With the full moon celebrations of the lunar calendar in full swing this month, it’s that time of the year when mooncakes are on everybody’s lips – literally. In Thailand, the most famous mooncakes of them all can be found at The Peninsula Bangkok, where Chinese cuisine executive chef Ball Yau and his team at Mei Jiang meticulously handcraft each egg custard mooncake using a closely guarded recipe that was originally created by The Peninsula Hong Kong in 1986.
Each year, the kitchen at Mei Jiang becomes a beehive of activity to meet the rising demand for these scrumptious mooncakes. By 2016, a staggering three million egg custard mooncakes had been sold by The Peninsula Bangkok over the years. If placed together, they would span 123km, or the same distance as trekking up and down Mount Everest 14 times. In 2017 alone, total mooncake sales were equivalent to 14.3km, and if stacked vertically would have been almost 95 times higher than the hotel’s iconic Riverside building itself, which stands 151 metres tall. The mooncakes are sold in a signature, octagonal box of eight, as the Chinese word for eight sounds similar to the words meaning “prosperity” and “good fortune”.
To make this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival even more special, and as a unique cultural experience and a meaningful celebration of the 20th anniversary of The Peninsula Bangkok in 2018, an exquisitely embroidered gift box that transforms into a one-of-a-kind jewellery box or clutch bag has been introduced. Designed by Thai artist, illustrator and fashion designer Phannapast Taychamaythakool, who shot to fame after a high-profile collaboration with Gucci, the gift sets are limited to only 200 pieces. Best of all, proceeds from the sales of these special creations will help to fund art scholarships for underprivileged Thai students.
Crafted from green and gold fabric and featuring a colourfully embroidered design marrying Chinese and Thai folk tales, each gift box is a highly collectible piece of art. A graduate of Chulalongkorn University, Phannapast’s fairy tale-like illustrations are characterised by an intricate yet vibrant artistic style, with a strong focus on detail and colour.
The gift boxes, which are priced at 4,980 Baht net and can be purchased at The Peninsula Bangkok, draw inspiration from a mystical Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival folk tale featuring the Moon Goddess and a rabbit, and the classic Thai poem “Jun Euey Jun Jao” (Dear Moon). Continuing this timeless Thai tradition, The Peninsula Bangkok takes on the role of elder brother or sister in making a wish to customers to become the moon for underprivileged Thai students who dream about becoming artists. Each purchase of a rare moon cake gift set will help to grant the wish of students who would otherwise have little chance of advancing to higher education, by funding a four-year scholarship to study for a Bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts at Chulalongkorn University.
Inside these special gift sets are also a music box that plays the legendary Chinese festive song, “The Moon Represents My Heart”, by Teresa Teng.
(The regular moon cake box with eight mooncakes are available at 980 Baht net. But hurry for a taste of these famous egg custard mooncakes – only while stocks last.)