Durian mooncake, anyone?

By Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Aug 18 2014 03:13 PM | Updated as of Aug 18 2014 11:13 PM

Makati Shangri-La’s executive Chinese chef Richard Thong (right) explains the difference between baked and snow-skin mooncakes during a cooking demo. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

MANILA – We’ve seen it in candy, ice cream and even coffee. Now, you can also have durian in your mooncake.

Just in time for the Mid-Autumn Festival this September, Makati Shangri-La is offering mooncakes in durian and other variants such as Coffee, Wintermelon, Green Tea with Pandan, Creamy Custard and Chinese Plum.

Richard Thong, the executive Chinese chef of Makati Shangri-La, said they decided to offer durian mooncakes for the first time in the Philippines due to popular demand.

“The response [on Facebook] is very good,” he told ABS-CBNnews.com. “The durian mooncake is very popular in Southeast Asia – in Singapore, Malaysia and even Indonesia. And now we’re trying it here in the Philippines.”

Pure durian paste sourced from different parts of the region are used as filling for Makati Shangri-La’s durian mooncake, which has a snow-skin exterior. Unlike the original baked variant, snow-skin mooncakes are made of glutinous rice flour and are served cold, just like Japanese mochi.

A snowskin mooncake prepared at Makati Shangri-La. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

“How they reduce the smell is they let the smell evaporate… But when you put it inside your mouth, it explodes, it’s like wasabi coming in,” Thong said.

The durian filling is made in Singapore, with the rest of the mooncake ingredients shipped and assembled in Manila. Around 1,000 kilos of durian – which can do 15,000 durian mooncakes – were ordered by Thong and the rest of the Makati Shangri-La team before the start of August.

“They run out very fast,” Thong said.

Meanwhile, those who prefer the traditional mooncakes can choose from Makati Shangri-La’s classic variants – there’s Red Bean, Green Tea, White Lotus and Mixed Nuts, which is Thong’s personal favorite.

Rich and thick, these baked mooncakes are best enjoyed with a cup of Chinese tea, the chef said.

Mixed Nuts mooncakes. Photo by Karen Flores, ABS-CBNnews.com

“But try to avoid eating too much baked mooncake in the afternoon. It’s too oily and heavy. But for the snow-skin mooncakes, it’s okay,” he said.

When asked what Filipinos can expect at next year’s Mid-Autumn Festival, Thong said: “Next year, there will be cherry mooncake!”

Now that’s something to look forward to.

Makati Shangri-La offers mooncakes in different shapes and flavors at the hotel’s main lobby until September 8.