Located at: 2, 1 Colombo, Colombo 02, Sri Lanka
Visited on: 07 Sep, 2019
It’s the Chinese Mid-Autumn festival (which, in foodie language, translates to Mooncake Season) and Shangri-La Colombo has done the honours of introducing the island folk to the traditional cakes prepared for ‘lunar appreciation’. Although the festival originates in China, like most of their other festivals, it is widely celebrated by Chinese communities across the Far East. For me, personally, it is reminiscent of my Malaysia days when we used to be lured to Sunway Pyramid mall at this time every year to make our picks from the sea of varieties that would be colourfully displayed at their atrium. Shangri-La Colombo’s four varieties, comprising what they have termed The Constellation Collection, smartly covers some of the most authentic flavours that you would traditionally come across.
Mooncakes are prepared using wooden moulds that give them the distinctive Chinese decorations and lettering embossed atop. To get an idea of this, you can watch Shangri-La Colombo’s promo video of Chef Nick Ng’s mooncake preparation here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iKEPJFt68U. The dense cakes have a thin covering of doughy pastry with a pasty filling, and are typically around 10cm in diameter and 3-4cm tall. Contrary to how they may look, they are only mildly sweet, and the flavour of each variety’s element is ideally allowed to shine through. They are usually cut into wedges (often quarters) for consumption and are understandably a popular choice of gift among the Chinese at this time of the year.
Shangri-La Colombo sells their mooncakes in packs of four or eight, and you can select from White Lotus with Melon Seeds, Red Lotus with Pistachio, Red Bean Paste with Almond Flakes and Pandan Paste. An assortment of all was what I went with. A forewarning – mooncake doesn’t come cheap, and these guys have priced their four-pack at LKR 7,888 (LKR 9,561.50 with taxes and service charges).
As you can see from the images, the packaging is pretty fancy too – the constellation theme beautifully depicted all across, and naturally contributes to the price tag. However, fancy packaging is almost always part of the mooncake fest as these are predominantly used in gift-giving.
To be honest, I enjoyed every variety – the aroma and flavours of pandan and red bean were subtly yet beautifully obvious in their respective mooncakes. It’s hard to pick a favourite from this lot, but if I had to, I’d probably go with the White Lotus one for its smooth and enticing core with bits of crunchy melon seeds.
I understand that mooncake is not for every palate – certainly not every flavour. So, worry not. Shangri-La’s lobby offers a free tasting for guests before you make your pick for a pack. I recall seeing somewhere that the mooncake promo will be on till the 24th of September, however I cannot seem to find the source of this information at this point – better give them a ring if you’re planning to check it out after this date!