What Does Mooncake Taste Like? Good or Not?

If you enjoy sweets, you’re certainly aware of the well-known mooncakes that are sold on the streets of China throughout the late summer and early fall. These lovely sweets have a historical significance and are relished throughout China’s Mid-Autumn festival, which lasts for a whole week. Now that we’ve gotten a grasp of what Mooncakes are, let’s explore their taste.

What Does Mooncake Taste Like?

Moon Cake
Moon Cake

Mooncakes typically have a sweet and dense filling, often made from ingredients like lotus seed paste, red bean paste, or various types of nuts. The taste can be described as rich, slightly sweet, and sometimes nutty.

Sounds like a yummy treat, right?

Most mooncakes feature a thick and soft pastry covering that envelops a dense, sweet filling. In some cases, there might be one or more egg yolks nestled at the cake’s center, symbolizing the full moon. It gives a savory and salty contrast to the overall sweetness of the cake.

However, the taste of mooncakes can be entirely transformed based on tradition, with the option of either frying or steaming them.

Different Filings Associated with Different Taste

Although all mooncakes share a sweet and crumbly outer layer, the exact taste varies depending on the filling inside. If you’re curious about the complete range of mooncake flavors, keep reading.

Lotus Seed Paste

Mooncake with double yolk and lotus seed paste
Mooncake with double yolk and lotus seed paste

Mooncakes are conventionally filled with a paste made from lotus seeds which imparts a delicately sweet and floral flavor. This is one of the most popular and classic fillings. It has a smooth and slightly grainy texture, with a subtly sweet and nutty flavor. Lotus seed paste is often paired with salted egg yolks for a sweet-savory contrast.

While some individuals might appreciate the understated taste and the contrast it provides against the crust, others could find it excessively rich or lacking in distinctiveness.

Custard Filling

Custard mooncake from Kowloon Hotel
Custard mooncake from Kowloon Hotel

People love custard filling in snow skin mooncakes, which are usually enjoyed cold and have a refreshing taste. These mooncakes come in different colors and flavors like green tea, purple yam, and mango, giving a lot of tasty options. The custard filling inside the mooncakes is creamy and sweet, and it goes well with the soft texture of the snow skin.

Red Bean Paste

Red Bean Mooncake
Red Bean Mooncake

Another common filling, red bean paste offers a smoother texture with a mildly sweet and earthy taste. It’s made from cooked and sweetened adzuki beans. Further, its creamy texture makes it an ideal choice as a filling for various pastries.

Ham with Kernels

Ham and Five Kernel Mooncakes
Ham and Five Kernel Mooncakes

The flavor of the ham with kernels mooncake filling offers a savory and nutty blend that’s well-liked in Cantonese-style mooncakes. This filling consists of candied ham, an assortment of nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, watermelon seeds, and sesame seeds. Moreover, it also has dried fruits such as candied winter melon, candied orange, or currants.

Coconut

Mooncake with Coconut Filling
Mooncake with Coconut Filling

A classic option among mooncake fillings is the coconut variety, created by turning shredded coconut into a paste and then filling the soft mooncake bun. This choice presents a familiar and gentle taste that’s both mild and creamy, accompanied by a luxurious texture that’s bound to leave a lasting impression.

Green Tea

Green Tea Mooncake
Green Tea Mooncake

One of the new additions to the world of mooncake fillings is the green tea flavor. These buns have been infused with green tea essence and are dusted with a sprinkling of green-colored powder. It also helps in creating an appealing visual presentation.

Cream Cheese

Cream Cheese Snowy Mooncake
Cream Cheese Snowy Mooncake

An incredibly rich mooncake flavor to consider is the cream cheese filling. If you’re a cheesecake enthusiast, this flavor is worth a try. Its creamy texture, paired with the soft bun produces an incredibly delicious dessert. After taking the first bite, you can expect a soft, flaky, and crumbly outer layer that encases a tender inside by overwhelming your taste senses.

Salted Egg Yolk

Salted Egg Yolk with Lotus filling
Salted Egg Yolk with Lotus filling

Typically placed within the center of the mooncake, salted egg yolks provide a rich, salty burst of flavor that balances the sweetness of the surrounding paste. People usually prefer this type of mooncake for their breakfast.

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How Cooking Methods Affect the Taste of Mooncake?

Each person has their preferred cooking method based on their mood and requirements. For instance, someone might opt to bake a cake, while others lean towards steaming or frying mooncakes. How do these cooking techniques influence the taste of mooncakes? Let’s find out.

Baking

Baking mooncakes is a traditional approach that involves placing them in an oven until they achieve a golden, crisp exterior. The baked mooncakes feature a sweet, flaky pastry crust reminiscent of pie crust. This crust can showcase an array of patterns and designs such as flowers, stars, or characters. The fillings for baked mooncakes can vary based on the maker’s preference or the region.

