These unnaturally colored mooncakes exemplify why I love places like Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong. They’re not afraid to experiment with food, and I don’t mean in a molecular gastronomy way. Both of my visits to the region happened to fall during mooncake season and I was amazed each time by the number of modern varieties. New York’s Chinatowns are still firmly entrenched in the traditional baked red bean cakes not these rainbow hued “snow skin” types.
Of course tradition has its place. But I don’t think that quality ingredients and crazy presentations need be mutually exclusive. I think much of the reason why I can’t get excited about local, sustainable, organic or whatever, is because while possibly tasty, it’s not very fun. Or maybe pristine produce and small producers just doesn’t rev me up. Novelty impresses me, I’m afraid.
I have no idea how this particular Chinese chef created his gummi bear and lavender flavored mooncakes or achieved those shades of pink and blue. Probably not naturally--is that a problem? It doesn’t bother me, but I’m also fine with fake green pistachio gelato, red velvet cake…and even Velveeta.