KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 18 — Every year, my head hurts from trying to choose which mooncakes to get for the Mid-Autumn festival. There are so many offerings available.

Last year, by the time the festival (which is on September 21 this year) actually rolled around, the popular sellers had run out of mooncakes as they didn't expect such a high demand because of the pandemic.

Many buyers also left their purchases till the last minute. This year, if you want to get your hands on certain mooncakes, it's best to grab them early or pre-book to avoid disappointment.

Here are some of my choices for mooncakes:

Restaurant 195: Baked and Snowskin Mooncakes with white lotus paste

Formerly known as Restaurant Chef Choi, Restaurant 195's mooncakes are highly sought after for their quality ingredients. Their 100 per cent white lotus paste is smooth and incredibly fragrant. There's no artificial colouring, flavouring or preservatives for their mooncakes which are made fresh.

They offer baked and snowskin mooncakes. I'm actually a big fan of their snowskin variety as the skin is soft with just a hint of chewiness. It's my sweet, chilled treat that I enjoy straight from the refrigerator.

The snowskin mooncakes from Restaurant 195 make a lovely cool treat
The snowskin mooncakes from Restaurant 195 make a lovely cool treat

The baked mooncake is also good with a soft skin. You can choose to have it with plain white lotus paste or with a salted egg yolk combination. For total decadence, there's also a double yolk version.

The baked or snowskin mooncakes are sold for RM33 per piece (with or without the single salted egg yolk) or RM132 for a box of four pieces. For the double yolk version, it's RM35 per piece or RM140 for a box of four pieces.

Your mooncakes come in a tall box with four compartments that open up to various levels when you pull it open.

What makes Restaurant 195's mooncakes exceptional is their white lotus paste that is fragrant and smooth
What makes Restaurant 195's mooncakes exceptional is their white lotus paste that is fragrant and smooth

As the mooncakes are made fresh, they only take pre-orders. As there's no preservatives, they can last up to seven days in the refrigerator and are best consumed within two to three days.

If you prefer delivery, they can arrange for a third-party delivery provided charges are borne by you

You can order via their website https://www.restaurant195.com/products/moon-cake or WhatsApp Pee Yan at +6012-3285111 or Vicky Sim at +6012-6111403.

195, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. Instagram: @restaurantchefchoi

Moonlight series from UNBOX by Huff & Puff

UNBOX by Huff & Puff's Moon Picker set with three types of mooncakes makes a great gift for family and friends
UNBOX by Huff & Puff's Moon Picker set with three types of mooncakes makes a great gift for family and friends

The highly anticipated second mooncake collection from gifting experts UNBOX by Huff & Puff does not disappoint. This year, they are working with Fai Fong Bakery to supply the mooncakes.

The Kepong-based bakery traces its origins to Batu Arang and has built up a reputation for their wedding biscuits and mooncakes. Select one of the three sets available; they make gifting this season just that little bit special.

There's Moon Bright Bright for RM168 where six mini mooncakes are presented on a two- tiered rattan basket stand. Like all of their sets, you can repurpose the packaging to a useful fruit stand once you finish eating the mooncakes.

The Moon Picker set has a basket that you can store the mooncakes or repurpose it to hold pots after the festival is over
The Moon Picker set has a basket that you can store the mooncakes or repurpose it to hold pots after the festival is over

The Moon Picker set (RM158) is a unique one with a tea basket used by those who pick tea leaves. Drinking Chinese tea and eating mooncakes is synonymous with celebrating the Mid-Autumn festival as one will enjoy the moonlight in the company of family and friends.

The basket comes with a strap making it a great way to repurpose it into a carry-all or you can even put in a potted plant for display at home. This comes with three mooncakes.

With the Over The Moon set (RM128), this is presented in their tiffins. These three-tiered tiffins depict nostalgic moments of the festival from mooncakes, lanterns and the all important family gathering. Sadly, this particular set was sold out after it's launch at the beginning of August.

The salted egg yolk is not dry and gives a salty hit to the sweet pandan lotus paste mooncake sourced from Fai Fong Bakery
The salted egg yolk is not dry and gives a salty hit to the sweet pandan lotus paste mooncake sourced from Fai Fong Bakery

If you like red bean paste mooncakes, this version available in UNBOX by Huff & Puff's sets is fragrant and not too sweet
If you like red bean paste mooncakes, this version available in UNBOX by Huff & Puff's sets is fragrant and not too sweet

You can personalise the gift sets with wooden engraved tags to make them more special. Delivery for the gift sets can be arranged within Peninsular Malaysia.

We also tasted the Fai Fong baked mooncakes. There's three flavours where you have white lotus paste with single yolk, pandan lotus paste with single yolk and red bean paste. The mooncakes have a balanced sweetness. Most places tend to have a hard salted egg yolk but this was fresh and soft, complementing the sweetness from the paste well.

Order your gift set from https://www.unboxbyhuffandpuff.com.my or contact them at +6017-4779007. Instagram:@unbox.by.huffandpuff

Assorted Nuts Mooncakes

If I have a personal preference, it's more to savoury-tasting mooncakes. Not many sellers offer the assorted nuts mooncakes but every year, I try different ones against my favourites.

This year, I discovered Ipoh's Ching Han Guan (CHG) mooncakes from a third party seller (https://shopee.com.my/heidi_tong) on Shopee. I ordered and the mooncakes arrived safely and perfectly fine.

