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Mooncake war off to early start

China Daily | Updated: 2017-08-18 07:47

Mooncake war off to early start

People wait in a line in front of a Shanghai store to buy Yandu mooncakes, developed by Shanghai's Xinghualou Food Co. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Mid-Autumn Festival isn't until Oct 4, but mooncake merchants are already battling for customers.

And the trend of diversifying flavors beyond the traditional sweet fillings packed inside flaky pastry discs continues.

Take the Shanghai First Food chain, which is offering three new varieties this year-pickled Chinese cabbage with bullfrog; abalone with fresh meat; and fresh meat with dried bamboo shoots. The bullfrog mooncakes are particularly popular. About 3,000 are sold online every day.

"Tastes are changing," a Shanghai First Food shop assistant says.

"It's necessary to create new products to cater to them."

Shanghai's Xinghualou Food Co developed a new mooncake with fillings containing prawns, cheese and pork. Only 2,000 are produced a day, which fails to keep up with demand.

"A friend asked me to get this new flavor for him when he heard I'd go near the store," one customer says.

The Yandu mooncake the company developed last year remains popular. Customers are limited to purchasing two boxes at a time. The pastry is inspired by the Shanghai dish yanduxian, which is made of bamboo shoots, and cured and fresh meat.

One shopper says he traveled from another part of the city to buy a box to share with his family.

Beijing Daoxiangcun Co has also expanded its mooncake offerings.

A hot item this year is fanmao (rolling feather), created using a traditional technique native to Beijing. The pastry is packed with pine nuts, chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds. Its name comes from a story in which the Empress Dowager Cixi pounded the table with her hand, causing the crust to "flutter" like feathers.

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