Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
All food photos are of real food with no photoshop
3M at Marriott!
Friday, 12 June, 2015
The audacious and irreverent Travelling Gourmet TM goes to taste…
MOONCAKES from the Marriott Hotel in Singapore. Every year, the creative Chefs of the Marriott, and in particular their fine dining Cantonese Restaurant Wan Hao, come up with the most amazing Mooncakes! In 2003 I was the very first gourmet in the world to match Mooncakes with wines at the Marriott. In 2004, I was the first gourmet in the world to match Durian with wines at the Marriott so every year I always look forward to their new Mooncake creations!
This year there are FOUR new flavours. At a special tasting in Wan Hao with the trim and fit Dieter Ruckenbauer, the Marriott’s Resident Manager, I found the new flavours to be very intriguing and inspiring…
The Travelling Gourmet TM with Dieter Ruckenbauer
Teh Tarik (literally translated from the Malay it means “pulled Tea”) Snowskin Mooncake
The colour is a deep chocolate brown. the filling has a gooey, sticky mouthfeel. On the palate the sweet and fragrant tastes of caramel and tea and coalesce to give a pleasing taste sensation. Then you crunch on something! There are little cute nuggets of crunchy Milk Chocolate inside which give a nice texture to this Mooncake. This Mooncake will appeal to local tastes especially those who love Teh Tarik!
Sng Buay (Preserved Plum) Snowskin Mooncake
A lovely pink colour made me think it was a Raspberry or Cranberry Mooncake. I have made Snowskin Mooncake with Lotus Seed Paste and Cranberries before. “Taste it and tell me what it is…” chuckled Dieter. I tasted the mooncake and slightly sweet and sour and savoury flavours assailed my tastebuds… There was brunoise of little pieces of dried fruit inside the lotus seed paste. I recognised the flavours of Sng Buay or Preserved Plum which is a very popular tit bit that is also used in Teochew Chinese cuisine to add flavour to steamed fish like Grouper or Soon Hock. I really liked the palate cleansing flavours and this dessert Mooncake has a very slightly spicy peppery long finish. The flavours linger for a long time on your palate a like fine wine. Perfect with Canada’s Inniskillin Ice Wine or Donnafugata Ben Rye Passito di Pantelleria from Sicily.
Baked Mooncake with Lotus Seed Paste and Chicken “Lap Cheong”
Appearance wise it looks like the classic traditional Mooncake with a golden brown pastry crust. Inside…the Lotus Seed Paste is spiked with brunoise of Chicken “Lap Cheong”. Normally Lap Cheong or Chinese sausage is made with minced Pork. However, to serve a pork free Mooncake, the Marriott has used chicken to make the Lap Cheong. Amazingly, the taste profile is very close to pork Lap Cheong. Sweet and savoury flavours delight! This is a very tasty Mooncake for the traditionalists who prefer baked skin to snowskin! Dieter explained, ” I tried some made with Parma ham and it was very good! However to keep in line with our pork free policy…”
Piece de resistence…
The most avant garde and unusual Mooncake ever is the Black Truffle Mooncake. It has Black Truffle the King of Fungi in it! There are also tasty morsels of Lap Ark or Waxed Duck inside the Lotus Seed paste. Please be aware that there is no overpowering aroma of Truffle caused by over zealous application of Truffle Oil. There is NO Truffle Oil in this Mooncake BUT there is a delightful subtly balanced flavor and aroma of Black Truffle. This will please discerning connoisseurs. The black pastry dusted with gold is most attractive and is made with charcoal powder. The two new baked Mooncake flavours are the creations of Dieter Ruckenbauer, who used to be a Chef himself. Please talkenote that Marriott’s Mooncakes are all hand crafted in house and not from a factory in Johor. No two Mooncakes are exactly the same. These are made in the good old Artisanal way which is very labour intensive. I am sure other hotels will start following this trend of using exotic ingredients like Truffle.. What will be next??? Oscietra Caviar, Currywurst or Foie Gras perhaps??? The world of food and wine is always full of new and wonderful temptations to discover! EXCITING!
I must also mention the Marriott’s fine dining Cantonese restaurant, Wan Hao. The food and Tim Sum served here is absolutely fabulous! The specialities like the Xiao Loong Pau and the Peking Duck and the Roast Chicken with Crispy Skin are to rob a bank for!
Be adventurous and daring in your food tasting and…remember The Travelling Gourmet’s motto: Das Leben, es ist unbestimmt, isst erst den Nachtisch! It means: Life is uncertain, eat dessert first!
Marriott Hotel Singapore
320 Orchard Road
Tel: 65 6735 5800