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Savour crumbly mooncakes from Thye Moh Chan

Savour crumbly mooncakes from Thye Moh Chan

This post is aimed at demystifying Teochew mooncakes.

You may know that these flaky pastry skin-type mooncakes are filled with tau sar (mung bean) paste instead of lotus paste but of course the important question is: Are they yummy? Will they make good gifts? Are they worth the money?

Traditional, handmade mooncakes from Thye Moh Chan

Traditional, handmade mooncakes from Thye Moh Chan

I shall tell you now that it’s yes, yes and yes!!!

First things first. Many of these mooncakes are savoury, not sweet. And they even have one that is spicy!

Strangely, that one – the 鸳鸯月饼 (Yuan Yang Mooncake) – was the most moreish among the lot. It’s strange to me because I am more used to sweet mooncakes. The only Teochew mooncake I have ever tasted is the deep fried spiral yam mooncake, which is also sweet.

I am not Teochew. But my mum-in-law, Sally, is, and she’s the one who exposed me to Teochew cuisine and developed my taste for these classics – muay (rice porridge), steamed pomfret, orh nee (yam paste dessert), ngorh hiang (five spice pork rolls) and, yes, Teochew pastries. I have grown up eating mostly one type of mooncake – the lotus paste ones – but the flavour profile of these savoury ones completely blow the regular moonies out of the water.

I shared these sponsored Thye Moh Chan goodies with my parents-in-law and this gets their supreme nod of approval.

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Here are the flavours I tried:

Sweet tau sar 甜豆沙月饼 (no yolk)

Sweet mung bean paste and chopped melon seeds are encased in a light, crumbly, flaky pastry skin topped with white sesame seeds. The filling is seasoned with a bit of mandarin orange peel if I am not wrong. A little too sweet and cloying for me.

Medium (4pc/box) – $25.80, Large (1pc/box) – $22.80

Sweet tau sar mooncake from Thye Moh Chan

Sweet tau sar mooncake from Thye Moh Chan

Salty tau sar 咸豆沙月饼 (single yolk)

Salty mung bean paste with a single egg yolk, fried shallots, white sesame and seasoned with white pepper. This is seriously melt-in-your mouth. The filling is dry and crumbly, not wet and cakey like lotus paste mooncakes. The shallots are obviously very fresh because they are fragrant and not at all rancid. The white pepper is not overpowering and just nicely balances out the saltiness from the yolk and bean paste.

Medium (4pc/box) – $25.80, Large (1pc/box) – $22.80

Salty tau sar mooncake with single yolk

Salty tau sar mooncake with single yolk

Yuan Yang 鸳鸯月饼

I never thought that I would like a spicy mooncake but the creator of this confection gets two thumbs up for balancing all these strong flavours. There’s savoury mung bean paste, fried shallots, white sesame, spicy pork floss and salted egg yolk. It’s not chilli-hot spicy, just piquant spicy from the use of TMC’s proprietary spice mix, which includes what I suspect to be cinnamon.

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Medium (4pc/box) – $25.80

Yuan Yang is stuffed with salty mung bean paste, spicy pork floss and salted egg yolk

Yuan Yang is stuffed with salty mung bean paste, spicy pork floss and salted egg yolk

Teochew Double Delight 潮州双拼月饼

This mooncake is a textural delight. Sweet red bean paste is amp-ed up with a crystallised filling made with winter melon, melon seeds, citrus strips, white sesame, spring onions, and glutinous rice flour. I strongly prefer this to the Sweet Tau Sar, as the flavours are more complex. Perfect balance of sweet and salty here.

Medium (4pc/box) – $25.80

The Teochew Double Delight combines red bean paste with crystallised winter melon and glutinous rice flour

The Teochew Double Delight combines red bean paste with crystallised winter melon and glutinous rice flour

I didn’t get to try these other two flavours so the descriptions are copied and pasted from the press release:

Durian 榴莲月饼

A rare treat made only during the Mid-Autumn period, this hot favourite among Thye Moh Chan loyal customers entices with its alluring durian aroma and pleasing textural contrast between smooth D24 durian-infused bean paste and crispy pastry. Quantities are limited and purchases can only be made at Thye Moh Chan outlets.

Medium (4pc/box) – $34.80

Traditional Teochew Mooncake潮州月饼

This old favourite presents a delightful combination of maltose, white sesame, citrus strips and five-spice powder, rendering a unique and unforgettable taste. My five cents’ worth: I saw this at the Paragon outlet and boy this is as large as a grown-up’s face! Very curious about it and will probably return to purchase soon.

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Large (1pc/box) – $15.80

The Teochew Traditional Mooncakes are as big as my face

The Traditional Teochew Mooncakes are as big as my face

Word of warning: These pastries are best consumed within three days and no later than a week, because preservatives are not used in making them. They are freshly and lovingly handmade. Not like most of the lotus-paste mooncakes which are mostly outsourced to kitchens in JB. You know that, right? I might be wrong, but there probably are a grand total of only two or three confectioneries in Singapore which make their own lotus paste mooncakes these days. And the lotus paste is not made in-house, hor.

Thye Moh Chan has been in existence since 1943 and your parents might remember that its first shop used to be located in Liang Seah Street. They later moved their thriving business to Geylang in 1994. In September 2011, Mr Koh Hong Chua, the third-generation owner, announced the decision to wind up the business due to succession issues. Thankfully, BreadTalk Group swooped in to acquire the business and gave the traditional Teochew confectionery a new lease of life.

Snazzy Thye Moh Chan outlet at Paragon

Snazzy Thye Moh Chan outlet at Paragon

Very festive display

Very festive display

If you’ve walked past the beautiful Thye Moh Chan outlet at Paragon (it’s beside Breadtalk) wondering why their mooncakes look different and whether they’ll be yummy, STOP. Enter the shop and buy a mooncake or four, now. OCBC and UOB Cardmembers enjoy 20% discount for purchase of 2 boxes or more until Aug 24. These mooncakes are only available until September 8 so please hurry!

There are three conveniently-located Thye Moh Chan outlets, one at Paragon B1-11/12, one at Chinatown Point #01-45/46 and one at VivoCity #03-01 (within Toast Box) .

About The Author

Rachel Chan

Rachel has nearly a decade of experience as a print journalist for my paper (English) and Straits Times Life! and has also worked as a news producer for Mediacorp Channel 8.

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