Article by XIANEASE
As with most Chinese Holidays, Mid-Autumn Festival has its own designated foodstuff, the mooncake. Mooncakes come in a variety of sizes and flavors, with the traditional filling being one of lotus paste or red bean paste, sometimes with a salted duck egg yolk in the middle to represent the moon that is at the center of this holiday. However, in order to differentiate themselves in an ever more saturated market, many shops have turned to increasingly unusual flavor combos in order to attract the masses. As such, we have lined up 5 of the more unusual flavors being offered up this year.
This one is not exactly new to Xi’an, as meat-filled mooncakes, while less common in Northern China, are quite popular in the southeast. Meat mooncakes are typically wrapped in the crispy ‘su’ style outer coating, popular among Cantonese desserts, and will contain pork, meat floss, ham, crayfish, or some combination thereof . These can be picked up at any Hippo supermarket, and are probably going to be the most affordable on this list, coming in at 24RMB for 2 pieces or 45RMB for 4 pieces.
Pumpkin is heavily associated with the fall in many places, as it is a fruit that becomes ripe right around this time. While pumpkin spice lattes ma never take off in China, the folks at the Gran Melia have incorporated this flavor into one of their mooncake sets. If you’d like to get an extra bite of fall, you can pick up a set of these at the Gran Melia. Sets range from 198 to 598RMB, but the pumpkin version only comes in the 598 set.
Ice Cream (with whiskey)
Haagen-dazs has been making ice cream mooncakes for several years now, so it should come as no surprise that they will be doing so once again this year. Flavor set include fruit (blueberry, mango, apple, etc.), chocolate (dark, white, coconut), tea-flavored (Black, green, and oolong), and a special set containing coffee, cookie, and whiskey flavored mooncakes. Sets start at 268 and run up to 898RMB (that’s the whiskey one), so there are a variety of price points available.
If you’re looking for a cheaper option, both Ganso bakery and Maky Bakery have gotten into the ice cream mooncake game in recent years, so you can check them out as well, but they likely won’t have whiskey.
We honestly thought that the extreme bacon craze that was popular on the internet a few years back would have died off by now, but here it is, back, and in a mooncake. The Black Pepper Flavored Bacon Mooncake is just one of the flavors being offered in this year’s Starbucks mooncake packages, which also include a white truffle and cheese flavor, sea salt and espresso flavor, and an osmanthus and cranberry flavor, among others. Sets at the popular coffee chain start at 348RMB and go up to 598RMB, so they are likely to set you back a bit.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? Being little desserts, excepting the meat mooncakes mentioned above, it makes sense that chocolate has made its way into a mooncake. This year, Godiva Chocolatier at Gaoxin’s Glorious Plaza is offering up boxes of two chocolate flavors, Dark chocolate with an Osmanthus Red Bean Paste center and Green tea and White Chocolate with a kumquat filling. If you can stomach the price (349-416RMB) for ONE of each mooncake and some of their signature chocolates, then you can pick them up at the store. If you’d like to spend 539RMB, you can get a box containing 4 unique flavors. There are a few others getting in on the chocolate mooncake game, so keep your eye out for other options.
Where do I get them: Godiva Chocolatier
(Gaoxin Glorious Plaza)