The kitchen at Saint Germain Bakery is rich with the smell of freshly-baked moon cakes as chefs pull dozens of the seasonal treat out of the oven every 12 minutes.
The local bakery is launching fresh-out-of-the-oven mooncakes to help cheer people up, despite the challenges of 2020, said Alex Ma, marketing manager of Saint Germain Bakery at Aberdeen Square.
These mooncakes come straight out of the oven and taste similar to Chinese steamed custard buns, a classic Cantonese recipe that yields a tender pastry with just the right amount of sweetness, according to Ma.
Roundness symbolizes completeness and togetherness in Asian culture. Therefore, the round mooncakes represent the harvest moon in the night sky during the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Mooncakes are more than food, said Ma. Most of the ones sold at local supermarkets are imported from other countries and have been made several months earlier. However, these Chinese steamed custard mooncakes are made here in Richmond.
"The outside of the mooncake is flaky, and the inside is filled with salted egg yolk, tasting warm, a bit salty but sweet. For many people, these treats really hit the spot. They are like a passageway to childhood and many sweet memories. Just like music and literature, food can transcend cultural boundaries as well.
"2020 has been a crazy year, and many people are filled with fear and worry. We want to support our community by making high-quality desserts and pastries to help them feel happier with every bite," said Ma.
Chefs have been working hard to develop mooncakes flavours that go beyond the traditional lotus seed and red bean paste.
"Last year, we launched rose-flavored mooncakes filled with rose jam. When you open the package, there is a lingering hint of roselle (a type of hibiscus) smell. We try to be more creative and bring more fun to Richmond families each year since the Mid-Autumn Festival is considered a big reunion time for families, just like Thanksgiving," added Ma.
Saint Germain Bakery mooncakes will be on sale until Oct. 1.