You may have noticed the decorative, gift-worthy boxes and tins of mooncakes at grocery stores and bakeries in Richmond. Often piled high and taking centre stage, this is usually the first indication that the annual Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner. This year, the Mid-Autumn festival falls on October 1, just in time for us to pull out our favourite fall sweaters and warm up with a nice bowl of congee.
Moon cakes are a popular treat during the Mid-Autumn Festival. | Photo: pixabay.com/varintorn
About the Mid-Autumn Festival
The Mid-Autumn Festival is Asia’s second-largest festival, second only to the Lunar New Year festival. The festival traces its roots to a time when successful harvests were vital to communities. The ancient Chinese believed that honouring the moon in the fall would help deliver bounties for all in the coming year, which traditionally meant offering fruits and treats to the moon. According to Chinese astronomy, the moon during this time is the roundest moon among all 12 months—like a perfect circle.
A perfect circle symbolizes gathering in unity, which is why people traditionally meet up for the festival to feast on mooncakes and celebrate family togetherness. The Mid-Autumn festival is very much akin to North America’s Thanksgiving festivities.
The mooncake is the most iconic food associated with the Mid-Autumn festival, and Richmond’s bakeries work overtime to produce incredibly tasty and innovative versions. As diminutive as the mooncake may look, we wouldn’t suggest trying to eat the whole thing in one sitting (though you can, we won’t judge!). A mooncake is meant to be eaten in slices, like a pie. Mooncakes can be quite dense, though not overly sweet, so they’re best shared amongst the people in your bubble. The main ingredient in each mooncake is an egg yolk—salted, or cured, it’s a coveted part of the mooncake for most people.
We’ve rounded up several Richmond bakeries where you can pick up some delicious mooncakes to celebrate this year’s Mid-Autumn festival. Read on for details!
Mooncakes from St. Germain Bakery. | Photo: Crystal Solberg
#1310 – 6551 No. 3 Road, inside Richmond Centre
This classic Chinese bakery has a wide range of mooncakes flavours, from sweet to savoury. Try their truffle with ham mooncake for a delicious appetizer, or if you’re a fan of abalone, they also have an abalone and ham version. Maxim’s Bakery also carries traditional flavours such as red bean, lotus seed paste, chocolate, and more.
Maxim’s also makes snowy mooncakes, which are meant to be eaten cold! Made with frozen glutinous rice, they’re filled with a variety of pastes ranging from mung bean to green tea to raspberry. They make for a delicious, special treat.
Saint Germain Bakery
Unit 1428 – 4151 Hazelbridge Way, inside Aberdeen Centre
Unit 2000 – 6060 Minoru Boulevard, inside CF Richmond Centre
Though most places sell pre-packaged mooncakes, Saint Germain Bakery is trying something new: straight-from-the-oven mooncakes. Dozens of chefs pull out freshly-baked mooncakes out of the oven every 12 minutes, and they sell as fast as they’re baked. Though the bakery sells the traditional flavours such as red bean and lotus seed paste, the freshly-baked mooncakes are limited to the salted egg yolk custard flavour. Regardless, all of their mooncakes are sure to hit the spot!
#1405 – 4711 McClelland Road
La Patisserie is known for their delicious Chinese-style cakes and pastries, but did you know that they make limited orders of mooncakes each year for the Mid-Autumn Festival? Some of their flavours include the traditional ones, but they’ve branched out to include flavours such as black sesame, green tea, durian, and yellow lotus seed paste with double egg yolks. To make sure you get your treat, and to avoid disappointment, give them a call to find out what’s currently available.
8311 Lansdowne Road, located inside Lansdowne Centre
You can’t go wrong with any of the mooncake varieties found at T&T Supermarket! Whether you’re purchasing a boxed gift set, or something from T&T’s own in-house bakery, you’ll find mooncakes of all sizes and fillings to match your budget.
Since some of the gift boxes can contain as many as 8 mooncakes (or more!), if you’re just looking to try a couple of cakes it’s a good idea to try single-serve or double portions from T&T’s own bakery section.