Baked mooncakes offer a taste that is both sweet and slightly salty, accompanied by a dense and rich texture. The filling itself can exhibit a smooth, creamy, or crunchy consistency depending on the chosen ingredients. The inclusion of salted egg yolk adds a savory contrast to the sweetness of the filling and the crust.

Steaming

Steaming influences the taste of mooncakes by conserving moisture and the natural flavor of ingredients. It helps in preventing excessive browning or caramelization. It renders mooncakes soft and moist, lending them a mild and delicate flavor.

This method also maintains mooncakes’ natural and vibrant color and permits diverse color variations using natural food coloring. Steaming is also a traditional approach to crafting mooncakes, especially in southern China. It also results in less oily and more refreshing mooncakes preferred by many people.

Frying

Frying mooncakes involves immersing them in oil until they acquire a golden and crispy exterior. This cooking method is especially popular in certain Chinese regions such as Fujian, Guangdong, and Hainan.

Through frying, mooncakes undergo a transformation that enhances the flavor and texture of their crust, rendering it more aromatic and flaky. The taste of fried mooncakes is akin to a delightful combination of a doughnut and a pie, featuring a rich and moist filling within.

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Does Storage Affect the Taste of Mooncake?

Storing Mooncakes
Storing Mooncakes

YES, the flavor of mooncakes can be influenced by their storage conditions. Maintaining the right storage environment is essential to preserve the taste and freshness of mooncakes. Factors like temperature, humidity, and exposure to light play a role in their quality and shelf life.

Poor storage may result in issues such as loss of moisture, mold growth, rancidity, or spoilage. It’s advisable to adhere to storage guidelines and consume mooncakes within the indicated expiration dates. Here are some storage tips for different mooncake types:

  • Traditional mooncakes without sealed packaging should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They can last for weeks or months, depending on their filling and preservatives.
  • Snowskin mooncakes are best kept refrigerated after purchase and have a shorter shelf life, usually under 10 days. Freezing can negatively affect their texture and taste.
  • Mooncakes with fresh fruit or homemade fillings might have a shorter shelf life compared to commercially produced ones with preservatives. Refrigeration and consumption within a few days are recommended.

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3 Ways To Enhance the Taste of Mooncake 

Among the many options available to make mooncakes taste better, we’re going to talk about three genuine ways. To try these out, it’s best to stick with the traditional mooncake recipe and follow these methods:

  • Pairing Perfection: Enhance the enjoyment by pairing mooncakes with the right beverages. While Chinese tea like oolong or pu-erh is traditional, you can get creative with teas, coffees, or wines that complement the flavors.
  • Filling Fantasy: Choose mooncake fillings that resonate with your taste buds. From classic lotus seed paste to modern custard or cream cheese, there’s a world of flavors to explore. Mixing and matching fillings can result in delightful combinations that cater to your preferences.
  • Homemade Delights: Opt for homemade mooncakes for a fresher and more customizable experience. Crafting them yourself lets you control ingredients, sweetness, and texture. Don’t forget to use various molds for unique shapes and patterns.

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Conclusion

In the world of flavors, mooncakes stand as a delightful surprise. With their sweet and sometimes nutty fillings, they offer a taste that’s rich and comforting, like a warm hug for your taste buds. But hey, don’t just take my word for it – take a “moonwalk” into the world of mooncakes! Trying them is like discovering a hidden treasure of taste, a chance to savor tradition and innovation in one bite. So, whether you’re into classics or curious about new twists, taking a bite of a mooncake is like taking a journey through flavors that’s totally out of this world!

What Does Mooncake Taste Like? - FAQs

What is a mooncake?

A mooncake is a traditional Chinese pastry often enjoyed during the Mid-Autumn Festival. It’s typically round or square and has a sweet or savory filling encased in a thin, tender crust.

What do mooncakes taste like?

Mooncakes have a diverse range of flavors depending on their fillings. They can be sweet, nutty, earthy, or even savory. The taste can be described as rich, sometimes slightly sweet, and occasionally accompanied by contrasting notes from ingredients like salted egg yolks or nuts.

Are all mooncakes sweet?

No, not all mooncakes are sweet. While many mooncakes have sweet fillings like lotus seed paste or red bean paste, there are also savory options, such as those with meat or vegetable fillings.

What makes mooncakes special compared to other pastries?

Mooncakes are special because they are deeply connected to cultural traditions and festivals, particularly the Mid-Autumn Festival. Their intricate designs, diverse fillings, and unique combination of flavors set them apart from other pastries. Mooncakes bring a sense of nostalgia and togetherness during this festive season.

Zonash Arshad
Zonash Arshad is a British traveler who has been dwelling around the whole EU to satisfy her wanderlust. She is an LLB graduate from the University of Westminster, which brings legal expertise to her writing along with a strong traveling sense. When she’s not fact-checking, writing, or reviewing the content on Hopdes, she can be found planning her next travel destination in her journal. She was last seen roaming around the Regent St, in London.

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