it’s just about a month away from the mooncake festival, and i’m all in the mood for mooncakes already! ^^ especially since i’ve been seeing photos of mooncakes appearing all over instagram since one month ago already :O can you believe it?! the celebratory mood is starting earlier every year! not that i’m complaining ;) i love my mooncakes, both the traditional and snow skin versions :D and i feel super lucky to have the opportunity to indulge in the widest variety of mooncakes i’ve ever had, at the OpenRice Mooncake Tasting at Xin Cuisine! (:
to prep our tastebuds for the sweets ahead, we were served delicious bite-sized entrees that are actually the signature dishes of Xin Cuisine! I was delighted, first by their intricate presentation, and of course, by the flavours that exploded in my mouth from these miniature versions of the original dishes.
i loved the deep-fried whitebait fish with salt and pepper which is the dish in the top picture in the kueh pie ti container! the taste was completely unexpected, with the crisp textures of the deep-fried fish enhanced by the savoury-peppery notes from the seasoning.
the baked scallop with Japanese Miso Sauce and eggplant was a hit amongst all the guests at the event! the rate at which it was snapped up was evidence of its popularity ;) the scallop was succulent and tasted naturally juicy, and was complemented by the appetizing eggplant soaked in miso sauce. the homestyle roast duck with tea leaves was very simply presented, and yet, perfect in its simplicity. the skin of the duck held such a wonderful aroma that seeped into the meat as well. finally, Xin’s crispy roast pork is a favourite as well, with just the right amount of fat and crisp skin.
the entrees could have been enough to satisfy my appetite, but next came the highlight of the night! and i was completely unprepared (but very pleasantly surprised) by the onslaught of mooncakes that followed. i’ve never tried such a wide variety of mooncakes before, and never imagined the sort of flavours that were concocted by Xin Cuisine’s chef.
i started off on a safe note with the most traditional of all mooncakes – the Single Yolk White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake ($52) was delicious in an understated manner – the sweetness of the lotus paste has been reduced, and this definitely makes health-conscious mooncake lovers (like myself) feel a little better about our indulgence :) those who aren’t fans of egg yolks, or who are extra big fans of egg yolks will be pleased to know that there are the White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake ($48) and Double Yolk White Lotus Seed Paste Mooncake ($56) respectively.
Xin Cuisine’s Special Egg Custard with Egg Yolk Mooncake ($52) is one of its specialties, and celebrates its Silver Jubilee this year. this was definitely one of my favourites with its soft custard interior that that was rich and creamy, but not cloying.
the last mooncake in the tiered stand was the X.O. Sauce with Assorted Nuts Mooncake ($56). i’m honestly not a big fan of mooncake with nuts but this was quite interesting with a mild X.O. flavour in it!
I would think of mooncakes to be paired with chinese tea, but Xin Cuisine came up with a creative twist on this! they came together with two wine suppliers to pair their 2013 mid autumn festival mooncakes with both red wine and prosecco (sparkling white wine)! it was sooo fascinating, and i was especially interested since prosecco comes from italy! ^^ we were encouraged to try out each of the mooncakes with both the red and white wines to see what we preferred. it was recommended that red wines go better with the traditional lotus paste mooncakes, while white wines are better paired with snowskin mooncakes. but really, it’s up to your personal preference! my favourite was the extra dry prosecco which was very crisp, without being too bubbly (i decided from italy that i don’t like very effervescent wines) and it helped to cleanse my palate in between the various mooncakes, so that i had a fresh start with every slice ^^
for the red wines, we had a Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. the Shiraz was slightly spicy, while the Cabernet Sauvignon was wonderfully full-bodied and was a great accompaniment to the mooncakes, by enhancing their flavour. so what i learnt from talking to the experts was that the type of wine you prefer to pair with the mooncakes is really a very personal decision! putting it simply, whether you prefer the wine or mooncake more ;) if you prefer the wine, choose something like the prosecco which freshens and refreshes; whereas if you like the lingering taste of mooncakes in your mouth, pick the Cabernet Sauvignon to preserve that lovely flavour.
then we had the snowskin mooncakes to try! :D on the far left was the Green Tea Lotus Paste with Chivas Chocolate ($50). i’ve always heard of the green tea-chivas combination as a drink, and since Xin Cuisine is located in such a close proximity to Zouk, it’s no secret where they got their inspiration from! ;) i’m just kidding. but this was one of my favourite mooncakes! gotta admit, this combination cannot go wrong ;)
the pretty pink mooncake was the Soursop and Chocolate Crunch ($50), which was one of the most interesting flavours! what was especially fascinating was that the texture of the mooncake’s interior was exactly like that of the soursop pulp! and the chocolate bits within it helped to balance our the acetic taste of the soursop.
the Passion Fruit Paste Snowskin Mooncake ($50) was very refreshing and was complemented with fresh mango!
for fans of Reeses Peanut Butter chocolate cups, you would LOVE the Black Sesame Paste with Peanut and Chocolate Snowskin Mooncake ($50)!!! that ball inside the mooncake tastes exactly like peanut butter cups!! ^^ i’m definitely a fan ;) and the black sesame had a robust flavour that was absolutely delicious.
the Champagne Chocolate and Pandan Lotus Paste ($50) subtly lures you in with its gentle aroma, while having a burst of alcohol when you bite into the centre. yummy! :)
Xin Cuisine really has mooncake flavours for everyone!!! Durian-lovers, you cannot miss Xin’s Mini Snowskin Peranakan Mooncake with Durian Paste ($50). i stayed far away from this :p but according to my sister who is a durian-lover, this tasted really authentic! ;)
finally, the star of the night – the Teochew Yam Paste with Single Egg Yolk ($52) was specially prepared by the chef on demand! apparently this mooncake is only made-to-order and is quite tedious to create, making it really special! this is one of my FAVOURITE types of mooncakes and i was super honoured to be able to try it! :)) tbh, i like peony jade’s version much better though. there is just something lacking in this, which i can’t identify. but it was definitely good nevertheless! :)
always excited to meet the chef!!! (: and hence the unglam fringe problem :p Chef Cheung Kin Nam is the man behind all the lovely mooncakes we ate that day! ^^
brought yi along for the tasting and took a pic with one of the openricers! :) thanks for the invitation Openrice!
**Xin Cuisine is having an exclusive 30% off their mooncakes when you quote “OpenRice Mooncake Promotion” (valid for the first 100 boxes until 30 Aug only). Just one week to go! Get your mooncakes now ^^