You can also source for Ipoh's CHG (Ching Han Guan) mixed nuts mooncake from their website or Shopee
You can also source for Ipoh's CHG (Ching Han Guan) mixed nuts mooncake from their website or Shopee

As the mooncakes are shipped every Tuesday, my order arrived by Sunday with all the delivery delays. Do note that CHG also offers the mooncakes sold on their website (https://store.chg.my/collections/mooncake) but demand is high so ordering via third parties is an option if you cannot get them via the website.

Previously I tried their preserved meat or bak kwa mooncake which I really liked so I was keen to try their mixed nuts mooncake (RM20.50 per piece on CHG website).

Each bite is full of almonds, walnuts, cashew nuts, sesame seeds and melon seeds. Unfortunately I could not get my hands on the version with roasted ham since the Shopee seller had limited choices.

For a premium version, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur's baked mooncake with assorted nuts and sun-dried fruits is stellar. As the mooncake is pork-free, they rely on dried mandarin orange or kat paeng to give it a boost of flavour.

Hit up Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur for an exceptional pork-free assorted nuts baked mooncake with sun-dried fruits
Hit up Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur for an exceptional pork-free assorted nuts baked mooncake with sun-dried fruits

Each bite of the mooncake has the fragrance of the mandarin orange. It also undercuts the richness of the mixed nuts such as cashews and walnuts sourced from the US. There's also winter melon and white sesame seeds. The 180 grams mooncake is priced at RM40.

You can order via their website https://www.shangri-la-specials.com/web/index.aspx or visit their shop at the hotel lobby that is open from 10am to 8pm daily. There must be a minimum order of RM50 for delivery.

If you're looking for baked mooncakes with nuts that give you great value and are tasty as well, head to the various TK Bakery outlets or their website (https://tk2you.com). They offer nuts mixture and the kam tui (assorted fruits, nuts and ham) mooncakes.

TK Bakery's 'kam tui' mooncake is exceptional with its mixture of nuts, preserved tangerine and ham for that salty sweet taste
TK Bakery's 'kam tui' mooncake is exceptional with its mixture of nuts, preserved tangerine and ham for that salty sweet taste

It's my yearly choice to satisfy my kam tui mooncakes cravings. The kam tui version (RM24.50 per piece) is far superior to the nuts mixture version as each bite gives you that slight salty ham taste.

What I liked was how evenly the taste of ham is around the mooncake. They use almonds, walnuts, white sesame seeds, melon seeds, preserved winter melon and kat paeng.

If you prefer a cleaner taste of just the nuts and seeds, their nuts mixture mooncake for RM23 per piece is also a good choice with its assorted nuts, melon seeds and preserved winter melon.

Stack them up and compare (from top to bottom) the CHG mixed nuts mooncake is packed with nuts and seeds, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur's version is chockfull of preserved mandarin orange bits for that lovely fragrance and TK Bakery's assorted nuts without ham that has a lovely mix of nuts and seeds
Stack them up and compare (from top to bottom) the CHG mixed nuts mooncake is packed with nuts and seeds, Shangri-La Kuala Lumpur's version is chockfull of preserved mandarin orange bits for that lovely fragrance and TK Bakery's assorted nuts without ham that has a lovely mix of nuts and seeds

Another good version which I have tried before is Tuck Chan Restaurant (https://www.malaymail.com/news/eat-drink/2013/09/14/mooncakes-the-traditional-way/524255). Located at Seri Kembangan, their mooncakes are exceptional as they make their own pastes. What's unusual about their assorted nuts and ham version (RM20 per piece) is it comes with shredded pink ham. They use walnuts, sesame seeds, melon seeds, almonds and kat paeng. What makes their version unusual is the use of fragrant olive seed kernel or lam yoke too.

They are now open from 11am to 5pm for pre-orders as they are short of workers. You can contact them at +012-3642600 to place an order. Visit their Facebook page @TuckChan for more details.

Ayer Tawar SiewHua Biscuit: Savoury Foochow Traditional Mooncakes

If you seek tradition, try these Foochow mooncakes from Ayer Tawar's SiewHua Biscuit that has savoury pork mince, pork skin and sesame seeds with flaky pastry
If you seek tradition, try these Foochow mooncakes from Ayer Tawar's SiewHua Biscuit that has savoury pork mince, pork skin and sesame seeds with flaky pastry

For those who love mooncakes with a savoury sweet combination and flaky layers, the Foochow mooncakes from this Ayer Tawar biscuit shop will be right up your alley.

They are brought in weekly from the small town so you can get them fresh. Bite into one of the flaky mooncakes and you get minced pork with slightly chewy pork skin mixed with fragrant sesame seeds. They use lard, eggs, flour and sugar to make the flaky pastry.

These mooncakes come in unpretentious plastic boxes and are preservative-free so eat them while they are fresh
These mooncakes come in unpretentious plastic boxes and are preservative-free so eat them while they are fresh

As these mooncakes are made free from preservatives, consume them within two days of delivery or store in the refrigerator. You can reheat in a 180 degrees pre-heated oven for three minutes to enjoy. They are packed in a plastic box where you get 10 pieces for RM25.50.

You can visit SiewHua Biscuit's Facebook page @Siewhuabiscuit for more details on how the mooncakes are made. Orders can be made via Jenny Lim by WhatsApp at +6012-6228826. You can self-pick up from Damansara Heights or she can send them to you via a third party delivery company provided the charges are borne by you.