You don’t need to feel guilty about indulging in mooncakes this Mid-Autumn Festival. After trying 23 low-sugar ones, Team Simply Her rounds up the top 13.
1 ILLUMINATION TWG
Tea, from all TWG Tea salons and boutiques, including #B2-65 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, tel: 6565-1837; check www.twgtea.com for store locations. From $11 per snowskin mooncake; now until Sept 15.
We liked how the pitch black snowskin makes a bold statement and contrasts sharply with the creamy tone of the black tea-infused paste. Even with the white chocolate-coated orange marmalade centre, it’s not too sweet – another tick in our book. But the tea character could have been dialled up several notches.
2 CHILLI TRUFFLE
Baker’s Well, 35 East Coast Road, tel: 6348-6864. $63 for a box of eight; now until Sept 15.
It’s an avant-garde blend for a mooncake – even among funky snowskin flavours – but the chilli and bitter chocolate pairing works. The slow-burning heat is enough to intrigue without overwhelming the senses.
3 SENCHA GREEN TEA WITH JAPANESE RED BEAN
Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, tel: 6831-4708. $63 for a box of eight; now until Sept 15.
Perfect for seasoned matcha lovers. The subtle green tea aroma and bitterness of the paste will quietly draw you into the mildly sweet and soothing red bean centre.
4 SALTED CARAMEL WITH PEANUT PRALINE
Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, tel: 6831-4708. $61 for a box of eight; now until Sept 15.
This new flavour concept evokes the nostalgia of oldschool peanut candy. The filling – white lotus seed paste with salted caramel and toasty peanut bits, plus a salty peanut praline in a chocolate shell at its heart – is rich and lavish.
5 TANGERINE LEMON WITH MATCHA RED BEAN PASTE
The Fullerton Shop, The Fullerton Hotel Singapore, tel: 6877-8178. $60 (classic box) and $71 (premium box) with four each; now until Sept 15.
While it sounds like a confusing potpourri, you will be as pleasantly surprised as we were by the result. The bittersweet matcha and red bean paste is a good foil to the ambrosial aroma of the tangerine lemon centre.
1 WHITE LOTUS PASTE WITH MACADAMIA NUTS (LOW SUGAR)
Crystal Jade, from all Crystal Jade outlets, including #B1-04A Bugis Junction, tel: 6339-6902; check www.crystaljade.com for store locations. From $29 for a box of two; Aug 15-Sept 15.
One of the most fragrant mooncakes we tried, it didn’t disappoint. The skin has a nice sheen and a supple bite. We were pleased that the macadamia nuts were fairly distributed, too. Our only quibble: The paste was a little sweeter than we would have liked.
2 WHITE LOTUS SEED PASTE WITH PRIZED KARASUMI & ANGELICA
Wan Hao Chinese Restaurant, Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, tel: 6831-4708. $188 for a box of four, with an Aged Old Pu’er Tea Set; now until Sept 15.
A mooncake containing a herb seems like a long shot, but don’t write this off too quickly. The Chinese angelica root (dang gui) is aggressive on the nose, but subtle on the palate. Together with the slivers of chewy karasumi (Japanese salted mullet roe), this deeply savoury mooncake grew on us.
3 MINI LOTUS PASTE WITH MACADAMIA NUTS
Shang Palace, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, tel: 6213-439. $75 for a box of eight assorted mini mooncakes, including two low-sugar ones; now until Sept 15.
This one ticked most of the right boxes. The skin is thin, the paste is smooth and gently sweet, and the size is great for portion control. Macadamia nuts are also a nice change from the usual melon seeds. However, we would have preferred that the nuts were chopped and mixed in for a crunch in every bite.
4 WHITE LOTUS SEED PASTE WITH SINGLE YOLK
Li Bai Cantonese Restaurant, Sheraton Towers Singapore, tel: 6839-5623. $65 for a box of four; Aug 15-Sept 15.
The skin is a tad oilier than Xin Cuisine’s double yolk mooncake, and slightly burnt as well, but what made this mooncake so compelling was the yolk – moist, with a good gau saltiness. The luscious paste also got our nod of approval.
5 SEA SALT CARAMEL AND SINGLE YOLK
Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, tel: 6885-3081. $35 for a box of two; now until Sept 15.
Although certain aspects need a little more finesse – the yolk is a bit oilier than the other mooncakes, and the baked crust is just a few steps shy of tasting burnt – the salted caramel and lotus paste melange kept us reaching out for more.
6 LOW SUGAR MINI WALNUT MOONTART
Wah Lok Cantonese Restaurant, Carlton Hotel (Bras Basah), tel: 6349-1292 and Carlton City Hotel (Tanjong Pagar), tel: 6632-8921. $64.20 for a box of eight; Aug 18-Sept 15.
How adorable are these? This retro number has a buttery shell with a cookie-like snap, and the requisite smooth paste. The chunks of walnut are a nice change from the usual melon seeds, too.
7 BAKED SKIN SUGAR-FREE WHITE LOTUS PASTE WITH ROASTED MELON SEEDS
Baker’s Well, 35 East Coast Road, tel: 6348-6864. $68 for a box of four; now until Sept 15.
The aroma was promising and the mooncake happily lived up to our expectations. The sugar-free paste was yielding, and the generous amount of melon seeds was evenly spread.
8 LOW SUGAR WHITE LOTUS SEED PASTE WITH DOUBLE YOLK
Xin Cuisine Chinese Restaurant, Holiday Inn Atrium Singapore, tel: 6731-7173. $62 for a box of four; now until Sept 15.
Perhaps the ideal traditional baked mooncake with a thin, not too oily skin and a silky white lotus paste. Perfectly cooked, the yolks hold just the right amount of saltiness, too.