THE WAX AND WANE OF MOONCAKES
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.
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.
An overview of the mooncake production process.