I have been a fan of Mandarin Oriental Hotel Kuala Lumpur’s chocolate-shelled moon cakes ever since it was first introduced to KL a number of years ago. I had chanced upon it by accident while staying at the hotel. From that chance encounter, I have remained loyal and will often grab a few boxes if I am in KL around the Mid-Autumn season for gifts and for my own sweet tooth.
However, this year I want to try other more ‘unusual’ creations that Lai Po Heen, the in-house Chinese restaurant of MO has to offer.
Snow Skin Durian (RM18)
At RM18 a piece, this is the must be the most expensive moon cake I have ever bought – and IT IS TINY! The size of a Chinese chess piece! I am tempted to pop the whole piece into my mouth, but decided to nibble at it instead as to make the experience last longer. It has a strong durian fragrance and tasted durian-ish. However, the filling were not grinded fine enough, thus the rough texture about it. I couldn’t put my finger to the other binding agent until I ate a piece with residual lotus seed. There we have it, durian and lotus seed paste snow skin moon cake .
The other 2 varieties I bought were MO’s medium-sized moon cakes at RM20 a piece.
Chestnut with Melon Seeds ($20)
The paste has a rough texture with pieces of melon seeds. I tasted something caramel-ish, but could not make out any hint of chestnut.
Pandanus Essence and Macadamia Nut ($20)
This has a very strong aroma of pandan when cut open. It was otherwise a very bland moon cake. One would not know that it has macadamia nut paste filling unless one reads the packaging. It’s rough and kind of floury. Incidentally, MO uses palm oil which I have no issues with. Quite frankly, the boycott of palm oils in Western countries is ridiculous and simply a propaganda for rape-seed and soybean oil industries which are substitutes for palm oil. Palm oil is healthy oil. Palm trees does not cause any ecological damage to the environment since they do not require replanting annually unlike the rape-seeds and soybeans. The palms’ replanting cycle is 25 years.
My verdict? Expensive and not well-made. The fillings have rough/ coarse texture which is disappointing especially when one is expecting the smooth ‘melt-in-your-mouth’ feel that is hallmark of a high-quality moon cake. Perhaps MO should think of purchasing a high-speed Vitamix blender. Moreover, the sizes of the moon cakes are very small which defy the Chinese tradition of cutting the moon cakes into quarters for sharing.
My parting comment is: “Ouch to my wallet!”