THE WAX AND WANE OF MOONCAKES

China Daily (USA) - - SHANGHAI THE BUND -

Shangri-La Ho­tel Group re­ported an av­er­age 10 per­cent in­crease in its moon­cake sales from sev­eral of its prop­er­ties, thanks to its newly cre­ated fill­ings like dried tea leaves and fresh spicy pork.

In 2015, Hong Kong en­ter­prise Maxim’s Group started to sell its fa­mous salted egg yolk mooncakes on the Chi­nese main­land through its e-com­merce store on Tmall. Ac­cord­ing to the com­pany’s man­age­ment team, the de­ci­sion to do this was made after they found that their mooncakes — they were best­sellers in Hong Kong for 19 con­sec­u­tive years, ac­cord­ing to Nielsen — were so pop­u­lar among main­land con­sumers that other com­pa­nies were copy­ing their prod­uct.

The com­pany ex­pects the sales of the egg yolk moon­cake on Tmall to grow three­fold from last year.

At Miche­lin-starred restau­rant Yi Long Court at Penin­sula Ho­tel Shang­hai, the egg cus­tard mooncakes have been widely cred­ited as “the Her­mes of mooncakes” be­cause of the price tag — they cost around $10 each — and their ex­quis­ite qual­ity. The mooncakes were said to be in­vented 30 years ago by chef Yip Wing-wah at the lux­ury ho­tel group’s Hong Kong prop­erty.

“The moon­cake scene is so com­pet­i­tive now that we have to keep in­tro­duc­ing new of­fer­ings,” said Tang Chi-keun, chef of Yi Long Court.

The restau­rant in­tro­duced their hand­made durian mooncakes last year and will fol­low up on that this year with a new pan­dan moon­cake.

Tang added that the fill­ings for the durian moon­cake are made with fresh duri­ans im­ported from Pe­nang in Malaysia.

“Com­pe­ti­tion in­spires and mo­ti­vates real chefs to be cre­ative. Mooncakes, as well as other Chi­nese tra­di­tional desserts and pas­tries, can be as ap­peal­ing as Western cakes. I think it’s high time to spice them up,” said Tang.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

The Shang­hai Con­fec­tionery In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion says that con­sumers will be able to find as many as 200 types of mooncakes on the mar­ket this year.

PHO­TOS BY GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

An overview of the moon­cake pro­duc­tion process.

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