Executive Chef Ho Pui Yung and Dim Sum Chef Yip Wing-Wah of The Peninsula`s Spring Moon Chinese restaurant are now in training for the annual mooncake marathon. The Spring Moon team will produce 360,000 mooncakes this year, using 90,000 eggs!
Laid side by side, all these Peninsula mooncakes will not stretch quite to the moon, but well on the way to it, extending one and a half times the cruising height of a jumbo jet, or just over one and a half times the height of Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world! In Hong Kong terms, that`s nearly half way to the airport from the hotel, 30 times the height of Central Plaza (Hong Kong`s highest building), 26 times the height of The Peak, or 122 times the height of The Peninsula`s tower!
At the height of production, 27 staff produce 12,000 of the hand-made cakes per day. Even this is not enough to satisfy demand, explains Ho, “If we could make twice as many, we could sell them.”
The Peninsula`s mooncakes have become a traditional favourite in Hong Kong and are sold through The Peninsula Boutiques at the hotel and The Landmark, and at the Spring Moon Chinese restaurant on the first floor of The Peninsula.
The trick, according to Mr Yip, is to get the pastry skin right. It should be delicate but strong enough to withstand the baking process. He keeps to himself the exact proportions and nature of the ingredients he uses for the filling, admitting only that he follows a traditional recipe using duck eggs to produce the very best quality and flavour.
The Mid-Autumn festival falls on 21st September this year when Hong Kong`s residents will venture out in family groups and with friends to admire the full moon and to celebrate the unity and good fortune that it represents. Mooncakes are eaten throughout the festival and are usually served after a meal with tea.
The Spring Moon keeps up traditions with its range of over 25 Chinese teas served in the restaurant - including green, oolong, white, black and pu er teas - and a selection of teas for sale. The Peninsula Chinese Tea Collection comprises five types of tea, and costs from HK$120 to HK$130 per 100g tin, while The Spring Moon Collection of premium teas in attractive art deco boxes reflecting the restaurant`s decor, are priced at HK$80 - HK$150 per box, making the perfect accompaniment to a gift of mooncakes for friends or business associates.
The mooncake tradition stems from the mid 14th century Yuan Dynasty when General Zhu Yuan-Chang signalled the start of an uprising by hiding messages in the mooncakes and distributing them to his supporters. General Zhu went on to lead the ensuing riot and to found the Ming Dynasty.
Available from 23 August 2002 till 20 September 2002, the mooncakes sell in boxes of eight for HK$140. For purchases of twenty or above, there is a 10% discount, and for fifty or above, a 15% discount. For enquiries and orders, please contact the Spring Moon restaurant on tel : (852) 2315 3160.
In addition, special menu featuring traditional specialities will be served at dinner on 20 and 21 September, priced at HK$680 (plus 10% service charge).