Bacon, Bakers and Bold New Flavors: The Great Mooncake Bakeoff Had It All, But Who Won First Prize?

Bacon, Bakers and Bold New Flavors: The Great Mooncake Bakeoff Had It All, But Who Won First Prize?

Ever since a colleague introduced me to Mooncake, I’ve become a big fan of this wonderful Chinese delicacy that forms such an indispensable part of the Mid-Autumn Festival. So when the chance came along to be one of the judges for the Great Mooncake Bakeoff Year 2 at Lucky Chinatown, I immediately practiced my best “Stern German Baking Competition Judge” look, jumped into a cab and prepared for some serious Mooncake baking action. Can you guess which amazing new flavor won us over on the day?

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The Great Mooncake Bakeoff Year 2 was co-presented by the Chinese-Filipino Business Club Inc and Unionpay, and was held on the 5th of September at the atrium of the Lucky Chinatown mall in Binondo, where three teams of skilled and enthusiastic Mooncake baking masters battled it out for a range of great prizes. The key challenge given to the contestants was to come up with new flavors to replace old favorites such as Lotus Seed and Red Bean paste, and all three teams took different approaches to the task in hand.

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Team Mom & Mitch’s, or M&M’s for short and composed of Michelle Baquiran Jecosana and Antonia Ong Baquiran, went for a truly adventurous approach and created bacon and cheese Mooncake topped with a dice made of cheese and a butterfly made of snowskin. 

The second team, representing Chiang Kai Shek College HRM and having Anne Kristine Co and Janssen Dy manning the stove, conjured up a delicious Adobo Mooncake decorated with caramel and almonds, while the Metro Chefs, composed of Jayson Lee and Bernalaine Mae Malonzo, formed the third team to take part in the competition and sent a truly delicious crunchy Mooncake with chicken and century egg to the judges.

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What made the afternoon extra interesting was the fact that all three teams had to bake their creations from scratch in front of the audience and judges, making it a bit of an education for someone like me who has eaten plenty of Mooncake but has never actually seen how it’s made. Over the course of 90 minutes, and with the support of their friends and banner wielding fanclubs, all contestants went on to finish their marvelous Mooncakes and submitted them to the judges for their verdict…..except they didn’t. Mooncake is apparently best served after it has rested for a day, so the samples given to the panel of judges were actually created a day in advance (under the same circumstances), and the Mooncakes made on the day were handed out to the audience instead.

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Then it was judgment time, and after much inspecting and ingesting, dicing and discussing, eating and repeating of the previous five points, we all submitted our score sheets. All three teams did an amazing job and created some of the tastiest Mooncakes you’ll ever going to come across, but there can of course only be one winner, which this year was Team M&M’s with their Bacon & Cheese Mooncake.

The reward for so much bacon baking goodness was PHP20,000 and round-trip tickets to Cebu from Air Asia, while the second placed Metro Chefs took home PHP16,000 and round-trip tickets to Puerto Princesa, with the third placed team from Chiang Kai Shek College HRM receiving PHP12,000 and round-trip tickets to Bohol, also courtesy of Air Asia. 

Even without a Mooncake baking competition, Lucky Chinatown is worth a visit and I will definitely be back to get some more Mooncake, and to hopefully judge the competition again next year. Can someone dethrone the bacon Mooncake baking masters? Tune in again next year to find out!


Bacon, Bakers and Bold New Flavors: The Great Mooncake Bakeoff Had It All, But Who Won First Prize?