Mooncake season is upon us once again, so it’s only natural that we round up the weirdest, most bizarre flavors. Because who needs traditional lotus paste baked goods when we can sink our teeth (happily or not) into strange snow skin creations made with popcorn, durian and black truffle, bubble tea, and mocha salted egg?
Here are some of the more unconventional mooncakes coming your way this Mid-Autumn Festival — try ’em at your tastebuds’ own risk.
Love durian? Can’t get enough of truffle? We never thought we’d see the two potent, pungent ingredients together, but apparently potato chip maker Aroma Truffle saw the challenge, accepted it, and it made it work in a mooncake. These babies are filled with creamy Mao Shan Wang, infused with black Italian truffles, and wrapped up in bamboo charcoal snow skin gleaming with edible gold flakes. The very definition of extra.
$88/box of four. Available at Aroma Truffle Boutique at Chinatown Point and various mooncake fairs.
Taking advantage of our obsession with bubble tea, the bakery launches its new limited edition Bobba Love Collection featuring four snow skin flavors. There’s pearl latte with white boba bits, pearl yuan yang, passion fruit with mango and kanten jelly, and matcha with pomelo, red beans, and kanten jelly. Best nibbled on with sips of brown sugar pearl milk for that OTT sugar rush.
$70/box of eight, limited to 1,000 boxes. Available at all Bakerzin outlets and online till Sept 13.
How cool does a Mother of Dragons mooncake sound? Inspired by the hotel’s cocktail of the same name at MO Bar, this snow skin interpretation is a virgin version of the fruity drink. Candied dragon fruit chunks are sweetened and dried for about three hours before they’re mixed into a dragon fruit lotus paste containing the essence of the beverage — but without the booze.
$81.30/box of eight. Available at Cherry Garden, Mandarin Oriental, Singapore until Sept 13.
Apparently, mixing durian with truffle is now a thing. But Golden Moments takes it up a notch with its jaw-dropping $628 limited edition set. (Are mooncakes even worth that much?)
Claiming to use 100 percent pure Mao Shan Wang, with “premium gold dust” (is there any other kind?), and no preservatives, the brand packs its goods with dark chocolate shell, Australian winter black truffle, infused truffle paste and oil, and four layers of 24K gold leaves.
The company justifies its price tag by including a 24K gold plate, along with a gold teapot, teacups, fork, and knife in the glittering box. Oh, and it’s even got you covered with a golden napkin box, just in case you’d like to wipe that sparkle off your lips, Crazy Rich Asians style.
$628/box of four; pre-orders only. Available online.
It’s GrabFood’s first time diving into mooncake season, and the company is teaming up with local home bakers from around the region to spotlight their contemporary interpretations of the traditional delicacy. Unconventional flavors are the result, including a savory sambal shrimp one by Mooncake Mamas (inspired by nasi lemak), who are also doing up a mocha salted egg recipe.
Other options include ondeh ondeh by Raymond Tan, with pandan-flavored mocha and gula melaka lotus paste, and milk tea with pearl by Cream and Custard, mixing milk tea lotus paste with a brown sugar mocha center.
$75/box of four. Available for order on GrabFood.
New this year, Hilton’s blueberry cheesecake snow skin is inspired by the hotel’s signature American cheesecake. There’s also a passion fruit one with mint snow skin, and all mooncakes come in a tiffin-style carrier or designer handbag, both printed with colorful floral motifs.
$66/box of eight. Available at Hilton Singapore until Sept 13.
The Hokkaido soft serve brand debuts its mooncakes with six raw milk gelato snow skin options: chocolate, double cheese, strawberry, matcha, cookies and cream, and fresh milk. Conveniently, you’re allowed to buy just one piece (at a relatively affordable price), so you don’t have to spend half your week’s budget on a box.
$6/piece at Icenoie Hokkaido outlets until Sept 13.
