Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Shanghai Mooncakes @ 63 茶餐室 Kopitiam Restoran Loh Sang in Taman Desa Jaya, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

This is the Shanghai mooncake 上海月饼 from 63 茶餐室 Restoran Loh Sang in Taman Desa Jaya, Johor Bahru. The dense not-too-sweet lotus paste wraps a salted egg yolk which is itself encased in a flaky pastry. How flaky? The pastry looked like it will crumble, if I stared at it too hard. The buttery pastry started to crumble when I gently lifted it and it melted on my tongue before I could close my mouth! No kidding.

One thing that fascinates me about the Johor food scene is that there is still space for small niche players to thrive and succeed. The Mid Autumn Festival (mooncake festival) is approaching and the usual big players are gearing up to flood the market with their fanciful factory made mooncakes in impressive, expensive packaging.

Yet there are small businesses that still make their mooncakes by hand and have a growing clientele that insists on homemade mooncakes made without preservatives and artificial flavourings. But nowadays, we can count the number of such boutique bakeries with the fingers of just one hand. One such is 63 Kopitiam Restoran Loh Sang in Taman Desa Jaya.

Looking at its "run of the mill" kopitiam shopfront, who would have guessed that 63 茶餐室 Kopitiam makes one of the best Shanghai Mooncakes 上海月饼 in Johor and some even say the whole of Malaysia? I can't say that since I have not eaten mooncakes from the whole of Malaysia yet :P

On a normal day, 63 Kopitiam sells "economic mix vegetable rice" and their popular homemade breads and buns which are freshly made everyday without using any preservatives.

During the annual Mid Autumn Festival, the owner MR Chia 謝 will make his highly popular Shanghai mooncakes.

Everything is done by hand here in 63 茶餐室 Kopitiam by MR Chia and one worker, so the amount of Shanghai mooncakes made is always limited.

MR Chia kneading the dough for the flaky crust.

Preparing the lotus seed paste and the salted egg yolk stuffing.

The lotus seed paste and salted egg filling are rolled into a tight ball, one by one.

The lotus seed paste/ salted egg yolk stuffing in the foreground are then wrapped in dough to make the Shanghai mooncakes in the background of this photo.

MR Chia applying egg wash to the tray of Shanghai mooncakes - the final step before baking them in the oven.

The Shanghai mooncakes in the oven.

The piping hot, golden brown Shanghai mooncakes straight out of the oven. MR Chia sells each box of 4 of these Shanghai mooncakes with lotus seed paste and single salted egg yolk at RM34.

MR Chia told me that this year, he will be renting a small stand at City Square Mall in downtown JB to sell his famous Shanghai mooncakes. Look out for 63 茶餐室 Kopitiam's unique handmade Shanghai mooncakes if you are shopping for mooncakes in City Square Mall.

Restaurant name: 63 茶餐室 Kopitiam Restoran Loh Sang
Address: 6, Jalan Danau 3, Taman Desa Jaya, Johor Bahru
Map: http://goo.gl/maps/UXEJS
GPS: 1.555211,103.805640
Hours: 8:00am to 4:00pm
No pork, no lard

Date visited: 27 Aug 2012

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