Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mooncakes - a recommendation

There was a time not too many years ago when the majority of mooncakes in Taiwan were vile, nasty things; weighty bean-based bricks containing a salty egg yolk at the centre and encased in a tough pastry. You can still buy them today but you don't see so many people eating them anymore.

The new breed of mooncakes are much lighter and smaller with flaky pastry and a sweet, usually adequately tasty, filling. But even then, when you've tasted one mooncake, you've pretty much tasted them all.

There are, however, rare instances of outstanding mooncakes, and last year my wife was fortunate enough to receive a box of truly wonderful mooncakes made by Shun Ching 順 慶. Man, these things are incredible. Super soft flaky pastry, red bean filling with a distinctive caramel flavour, and a dollop of "mwah-jee", a sort of white elastic goo.

We decided to get them again this year and bought some extra boxes to give away. They're not cheap, but would you really expect them to be? I had a couple today, still warm from their kitchens at 214 Hsiang Shang North Road (Taichung City). Heaven. They go exceedingly well with a hot cup of tea or coffee.

[Update: links removed, sorry. The Shun Ching website has apparently been taken over by a smut site.]

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