By Dyske September 30th, 2012
Yesterday, on my way home, I saw a Chinese lady carrying four bags of mooncakes and realized that it is now the season for them; Mid-Autumn Festival, which is apparently today (September 30) according to Wikipedia. From what I read on the Web, mooncakes are so labor-intensive that most people do not bother making them at home. I asked several of my Chinese friends and they told me to get the ones sold in a box at Chinese supermarkets. Last night, I went back out to Chinatown to look for them. A teacher at my daughter’s school told me that Fuxiangyuan is a good brand to get, so I went to about a dozen different bakeries and supermarkets to find it. I finally found it at New York Mart at 128 Mott Street. I was so excited to find it that I didn’t pay attention to the flavor indicated on the side of the box, and I ended up getting a mixed nuts version (Photo B: $20 per box of 4), which is not the traditional kind. On the way back home, I also bought one from Natalie Bakery on Grand Street at Forsyth (Photo A: $5 each). They make their own.
This morning, another friend told me to go to Golden Fung Wong Bakery Shop on Mott Street at Pell Street. They too make their own mooncakes and they have many different kinds. I got the traditional one with lotus seed paste and egg yolks (photo C: $4 each). I went back to New York Mart to get the traditional kind but it was already sold out. In fact, I noticed that everyone sold out of all the imported mooncakes with lotus seed paste and egg yolks. The only ones I could find were ones with untraditional flavors, ones made elsewhere like Malaysia, or ones made by local bakeries. The expensive ones sold out first.
My family happened to go near Flushing, Queens today, so we went to Hong Kong Supermarket on Main Street. When we got there, there were still about a dozen boxes available (Photo D: $11 per box of 4). As I was inspecting it, they were flying off the shelf, and by the time we left, they were all gone.
Since I’m not familiar with the flavors of lotus seed paste and salted duck eggs, I can’t judge which one was the best, but I personally preferred the one from Golden Fung Wong (Photo C). I liked the saltiness of the egg yolk combined with the sweetness of the lotus seed paste. These should be eaten with a cup of tea. It’s essentially a way to sweeten the tea without actually putting sugar in the tea. As you can see from the photos, the imported ones look the best. I saw many other house-made ones, and none of them looked as good as the imported ones.