Mooncake festival (also know as the Mid-Autumn Festival) in Singapore is another joyous period where families and loved ones get together to celebrate, eat, appreciate tea and decadent mooncakes, and enjoy basking in the moonlight. Even though we hardly get to see the moon from our HDB flats in Singapore these days due to tighter COVID-19 restrictions, we are still able to enjoy this festival with our family in the comfort of our own homes; which also means that all of the mooncakes that you receive this year will most likely have to be consumed by you and your household members - which may or may not be a good thing for your waistlines.
In this article, &glazed shares the different types of mooncakes available in Singapore and how different they are and how they should be best stored after receiving them.
Hero image https://unsplash.com/@hdhuong233 Huong Ho
Traditional Baked White Lotus Mooncakes
The most traditional and basic of the mooncakes that we know - Traditional Basked White Lotus Mooncakes. They are the ones that you can get typically from well-known hotels paired with beautiful packaging and these usually last about 15 to 30 days. Some mooncakes do last up to a year, depending on the preservative used.
Remember to: always check labels and store opened mooncakes in an airtight container to extend it’s life. Moisture and exposure to air is the bane of all mooncakes!
Traditional Mooncakes with Egg Yolks
Most often, the egg yolks used in mooncakes are salted duck egg yolks. These bad boys can last up to a year, thanks to its preparation methods. You should typically find these eggs in your neighborhood wet markets in Singapore with a charcoal coating around the egg. These eggs are made through a long brining process with salt.
These mooncakes share similar shelf life as the Traditional Baked White Lotus Mooncakes as the fillings are similar (both being White Lotus!). These are best consumed within 30 days
Remember to: only consume when you have checked that there are no white mold in the filling or any discoloration on the outer crust. Mooncakes that are improperly kept or have been exposed to air have a higher chance of getting mold.
Traditional Ham and Nuts
A traditional ham and nuts mooncake (五仁 - Wu Ren) contains nuts and Chinese cured ham. These mooncakes have a unique smokiness and have a rustic and uneven texture compared to its traditional counterpart -- the lotus seed paste filling.
The shelf life of the Wu Ren mooncakes are usually longer and can last just by leaving it covered in a dry and dark place in your home. You can expect a Wu Ren mooncake to last up to 2 - 3 years, if unopened. If you are unsure, always check the expiry label. Do note that all mooncakes from legitimate retail hotels or stores have been tested by SFA (Singapore Food Agency).
The only deep fried mooncake featuring Yam filling (Orh Ni) makes the list as one of Singaporeans' favorite mooncakes. Upon purchasing from the store, you will be advised to consume these mooncakes within 3-5 days. The creaminess and taste of the yam filling will deteriorate after 5 days as it starts to dry up and harden. For maximum flavor, we highly recommend to consume as soon as you get them!
The shelf life of a yam mooncake is usually around 1 week, if kept frozen. We highly recommend to air fry or oven bake it if it's frozen to revert it back to its glorious form. Likewise for all mooncakes, do not consume once visible mold can be found on the crust or the filling of the mooncake.
Snow Skin Mooncakes
The snow skin mooncakes trend took off in the 2000s, right after the once-popular ice cream cake craze. The snow skin mooncake features the widest variety of flavours, ranging from Hokkaido milk to alcohol and other exotic combinations.
Due to the ingredients used, it is typically kept frozen until consumption. Just like ice cream, these mooncakes usually contain an large amount of cream and dairy ingredients and therefore, consuming it within 1 month of purchase would be ideal. However, these could vary depending on what flavour the mooncake is.
Durian and Alcohol Mooncakes
The durian season is here and we all know fellow fanatics of the fruit that would kill for a decent set of Durian Mooncakes. The Durian and Alcohol-filled mooncakes are not the traditional ones our parents grew up with, but it is definitely here to stay. These mooncakes come in a snow skin shell that requires refrigeration after buying them.
Golden Moments suggests to store them in a freezer after buying them and it should be eaten within 3 months of purchase.
Find out more here : Golden Moments durian and alcohol mooncakes
The right tea pairing can elevate your mooncake experience. Although we are not experts in tea pairing, my personal favorite is a nice and full-bodied 铁观音 (tie guan yin). Most of you may know the tea from our local bak kut teh stall - this tea delivers a slight bitter aftertaste on your tongue that acts as a really nice palette cleanser, especially after a bite of the sweet and savory mooncake.
For tea pairing information you can find out here: A michelin guide to tea and mooncake pairing
Other examples of Mid-Autumn Festival related snacks are like the piggy biscuit, which is definitely one of my favourites! The simple crumbly pastry in the shape of a pig - ah, this brings me back to the good old days. These snacks can last for quite a while, as long as it is well-kept in a dark and dry place so that mold and moisture will not be able to spoil its quality.
If you really love these old snacks, you can check out your nearest NTUC or traditional bakers like Tai Thong Cake shop.
Lastly, we would like to wish everyone a great mooncake festival and hope that we are able to pull through the current situation that we are in together stronger. Here at &glazed, Belinda and I will continue our tradition of sipping bubbly champagne whilst enjoying the creaminess of a nice baked white lotus mooncake this Mid-Autumn Festival and we hope you have a great one!
How long can mooncakes last in the fridge?
Traditional white lotus skin mooncakes with an anti-moisture sachet can last up to 30 days, if well-kept in an airtight container. Other mooncakes, such as the Teochew Yam Mooncake, should best not be stored for more than 7 days after purchasing. These can be kept frozen to extend its shelf life, however, do check out the expiry and informational labels as different mooncakes have different expiry dates, depending on how it was produced.
Should mooncakes be refrigerated?
To retain its freshness of the crust and fillings, mooncakes should best not be refrigerated. Because of Singapore's humid climate, it is advisable to keep it in an airtight container and consume it as soon as it is opened. Before you open any packaging, always check the expiry date of the mooncake.
Can you freeze mooncakes?
It is possible to freeze mooncakes, however this does not increase it's shelf life. Freezing a snow skin mooncake is fine as it is best served cold, however for traditional mooncakes, it is best to not freeze them and consume within the expiration date. No traditional or yam mooncakes taste nice after thawing.