Cover Photo: Courtesy of Royal Caviar Club

The annual Mid-Autumn Festival sweet treat gets creative with unconventional fillings that defy the imagination

When it comes to putting a spin on the original, few Chinese festive treats—such as rice dumplings for Dragon Boat Festival or Chinese New Year puddings—are reimagined as often as mooncakes. Every year, creative bakers and confectioners develop innovative new variations on the traditional dessert. If you are looking for an unconventional boxful that goes beyond the traditional versions filled with lotus seed paste with egg yolks or creamy custard, take a look at our picks of the most unusual offerings available this year.

Related: 5 Mooncake Facts You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Osmanthus Mooncakes from Wai Yuen Tong

Founded in 1897, traditional Chinese medicine company Wai Yuen Tong is revitalising the traditional sweet pastry with a youthful new look and fresh flavour combinations. The revamped mooncake, launching this year, is a recipe with a touch of fruity citrus and floral notes thanks to the osmanthus infused into the conventional white lotus seed paste, a welcoming contrast to the filling's typically cloying sweetness. 

Matcha Mochi and Bakkwa and Pork Floss Mooncakes from Shang Palace

Created and crafted by the team led by executive Chinese chef Cheung Long-Yin, the new mooncakes at the Kowloon Shangri-La cover the basics with an added twist—rose sugar is infused with lotus seed paste, for example, and sweetened taro filling is used for the Teochew-style laminated lard pastry mooncake. The most interesting twists come in the form of the hotel’s two newest mooncake varieties: the bakkwa and pork floss mooncake and miniature matcha mooncakes with red bean, yuzu paste and mochi. Celebrated throughout Asia, bakkwa is a sweet-and-salty meat jerky often sold warm. Cheung incorporates the treat with dry pork floss to create a savoury and sweet filling. The matcha variety takes on multiple sweet elements—stewed adzuki beans are mixed with yuzu and soft mochi and set inside a matcha-flavoured mooncake pastry. 


Pork Mooncakes from Feather And Bone

Local meat and produce purveyor Feather And Bone have recently launched their first mooncakes for Mid-Autumn Festival. Unlike most varieties where a caramel-laced pastry is filled with a sweet, often creamy filling, the butcher shop’s varieties are inspired by a traditional meat pie. The pork mooncakes are filled with bacon-wrapped meat filling consisting of Australian free-range pork and Tuscan lardo di Colonnata, or cured pork fat. The meat filling is seasoned with sage, thyme, garlic, and nutmeg and is encased within a butter-rich flaky pastry. 

Abalone Mooncakes from Reign Abalone House

Abalone specialists Reign Abalone House are celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival with two different kinds of mooncakes, filled with black truffles and abalone. Among the four varieties of mooncakes available from the local brand is the signature rich custard mooncake filled with diced South African abalone. A variation on the signature will replace the abalone with black truffles from Umbria, Italy—the new truffle custard mooncake boasts the distinctive earthy aroma of the beloved fungus. Also available at Reign Abalone House are more traditional egg lava custard mooncakes and chocolate mooncakes with Moutai spirit.

Caviar Mooncakes from the Royal Caviar Club

Royal Caviar Club debuts mooncakes this year, with a limited run of 1,000 boxes. A collaboration with chef Nick Chew, formerly of Le Comptoir’s Bibo restaurant in Sheung Wan, the luxury mooncake is a savoury one best served chilled. The brand new caviar mooncake consists of a mild glutinous mochi wrapper holding 10 grams of the brand’s Royal Cristal caviar, truffled potato, and a generous helping of Australian winter black truffles.