Local makers of the classic Chinese lunar pastry can beat the competition any time.
Whenever there is a festive Chinese celebration like New Lunar Year, I look forward to seeing my badminton buddy Beth Co. She almost always would give us tikoy, even flavored ones, or a nice moon cake.
Around this time of year in Canada, Chinese goods stores offer a variety of moon cakes. If one combs the streets of Binondo these days too, there will be an assortment of them.
I was just in that store at the corner of Alonzo and Ongpin, I believe it’s called Bee Tin. I couldn’t decide which one to get. Best is to ask the cashier.
That place can make one frantic with its varied and interesting selection. It has everything, from moon cake to champoy, Chinese tapa, mangga buro, canned goods and even fresh foods.
Last year, I got a gift from someone. It was a red tin box of four moon cakes. After tasting the first one, I kept the goodies and treated them like precious jewels; I would have them every time I had a craving. So after two days, they were gone.
I asked around where it was sourced and found out it was bought in a Makati hotel that has one of the best fine dining restaurants in our country. By some coincidence, I was chatting with a fellow foodie and cake guru, Ms Penk Ching. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but she mentioned that her friend supplies that hotel with moon cake. That turned on a light in my mind. By the time I found her source, the season had stopped and I had to wait another year to sample those memorable moon cakes.
There were four varieties of moon cake in the box I got: mixed nuts with glazed fruits; bean paste with yolk; lotus paste with yolk; and White Lotus with yolk. All had salted duck egg in the middle.
The one with glazed fruit was okay and so was the one with lotus. The one with bean paste had a dark paste and reminded me of my childhood when we would hang out in the store of the mom of former QC Vice Mayor Connie Angeles, and have soda with hopiang hapon. That was what the moon cake tasted like, hopiang hapon.
The one I really liked, which is also the bestseller and favorite of the maker (“Dexter”)–the one with white lotus paste. The texture is creamy, the taste a bit sweet, which works well combined with the saltiness of the red egg and the crunch of the butong pakwan.
The White Lotus moon cake is a classic example of something that will make me hum and dance with satisfaction. It is creamy, has velvety texture and crunch and has only a slight sweetness to it. It will give any imported moon cake a run for its money.
I love it. If I were you, I’d hoard. Dexter offers them only this time of year.
Dexter’s Moon Cakes is made by Hongley Food Products, Inc., at 2 Atis Road, Potrero, Malabon. You may pick it up at the plant or have it delivered for a minimum order of 10 boxes. They also make fresh pasta and dimsum products. Call or text 0917-8302192.