Friday, October 2, 2009

Teochew Mooncake With Preserved Vegetable Paste

It made me wonder if the ancient mooncake used to contain secret messages were of this shape. Conveniently perceived as a huge wife’s biscuit, or any typical Chinese pastry for that matter, it’s the perfect camouflage.

My first taste of the preserved vegetable mooncake must have dated back to the primary school days when the snow skin version made its debut. I was too captivated by the coldness and modernity of it and hence, never really took the time to appreciate this Teochew delicacy. If this was anything average, its existence would have perished years before we were introduced to the champagne truffle design. I'm not sure if it's still as well-received as it was decades ago but it did occur to me that many are still unacquainted with this classic.

Generally, we see preserved vegetable as nothing more than a source of salt and perhaps some crunch to dishes like braised pork, steamed fish or even as condiment to a bowl of plain Teochew porridge. Surprisingly, the chewy paste that consisted mainly of it was mostly sweet and just faintly salted. I’m guessing that they’d done some washing with the vegetable or had customized a certain preservation process for this need. The burst of flavours within a bite is blissful. All thanks to the black sesame, candied winter melon bits and tangerine peel. There’s another pulling factor for me as well - lard, the traditional butter that makes it significantly more aromatic. We don’t get much lard-based Chinese desserts these days and I believe availability has reduced to mostly wet markets. In fact, that’s where momma got the Teochew mooncakes.

Rather interesting to note that despite having tasted this for many years, I’ve always thought that it was homemade and sold solely in the wet market in Jinjang Selatan. Well, the oily packaging bearing the restaurant's name is usually disposed by momma before I can lay my hands on the mooncake. With the recent discovery of its origin, I think it’s time to pay this 90+ years old Teochew restaurant in Setapak a visit.

There’s a sense of nostalgia in this whole experience, especially when Setapak is very close to the district where I grew up in. And may I just say that there are some pretty solid restaurants there.

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone! I’ve always thought that the term Mooncake Festival is somehow more appropriate, given our tropical climate. I mean, here where got autumn one?

Setapak Teochew Restaurant (文良港潮州餐室饼家)
283 & 285, Jalan Pahang
53000 Kuala Lumpur.
Tel : (+603) 4023 8706

Some info on this restaurant:
A Place where Time stood still


ck lam said...

This is my first time coming across such a moon cake. Glad you get to taste it...hopefully I can get hold of this version one day.

Happy Mooncake Festival to you and your family. Definitely won't be a cool autumn day but hope it is not an extreme hot day...haha

Precious Pea said...

Interesting...I remember coming across a recipe for this mooncake and I can imagine how good it is..since i love preserved vegetable..hehe. Happy Mooncake Festival!

J2Kfm said...

preserved vege? then it's more savoury than sweet?
this is the type of mooncake i like most, not the fanciful creations nowadays.

mimid3vils said...

Happy Mooncake Festival~~~
祝月圆人团圆 :)

thenomadGourmand said...

ekks..nvr liked preserved veg so I guess this is a no no..but then again..nvr try nvr know horr?

Jaime-La-Nourriture said...

I have never seen such a mooncake before!

Happy mid-autumn to u too!

ice said...

中秋节快乐! Have more mooncakes!

ladyironchef said...

"here where got autumn one.." HAHA yeah i always prefer to call it mooncake festival, or even lantern festival! hehe thanks for sharing with us the meicai mooncake! :)

CUMI & CIKI said...

interesting story.. i wonder if the messages would have gotten really sticky.. if carried inside the cookie/cake!

ToyGirl said... find the most interesting mooncakes ever!! next year, we must do a mooncake party, and you be in charge of bringing all the varieties of mooncakes yah. All your mooncake posts are making me salivate lah. LOL.

babe_kl said...

i still hvnt got the gut to try this yet even though very very tempted each time pop by the stall they put at leisure mall. year in year out i just take and look LOL ok next year i gotta try it!

ling239 said...

is this mui-choy?
today we had an arguement.... the mui-choy mooncake is Teow Chew or Hakka?! @_@
my fren insists that it is Hakka ~

Life for Beginners said...

"...a huge wife’s biscuit..."

For some reason that made me think about confectionery being devoured by a plus-sized lady... :P

sc said...

oooh, dont think i've tried this version before. looks delish! hmm, did they use the salty mui choi or the sweet one? it's mui choi right? (think i've read of this version of mooncake before)

Nic (KHKL) said...

ck lam, do check it out the next time you come to kl! i heard the restaurant's pretty good too! :) and Happy Belated Mooncake Festival to you and your family too! :) hope you had a great time! :)

precious pea, woah, got recipe for this kinda mooncake? that's so cool. Happy Belated Mooncake Festival and hope you had a great time! :)

j2kfm, ya lor, but surprisingly, it was more sweet than savoury! delish. yeah, where have all the traditional, slightly savoury mooncakes gone, hor? sigh.

mimi, Happy Belated Mooncake Festival to you too! hope you had a wonderful time with your family and friends. got buy lantern for your baby or not? hehehe..

thenomadgourmand, yesssssss, you are right! do give it a try la. unless u are totally against preserved vege like me and durians la..hehehehe.

Jaime-La-Nourriture, hopefully can share with more people this kinda mooncake next time! :) oh, and Happy Belated Mid-Autumn Festival to you! hope you had a great time! :)

ice, Happy Belated Mid-Autumn Festival to you too! I'm guessing you've had some really wonderful mooncakes this year? :) good stuff!

Nic (KHKL) said...

ladyironchef, no prob. hope you guys liked it la..hehehe..

cumi & ciki, u have a point! maybe they waxed the paper before inserting them into the filling gua...hehehe.

toygirl, wow! a mooncake party! that sounds like a good idea. so, instead of alcohol, we'll be having tea ar? hehehehe...can, i can bring a few mooncakes. there's a yam teochew mooncake which i've not tasted also! glad u liked the mooncakes! :)

babe_kl, oh, they have this in leisure mall as well. that's great! :) do give it a try! i'm sure you'll like it! :)

ling239, yupe, it's mui choy. i realise that Teochew mui choy is saltier and slightly sourish while Hakka's is sweeter. but i could be wrong. i'm 1/2 hakka and my family cooks a lot of mui choy! hehehehe...

kenny, woah, i didn't notice that! haha. but both sound delicious, don't they? :)

sc, i think they use the sweet mui choi cos there's really almost zero saltiness in the filling. really like a sweet pastry. check it out! i think u'll like it la :)

ling239 said...

oh, wow....
so mui-choy also got two flavours ^O^
tot they are the same :p

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling239, haha. i was liddat oso at first. must thank my mum for teaching me. :)