Have you been to Singapore before, readers? It’s a compact city, bustling, safe, an easy transition into Asia. Yet, perhaps, aside from persistent prosperity and sparkling cleanliness, many things that Singaporeans lay claim to, others have already or have tried to do so. In the eyes of a Malaysian, Singaporean cuisine is basically a toned-down version. To the ears of a mainland Chinese, Singaporean Chinese is not quite authentic. Increasingly though, it’s a cosmopolitan, glittering metropolis. And in the dessert arena at least, Singapore is making a name for itself and the once-a-year delicacy that is known as the mooncake. Perhaps because of its perpetual tropical heat, so-called “snowskin” mooncakes are a hot-ticket item in this state. And truly, no other Asian state does this delicacy quite like Singapore. Out with the old, blast in with the new is the way to go with mooncakes in Singapore.
Of course, you will still be able to find the traditional mooncakes filled with lotus and red bean paste, but why bother when the shelves of patisseries and bakeries are stocked with the likes of pandan, lychee, blueberry cream cheese, creme brulee, chocolate hazelnut “snowskin” mooncakes? Lighter in texture because the inside is often a Western-style cream or mousse, and more varied and delicately colourful in appearance, “snowskin” mooncakes in Singapore are hard to resist. Much has been written about the Carlton Hotel’s “bluebbery cream cheese snowskin,” the Ritz Carlton’s “milk tea with seaweed snowskin,” Intercontinental’s Man Fu Yuan’s Nyona-accented “Pulut Hitam snowskin,” the Majestic Restaurant’s “lobster mooncake,” The Regent’s “parma, pork floss and nuts snowskin” or its “bird’s nest and custard,” and how can we fail to mention, the unbeatable smoothness and pungency of Goodwood Park’s “durian mooncake” (see for example, here, here and here).
Just as a taster (pun intended), we will introduce you to Singapore’s TWG mooncake collection of 2013, a set of eight, tea-infused mooncakes with mythical names and an East-meets-West sentimentality. We will detail all eight, but focus on two of our favourites.
For this year’s Mid Autumn Festival, TWG released a collection of four snowskin mooncakes. The “Longevity Snowskin” was a startling bright red snowskin covered with a sheet of edible gold leaf. It enclosed a centre of white chocolate mousse, chocolate pearls and a heart of white chocolate filled with yuzu marmalade. The “Royal Snowskin” was a deep purple colour, enclosing Silver Moon Tea-infused pandan mousse with a strawberry-filled, white chocolate heart. The “Illumination Snowskin” was a stain-my-fingers-black mooncake, featuring a black tea-infused nut praline mousse and a marmalade-filled, white chocolate heart. The “Pure Snowskin” (pictured below) was our favourite of the range, its flavours being more distinct. A white tea-infused milk chocolate mousse surrounded a white chocolate heart of blackurrant marmalade. Isn’t its cross-section so very pretty?
TWG also released a “traditional” mooncake series this year. The “Constellation Mooncake” was the most traditional of the four on offer, being a dense, tea-infused brown lotus-filled mooncake with a centre of salted egg yolk. The “Pagoda Mooncake” contained chocolate tea-infused lotus paste, a hint of cranberries, and a heart of raspberry preserve. The “Moonlight Mooncake” was a white lotus mooncake, infused with Pu-Erh Tea and containing a sesame paste centre. The “Dragon Mooncake” was the least traditional of TWG’s Mooncake Series, being a bright red, peanut-studded, lotus paste mooncake with a heart of buttery peanut paste (not peanut butter though).