In celebration of this year's Mid-Autumn Festival, the chefs at Vikings Luxury Buffet, the Philippines' largest buffet restaurant, are again put to the test of creativity as they are to innovate recipes of the traditional mooncakes using non-traditional ingredients and flavors used in making these festive delicacies. Going by the theme A Non-Traditional Tradition, Vikings Luxury Buffet's special Mooncake Festival menu will be available on every weekend of September, with every branch having a different set of menu.
|Beef Bourguignon Mooncake with Choron Sauce|
On its third month now, Vikings Luxury Buffet introduces a monthly themed menu which they add to their existing buffet spread. This adds more varierty to the already extensive options of international dishes offered by Vikings. This month, Vikings has again invited pinasmuna.com to sample their September special menu. Together with other bloggers, we had an afternoon tea and feasted on some of the most interesting mooncake creations we have ever tasted.
What's impressive about the mooncakes was the fact that they were made without using mooncake molders, so everything was done manually, according to Ms. Raquel Bartolome, Assistant Marketing Head for Vikings Luxury Buffet.
We started off with three savory versions of the mooncake. While the mooncake crust tasted traditional, it was the filling that made these mooncakes intriguing. First to arrive on our table was the Beef Bourguignon Mooncake with Choron Sauce. By its name, it is obviously a French recipe. The savory beef chunks are a perfect match to the lightly-sweet mooncake crust. The Choron Sauce is a creamy-buttery sauce which adds an extra dimension to the overall taste of the mooncake.
|Sliced Beef Bourguignon Mooncake|
The Minced Goat Cheese Mooncake with Mango Coulis has a lightly savory taste coming form the goat cheese. The sweet mango syrup enhances the more familiar taste of the mooncake crust. The minced goat cheese mimics the soft texture of the traditional red bean filling of the mooncake which is a contrast to the chewy mooncake crust.
|Minced Goat Cheese Mooncake with Mango Coulis|
Next to be served was the Crusty Shrimp Cheese Mooncake. This one has a flaky crust not typical of mooncakes. The crust has a croissant-like texture similar to many European and Middle Eastern layered pastries. The crust is then filled with a mixture of minced shrimps, herbs and cheese. It is then baked until the crust is golden crispy. This has become the group's favorite among all the mooncakes served to us, so you shouldn't miss this one when you visit Vikings SM Megamall.
|Crusty Shrimp Cheese Mooncake|
The first four savory mooncakes we tried demonstrates the creativity of the chefs at Vikings Luxury Buffet. They are able to combine European ingredients, flavors and culinary techniques into the traditional culinary art of making mooncakes.
Then came the Asado Mooncake. Its undecorated crust gives it a traditional, simple and unassuming look, and its shiny golden brown coating makes it very inviting.
Slicing the Asado Mooncake in half reveals what's inside the crust. Again, it didn't look extraordinary at all, but wait until you take a bite. It's an explosion of the traditional semi-sweet red beans and the non-traditional savory Asado flavors, further enhanced by the salted egg at the core. The Asado flavor perfectly blends with the red beans and salted egg, making this version of the mooncake closer to the traditional ones.
|Sliced Asado Mooncake|
Next one is the Salted Lotus Mooncake. The Chinese character 中 (zhōng, English: middle, center) on the top of the mooncake gives it an undeniable Chinese identity, it is however non-traditional to use this character to decorate mooncakes. In terms of ingredients and taste, this one is the closest to the traditional mooncake we are all familiar with. Inside the crust is a thick lotus seed paste with a salted egg at the core of it. The crust is also chewy and has the traditional semi-sweet tasted.
|Salted Lotus Mooncake|
If you are looking for authentic mooncakes, you don't need to worry. Vikings will also be serving mooncakes which they ordered straight from Hong Kong to serve guests with more traditional taste.
|Traditional Mooncake from Hong Kong|
Yes it's not yet over but here's the finale to our mooncake adventure. Vikings Luxury Buffet has created desserts taking inspiration from mooncakes. The SM Megamall branch presented to us two dessert mooncakes with marzipan crust. I always associate marzipan with Christmas so these almond-based desserts are an early Christmas treat for me presented in a mooncake shape.
The pink one is the Wild Berry Cheese Mooncake. The pink marzipan crust is soft and sweet and at the center is a chunk of cheesecake flavored with a variety of berries. It is then topped with a marzipan shaped like a cherry.
|Wild Berry Cheese Mooncake|
The yellow one is the Choco Trifle Mooncake. The yellow crust is also made of marzipan. Inside is a rich chocolate filling. It is then topped with ripe mango. I find the chocolate too sweet for my taste, but if you love sweet desserts, I'm sure you'll love this.
|Choco Trifle Mooncake|
I never expected that eating eight small size mooncakes could be filling. I am not a tea person, but I actually enjoyed pairing these mooncakes with green tea (no photo on the blog). Thanks to the creativity of the chefs at Vikings, we'll no longer look at mooncakes as boring and predictable pastries. It was indeed a fun afternoon of mooncakes and tea we shared with other bloggers. Many thanks to Vikings Luxury Buffet for inviting us again to sample their monthly special menu.
● Experience the Fourth of July at Vikings Luxury Buffet (July 2014)
● South East Asian Street Food at Vikings Luxury Buffet (August 2014)
Follow @VikingsLuxuryBuffet on Instagram and use the official #aNonTraditionalTradition and #eatlikeaviking hash tags when uploading photos from the Mooncake Festival Menu. Here are the weekend rates and contact details of Vikings branches:
SM MOA: P1,088/person (call: 846-3888, 846-4888, 846-5888)
SM Megamall: P888/person (call: 656-3888, 656-4888, 656-5888)
SM Marikina: P888/person (call: 570-3888, 570-4888, 570-5888)
SM North EDSA: P888/person (call: 376-3888, 376-4888, 376-5888)
SM Lanang Davao: P788/person (call: 082-285-3888, 082-285-4888)