Bringing you a taste of Japan in the form of mooncakes, local dessert maestro Janice Wong packs her snow skin goodies, prettified in muted hues, with flavors like Hokkaido kinako, Kyoto hojicha, Tokushima sweet potato, Kumamoto chestnut, and Wakayama ume.
$65/box of nine. Available online.
In collaboration with Chinese restaurant Madame Fan, the hotel’s snow skin offerings spotlight the new Tian Mi Mi, a cocktail from the bar that’s been given new life as a mooncake. In it, a white chocolate shell is piped with a ganache made from spiced whisky, honey, and mandarin. Taking inspiration from Asian flavors, the other creations include osmanthus and chendol.
$72-$76/box of eight. Available at JW Marriott Singapore South Beach’s Festive Counter and at Madame Fan until Sept 13.
Kam’s Roast is probably one of the restaurants least likely to appear on a mooncake list, of all things, but here it is anyway.
Creating what it calls the first roast duck mooncake in Singapore, the eatery stuffs lotus paste with its signature bird dish, along with a mix of walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, melon seeds, and olive seeds. If you don’t think meat and sweet paste should mix, try the red bean one instead, which is layered with 23-year aged orange peels.
$68/box of four or $18/piece. Available for pre-order at Kam’s Roast outlets.
Since the hotel’s cocktail bar, Manhattan, is always in the news for being one of the top bars in Asia, it’s no surprise that one of the new snow skin mooncakes is named Manhattan Hanky Panky. The alcoholic creation is based on one of the watering hole’s signature cocktails, and features Ford’s Gin, bitters, and crunchy chocolate pearls.
If you’re not much of a drinker, try the, er, Basilico truffle carbonara, a tribute to its namesake dish. It doesn’t sound like the most appetizing of combinations, but perhaps it’ll appeal to the pasta enthusiasts among us with its black truffle cream cheese filling. Or not.
Other unusual flavors include yuzu strawberry cheesecake and osmanthus tea with purple cauliflower. Looks like someone’s been very busy in the kitchen experimenting with wacky new recipes this year.
$81.30/box of eight. Available at Regent Singapore until Sept 13.
Those popular Hong Kong-style baked custard mooncakes with bird’s nest return for more, although they’re only available as the restaurant’s limited edition box. To try something new and different, opt for the snow skin box, which contains flavors like kaya with white chocolate and yuzu with sake and white chocolate as part of the reduced sugar white lotus paste with nuts selection.
Mini baked custard bird’s nest $120/box of eight; snow skin $80/box of eight. Available at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore lobby until Sept 13.
Finding the middle ground between pineapple tarts and mooncakes, the Taiwanese brand’s pineapple custard mooncakes contain a smear of salted egg for a mix of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors. It’s kind of like getting the best of both worlds between Chinese New Year and Mid-Autumn Festival.
$45/box of six. Available at SunnyHills outlets and online.
Newcomers to Jade Restaurant’s mooncake line-up this year include ondeh ondeh and bandung snow skin flavors. The orange-hued former features the familiar trio of coconut, gula melaka, and pandan, while the latter is a pastel pink, rose-scented creation reminiscent of the beverage.
$62-$73/box of four. Available for order online.
Chef Alvin Leung’s first mooncake range for the hotel offers mini baked ones made with caramel mixed nuts or “golden corn” (i.e. popcorn) in its “theatre combo”, in a nod to the Capitol Theatre. But if you’re not much of a movie-goer, try the fruit-based filling consisting of American figs instead.
$64-$72/box of eight mini mooncakes, $72/box of four fig mooncakes. Available at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore and at 15 Stamford by Alvin Leung until Sept 13.
Still hungry? Read on for more:
Eat like a local: The A to Z guide of Singapore’s most iconic local, hawker and specialty foods
Meatless meats: Where to try Impossible Foods’ plant-based burgers, pizzas, sausages, and more in Singapore
Best rooftop bars in Singapore: Where to go for cocktails with a view
This article, Alternative mooncakes of Mid-Autumn 2019: From durian truffle and sambal shrimp to roast duck and carbonara, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!