Tuesday, September 21 marks the first day of the Mid-Autumn Festival. Also known as the Moon Festival or Mooncake Festival, the Asian holiday celebrates what is considered the brightest and fullest moon of the year, as well as the fall harvest. In China, where perhaps the holiday is most popular, it’s similar to Thanksgiving, with families gathering for a meal, accompanied by lantern lighting. Mooncakes, the namesake food of the vent, are another important component. The round pastries are traditionally filled with red bean or lotus seed paste, wrapped around a salted dug egg that symbolizes the moon. They’re then pressed into a mold to emboss the top of the pastry in elaborate designs, which all have different meanings. Ahead, we’ve rounded up the 13 best places in New York City to find all varieties of mooncakes, along with a few options for ordering online.
A special thanks to Welcome to Chinatown, for their Instagram post that helped us discover many of these local bakeries selling mooncakes.
Photo courtesy of Kimika
Kimika, the Japanese-Italian restaurant in Nolita, is offering an exclusive, limited selection of mooncakes from pastry chef Clarice Lam from September 21 through 26, available for in-house dining and takeout. The mooncakes are available at their sister restaurant in Long Island City, Lotus + Cleaver, too. Flavors are Snow Skin with coconut mochi butter cake, peanuts, and crispy chicken skin; Traditional baked mooncake with fig and marzipan; and Snow Skin with mascarpone cream and strawberry. Orders for pickup can be placed by emailing [email protected]
Fay Da Bakery
What is arguably Chinatown’s most iconic bakery is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Today, they have two Manhattan locations (Mott Street and 6th Avenue in the Village), 10 in Queens, and one in Connecticut. They’re known for selling affordable, delicious Chinese staples like roast pork buns and egg tarts. For the Mid-Autumn Festival, their mooncakes are available in the following flavors: twin yolk white lotus; mixed nuts and egg yolk; Jujube and walnut; and red bean and egg yolk. They also offer a special “Lava Collection of colorful mooncakes with custard, matcha, durian, and orange fillings. You can buy these in the stores, or Fay Da is shipping boxes of them nationwide.
With locations in Chinatown and Flushing, this Chinese bakery is known for its single-serving, super-fresh, not-too-sweet pastries. The pork bun and egg tart are very popular but don’t miss out on the mooncakes.
Golden Fung Wong Bakery
This small Chinatown bakery sells mooncakes in lots of fun flavors like melon, pineapple, black sesame, coconut, and chestnut. While you’re there, pick up some Hopia Black Bean Cakes, the rare treat for which they’re famous.
Double Crispy Bakery
This Cantonese-style bakery in Chinatown is famous for its egg tarts, but around this time of year, you can also find mooncakes in store.
Audrey Bakery and Cafe
This modern Chinatown bakery is loved for its tasty cake flavors, notably the green tea-mango. Stop in this month to find mooncakes, too.
Nice One Bakery
In addition to mooncakes, this Chinatown bakery’s pork buns get a lot of praise, as do their dim sum options.
Lucky King Bakery
You’ll find all the Chinese standards at this Chinatown bakery and dim sum spot. In fact, their coffee tends to get good review, too. Which will taste great with a mooncake.
Bake Culture USA
With locations in Flushing, Chinatown, Long Island City, and Foxwoods Resort Casino, Bake Culture is primarily a Taiwanese bread bakery where “customers can learn about the origin and background of different types of bread.” At all their shops, you can pick up six flavors of mooncakes–pineapple egg yolk, green bean with pork floss and egg yolk, black sesame mochi, taro mochi, lotus with egg yolk, and red bean with egg yolk.
This Williamsburg business is part dessert bar, part seller of baking kits and mixes. For the Mid-Autumn Festival, they’re taking pick-up orders for Snow Skin Mooncake Boxes which include four palm-sized mooncakes. Choose a box of two salted egg and two black sesame for $50 or four durian mooncakes for $60. Each box also comes with two ounces of pu-ehr tea from China’s Yunnan Province.
Founded in 2001, Lady M is a New York City-based luxury confections brand with over 50 boutiques worldwide. They are most famous for creating their Signature Mille Crêpes, but their other desserts that mix French and Japanese traditions are just as delicious and special. Their Celebration of Lights Mooncake Gift Sets are made in collaboration with Kee Wah Bakery and include custard and chocolate mooncakes in gorgeous packaging. There’s also a set that comes with the new Purple Yam Mille Crêpes. Both are currently sold out, but you can contact a boutique to see what they’re offering in-store.
Kee Wah Bakery
Kee Wah Bakery is a Hong Kong institution that’s been around since 1938. They opened their U.S. store in Monterey Park, Los Angeles in 1958, but they also offer nationwide shipping. Kee Wah is best known for their Chinese bridal cakes and mooncakes, the latter of which they make more than 10 million of a year, according to the New York Times. If you order them online, they’ll be produced locally in one of their Hong Kong plants and arrive in a gorgeous decorative tin. Choose from date paste, golden or white lotus seed, yolk custard, mixed nuts and ham, low sugar, and more. You can even order from Kee Wah on Amazon.
Sheng Kee Bakery
This spot has been making mooncakes since 1950 when the family opened a bakery in Taiwen. They opened a San Francisco location in 1981 and today have 11 locations in the Bay Area. They’re famous for their mooncakes, specifically the green bean variety, which are made with green bean paste with a dash of spring onion within a puff pastry. Other flavors include Autumn fruit (banana, mango, lychee, mulberry), red bean with a soft cheese center, taro mochi, and assorted egg yolk options. There are numerous assorted gift boxes that can be shipped nationwide and ordered on Amazon.
This LA-based spot was actually founded in NYC in 2019 before making the move to the west coast. Billed as a “modern, Asian-inspired dessert studio,” their offerings look too good to eat, from gorgeous mirror cakes to their famous profiteroles. They also have a special Mooncake Gift Box that comes with a honey oolong tea from Common Clover. The four mooncake flavors are red bean, osmanthus, taro, and pineapple, but in true Domi fashion, they’ve pushed the boundaries a bit and made them with “a flaky shortbread crust rather than the traditional shiny one.” The box is $60 plus $5 shipping.
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