Just last autumn the celebration was marked with a little piggy from Singapore. In a blink of the eye the maple tree in front of my apartment has started turning radiant again, telling us that it’s time we find ourselves in front of countless beaming mooncakes.
This tiny pretty bite is pineapple mooncake from Sheng Kee Bakery in the 99 Ranch Market plaza. As my reader, new friend, and Chinese food expert Kathleen Chen told me :-), 99 Ranch Market is Taiwanese-owned and the most reliable sign that a bakery is Taiwanese instead of Chinese is the pineapple cake (鳳梨酥). Well, the pineapple mooncake is certainly tasty, but if you know me, my taste buds are slightly influenced by my political and cultural preferences, so DOUBLE thumbs up for Taiwanese pineapple mooncake! 🙂
The nicest thing about the pineapple mooncake is that it’s not too sweet. The pineapple didn’t lose all of its tangy signature but rather just had the edges smoothened out, so to speak. Meanwhile, a little shreddy, uneven texture makes the paste more interesting.
Jasmine tea mooncake is also not too sweet, and it has the bonus aromatic herbal flavor of dried blossoms that I adore. There’s a multitude of other tea flavored mooncakes here, like oolong, black tea, and chrysanthemum and others whose names I can’t remember.
Here’s something else that looks interesting but I don’t know how to call it other than taro pastry. The outer layer is rather sweet, flaky, and practically melts in your mouth. There’s taro paste in the middle layer, which is mild and rooty nutty (taro-ey, if you know what I mean). Then there’s a soft, creamy, sweet white ball at the core and I have no idea what it is. The pastry is like a mini planet. 🙂 Hmm… maybe they should start naming new planets after food. 😀
Address: Sheng Kee Bakery & Cafe – inside 99 Ranch Market Plaza – Richmond
3288 Pierce St. #C 133
Richmond, CA 94804
Money matters: taro pastry – $1.85, small moli (jasmine) tea mooncake – $1.95, small pineapple mooncake – $1.60
The bakery also has beautiful sets of mooncakes (all sizes) in ornate boxes, but you gotta pay more for the look – ~$36 for each box with 4 large mooncakes.