Saturday, August 7, 2010

A slice of the moon

A slice of the moon (The Malaysian Insider)
By Eu Hooi Khaw

The Ng Yan or assorted nuts mooncake... it's healthy and yummy.

KUALA LUMPUR, July 24 — The small slice of durian mooncake in ping pei just explodes in the mouth with the heavenly aroma and flavour of mau san wong, the king of durians. The ping pei avocado with custard is so creamy and smooth, buttery with a hint of pandan flavour.

I had just tasted the two best mooncakes at Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur: the first one has been a top favourite with hundreds of people since it was first made many years ago. Only the best durian suffices for this mooncake, and you have to eat it within three days of you taking it home, not that this is any problem.

The ping pei avocado is one of four new varieties to be added this year, thanks to Shangri-La’s new dimsum chef Low Kien Fatt. Now there are 14 altogether, eight baked ones and six ping pei.

The other three new ones include green tea with candied ginger, white chocolate with kumquat and dark chocolate with almond and hazelnut. The green tea one was a little too sweet but I loved the bits of ginger in it.

White lotus paste with egg yolk. Chef Low is a master of his craft.

The chef would have reduced the sweetness by now as he promised. There’s a citrusy lift to the white chocolate one that I liked, and the dark chocolate with a slight bitter edge and the crunch of nuts tastes good too.

As for the classic mooncakes, Shang has the best Ng Yan or mixed nuts one I have ever eaten. No wonder it sells so well. On the day I was there, someone had just ordered 50 boxes! There are more than 10 ingredients in the mooncake: sweet melon, sesame, almonds, kut paeng (candied mandarin orange peel), melon seeds, walnuts, hazelnuts, syrup and rose wine. I like this chewy, nutty and sticky mooncake which fills you up. Think of it as a great, healthy snack.

Most of the baked mooncakes have a very thin skin, just 18g of it per mooncake, all the better for you to enjoy the filling. This is especially true for the white lotus and golden lotus paste. The tau sar (red bean paste) and the Ng Yan have a thicker skin – 25g.

That’s because the Ng Yan has a lot of filling to hold together. And you can’t risk the dark filling showing through the skin for the red bean one. A melon seed called lam yan, which is more fragrant, is used for this mooncake, together with white melon seeds.

Green tea and bird's nest mooncakes... unusual takes on the classic.

Oh yes, the salted egg yolk. “It has to be sung far (light and disintegrate in your mouth),” says chef Low. The sale of mooncakes started on July 1, and since then he has been kept busy making 400 mooncakes a day.

There is another special mooncake that’s so delicate, yet luxurious in taste – the bird’s nest one with custard in ping pei.

The level of sugar in the mooncakes has been reduced in keeping with health trends.

Every year the Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur seems to outdo itself in the design of the mooncake boxes. This year’s is a silk-clad, cushiony one in gold and brown.

You can call to order at 03-2074 3560. You will receive two rebate vouchers valued at RM20 each to be used at Shang Palace and Zipangu for every mooncake gift box purchased.

The Mid-Autumn or Mooncake Festival is on September 22.

Other related mooncake posts:

> Baker's Cottage mooncake
> Casahana charcoal mooncake
> Burst of flavours
> Sweet autumn delights

Meanwhile, Baker's Cottage released their new flavours for 2010.