in Causeway Bay, has teamed up with gluten-free baking specialist, The Cakery, to create four artisan mooncakes. Known for creating dishes that are environmentally conscious, nourishing and delicious, John Anthony has found the perfect partner in The Cakery, which strives to promote “fit living” by using healthier and sustainable ingredients in its creations.

The mooncakes come as a set of four, with a different flavor each. They are 100 percent vegan and gluten-free, free of dairy, egg, refined sugars, preservatives or artificial colorings. As well as being delicious, they are also better for the waistline, being low in carbohydrates and containing approximately 40 percent less calories than traditional mooncakes.

Inspired by the spices traditionally used in Chinese cuisine, John Anthony’s executive chef Saito Chau creates a mooncake with dark chocolate and Sichuan chili peppercorns and pepper oil. The combination of these ingredients will appeal to those who like dark chocolate with a little kick of heat, which this mooncake delivers. Maple syrup, cranberries and almonds give balance to the overall flavor.

The other three mooncake flavors are nutty black and white sesame inspired by classic sweet black sesame soup; floral rose and mixed berries made with rose paste, raspberries, cranberries, blueberries and almond; and spiced mango, ginger and turmeric.

Kiki Noodle Bar’s additive-free, low-sugar mooncakes come in reusable rabbit-shaped bags. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

In addition to innovative flavors, the mooncakes are enhanced by the variety of whole foods and superfoods they contain, and are also visually appealing, with vibrant hues imparted from the natural colors of their ingredients.

Another brand serving up healthy and additive-free mooncakes is KiKi Noodle Bar, located at IFC Mall and K11 Musea, with sister venue Kiki Tea at Pacific Place. 

The low-sugar mooncake marries sweet and savory ingredients that are part of a secret recipe containing salted egg yolk, dried sakura shrimp, taro paste and mochi. Only 1,000 boxes are available and each comes replete with a reusable rabbit-shaped bag. 

 For those looking for modern interpretations of traditional Shanghai-style mooncakes, follow the historic lanes in Tai Kwun Centre for Heritage and Arts leading to Old Bailey where executive chef Wong Kwan-man has created both sweet and savory versions of the festive treat.

The savory option is filled with ground pork, shallots, ginger, soy sauce and white pepper powder while the sweet version boasts smooth and creamy homemade red bean paste. The ingredients are encased in a buttery, flaky short-crust pastry that has a completely different texture from Cantonese-style mooncakes and makes for a surprising treat or gift.

More innovative adaptations can be found at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong. The hotel offers a range of handcrafted mooncakes, from classics filled with red bean or white lotus seed paste, to brand-new creations that are sure to add a delicious twist to your Mid-Autumn festivities.

One such confection is inspired by the signature almond cream with egg white dessert from the hotel’s renowned Chinese restaurant, Hoi King Heen. Executive Chinese chef Leung Fai-hung has utilized some of the ingredients from the popular dessert to craft an almond cream mooncake featuring hand-ground almonds housed in delicate crust.

The hotel is also offering alcoholic chocolate mooncakes made with Kavalan whisky in three single malt whisky flavors: Kavalan Classic, Kavalan Solist Ex-Bourbon and the award-winning Kavalan Solist Amontillado.

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