As the Mid-Autumn Festival draws near, the buzz around mooncakes reaches a crescendo, filling the air with sweet anticipation. In Singapore, nowhere is this more palpable than at the Mid-Autumn Fair at NEX Mall. This year’s fair brings together a flavorful blend of tradition and innovation, featuring a scrumptious array of mooncakes from renowned vendors such as Conrad Singapore Orchard Hotel, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel and Ju Signatures. From Michelin-star quality offerings to vegetarian
tarian-friendly delights, these culinary masters are not only capturing the essence of the festival but are also setting the trends in the ever-evolving mooncake landscape. The global mooncake market size was valued at USD 2397.27 million in 2022 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.62% during the forecast period, reaching USD 3144.34 million by 2028. The largest manufacturers in the mooncake market are Tianlun, Xinghualou, Canso, Miqi, Maxim’s, Ronghua, Anqi, Maiquer, Huamei and Daohuaxiang. The story so far 53 year-old Oscar Postma is the general manager for cluster operations at Conrad Singapore Orchard Hotel.He believes that the hotel’s mooncake offering has a unique selling proposition that resonates deeply with customers. Crafted by the master chefs at Summer Palace, an iconic Chinese restaurant institution in Singapore with a 40-year history, these mooncakes hold a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike. “What sets these mooncakes apart is not only their culinary expertise but also their innovative approach to flavours. Including offerings like “parma ham and pork floss with assorted nuts,” our mooncakes showcase a harmonious fusion of tastes,” he told Inside Retail. Each year, the hotel offers a selection of four classic snowskin flavours that pay homage to time-honoured recipes and culinary traditions. Additionally, every year they introduce four new and exciting flavours, alongside four timeless classics. “In a unique approach, our culinary team from Summer Palace works in tandem with chefs from our sister concepts within Conrad Singapore Orchard, such as Italian restaurant Basilico and cocktail bar Manhattan,” he added. This collaborative effort is inspired by diverse food and drink cultures, resulting in modern, inspired flavours. The latest entrant to the mooncake scene is Ju Signatures, which is helmed by Chef Wong, a 15-year veteran in Chinese cuisine, previously also an executive chef at a Michelin Plate restaurant. According to Colin, a manager at Ju Signatures, handmade teochew mooncakes are difficult to find these days because of the labour intensiveness and skill required. For example, the temperature needs to be perfect to result in the correct taste. “There is a delicateness required to create the light flaky teochew pastry crust and Chef Wong cooks the yams for four hours. Every mooncake is prepared with utmost care to control every element such as sweetness, temperature and flakiness,” he told Inside Retail. Celebrating tradition Postma believes that these mooncake fairs offer an ideal platform to showcase exclusive offerings to a diverse audience. Moreover, these fairs evoke a strong sense of tradition and celebration, drawing individuals and families together. “One prominent trend is the emergence of innovative flavours and a heightened focus on using premium ingredients to enhance the overall experience. For example, luxury boxes of mooncakes paired with craft cocktails is fast becoming commonplace,” he added. Tan also mentioned that consumers are looking for healthier alternatives, so most mooncakes are now made using low-sugar white lotus paste. But there is one thing that still endures, and that is a demand for authentic, handcrafted mooncakes. Ju Signature’s Teochew mooncakes a prime example of this. Their mooncakes seem like a lost art these days, so it’s heartening to see the classic iteration of the product still going strong. The art of gifting The cherished tradition of gifting, which is a big part of the Mid-Autumn Festival, also throws the spotlight on the visual appeal and ‘giftability’ of mooncake packaging. Postma said the approach combines elegance and sustainability. “These boxes are not only a vessel for delectable treats, but also an integral part of the gifting tradition. For example, we ensure the boxes can be repurposed so that they can find new life as jewellery storage boxes or for storing cherished items,” he noted. This dual-purpose approach to packaging not only enhances the appeal of the mooncakes but also aligns with the values of tradition and responsible consumption, making the entire gifting experience more meaningful and sustainable.