Lately, Muslim readers who have been following my mooncake reviews have lamented that all the delectable pastries featured are non-Halal. They can only look at the pictures, and not enjoy any of the actual treats.
Thanks to Concorde Hotel, Muslim mooncake lovers can also indulge in this scrumptious cake! Yes, the hotel’s range of exquisite mooncakes are halal-certified. Hooray!
Unboxing the mooncakes
The mooncake packaging is one of the classiest I have seen this season.
The box has a black base tinged in gold and oriental floral patterns decorating the antique gold cover. The material feels thick and hardy, and can be used as a storage box after the festival. Jade beads attached with a brown tassel add that final touch of detail. Interestingly, the cover fits right into the box instead of over it.
A round jade piece carved with the hotel’s logo forms the centrepiece on the cover. Faux jade appears to be quite popular this moon festival! Speaking of which, what would you do with these mooncake boxes? We have collected quite a number and they sure are too pretty to be thrown away!
Open the box and you will find the mooncakes immaculately kept in matte gold boxes. A plastic knife has been thoughtfully provided for your mooncake cutting convenience.
Curiously enough, neither bamboo charcoal nor yam are listed as ingredients for the charcoal baked yam mooncake.
There you go, the halal certification! (The mooncakes are imported from Malaysia, which explains why the clear plastic packaging is stamped with the Malaysian halal symbol.)
Charcoal baked yam mooncake
The charcoal baked yam mooncake is a new flavour for Mid-Autumn Festival 2010. Don’t be misled by its seemingly snowskin appearance. This “albino” mooncake is in fact of the baked skin variety!
S$40 for a box of 4
Cutting into the soft skin reveals a black lotus paste filling with a purple yam portion at its centre. What an unforgettable colour combination! White on the outside, black on the inside – kinda like the inverse of an Oreo cookie, don’t you think?
The lotus paste filling is blackened by what I guess is bamboo charcoal powder. Bamboo charcoal is essentially made from burnt bamboo, and has health benefits such as boosting the immune system and improving blood circulation. The yam portion isn’t the rich yam paste that one may expect, but a yam-flavoured lotus paste. On the whole, the pastry has a nice fragrance, tastes essentially like the traditional lotus paste mooncake and isn’t overtly sweet.
Mixed nuts mooncake
S$40 for a box of 4
To hold all the crushed nuts together, the mixed nuts mooncake sports a thicker pastry skin. Go nuts over this one! The fragrant, nutty filling is a pleasure to munch on, although the almonds are a tad bitter.
For those of you who are careful with your sugar intake, low sugar white lotus mooncakes with single/double egg yolks (S$42/46 for a box of 4) are available. I like these the best, as the lotus paste and egg yolks strike the right balance of sweet, salty and savoury.
Muslim friends, are you indulging in any mooncakes this season? Where are you buying your Halal-certified mooncakes? Share with us in the comments!