Ying Ker Lou has been beloved for hearty and healthy Hakka cuisine since 2006; this year, the family-run restaurant chain has launched its own series of mooncakes, promising a few unique twists to the seasonal favourite, including what might be Malaysia’s first-ever lei cha mooncake.
Led by matriarch Madam Siow, whose professional experience in cooking spans over four decades, Ying Ker Lou spent months fine-tuning these mooncakes, offered in six different flavours at RM22 per piece, with elegant boxes also available for gifting. You can purchase these mooncakes at all Ying Ker Lou outlets now and online soon on Shopee, Lazada and other platforms; sealed at room temperature, the mooncakes should endure through November, so you can still continue indulging in them after the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1 this year.
The must-try is Ying Ker Lou’s exclusive Lotus Paste Pounded Tea (Hakka Lui Cha) Mooncake – inspired by the ‘thunder tea rice’ that has been Ying Ker Lou’s flagship recipe since the start, this mooncake beautifully blends lotus paste with the authentic ingredients for the lei cha soup base.
The preparation painstakingly brings together a variety of fresh mint leaves, basil leaves and premium tea leaves with sesame seeds and ground peanuts to convey the comfortingly familiar flourishes of a bowl of lei cha – when you chew on it, you may taste the subtle herbal nuances first, followed by pleasurably bittersweet notes. If you love lei cha, you’ll certainly like this fragrantly aromatic creation.
There are many reasons to respect Ying Ker Lou’s mooncakes – its confident balance of flavours, its focus on wholesomeness (the mooncakes are relatively lower in sugar, with minimal oil and salt), and its reliance on the Hakka culinary history and heritage to make these mooncakes extra-special.
Ying Ker Lou’s second distinctive mooncake is the Hakka Mei Chai with Assorted Fruits and Nuts Mooncake – it might look like a typical mix-nuts mooncake, but it boasts a secret component: Mui choy (preserved mustard greens). The salted vegetable is diced and sauteed before being added to the assortment of fruits and nuts, yielding a bit more depth to the dynamics of this complex mooncake.
Madam Siow emphasises that customers should be able to taste each component – everything shines through, from the almonds, walnuts, melon seeds and white sesame seeds to the dried persimmon and dried winter melon, to the natural flavourings that enhance our enjoyment, including rose-infused caramel, five-spice powder and pepper.
The mui choy furnishes a slight savouriness to the ensemble – it’s not dominantly overpowering, but it’s definitely there, gently genuine, making this a mooncake to relish slowly, bite by bite.
Also worth sampling are Ying Ker Lou’s Green Tea Pure Lotus Paste Single Yolk (with no artificial colouring – the Japanese matcha is mild and mellow, its purity partnering well with the yolk) and Black Sesame Pure White Lotus Paste (which tastes like a nostalgic childhood treat that all generations will appreciate, with a soft, creamy centre).
If you can’t resist yolks in your mooncakes, check out the crowd-pleasers of White Pure Lotus Paste with Single Yolk or double the decadence with Pure Lotus Paste Double Yolk, featuring sizable yolks that ensure everyone gets a fair share of egg-fuelled ecstasy.
Many thanks to Ying Ker Lou for this preview of its inaugural 2020 mooncakes.
Ying Ker Lou can be found at CITTA Mall, The Gardens Mall, Pavilion KL, 1 Mont Kiara, The Curve and Atria Shopping Gallery in the Klang Valley, as well as Beletime Danga Bay in Johor Bahru.