It was on the rainy Friday, 27 September 2013, when the Sybaritic Single landed in Singapore to attend a UN charity gala, which he happened to be patronising and his dear friend Diana, then President of Raffles Hotels & Resorts, gifted him his first mooncake: lotus paste with double yolk. That very moment, he fell in love and got fascinated by the exquisitely presented exotic delicacy.
Ever since every autumn, he returned to Singapore just for a few boxes of the Raffles mooncakes, known as the world’s best. Naturally, Billecart-Salmon Champagne truffle snow-skin became his favourite flavour, followed by the yuzu-infused and the mother-of-pearl. His entire wooden trunk would usually be filled with kilograms of mooncakes in all shapes and forms: baked, snow-skin, sweet, savoury, timeless and innovative. Thankfully, Singapore Airlines have always been too kind to him.
In the recent years, many fashion houses discovered the symbolism of the iconic delicacy and sent their own mooncake varieties to favourite clients in the Far East. They almost competed in designing the most impressive, outrageous, Instagram-worthy calorie-bomb treasure chests. An absolute triumph of style over substance. The Sybaritic Single cherished the intricate and enormous festive sets that the maisons presented him, some arrived with a selection of fine teas (Christian Dior, 2017) and some even in form of mechanical music boxes (Louis Vuitton, 2020).
2021 is, however, a very different year. With very little Chinese travellers, the hasty Western world quickly forgot the glorious mid-autumn tradition. Mooncakes fell off the menus of many restaurants and luxury hotels outside of Asia. The Sybaritic Single wrote to Raffles Singapore in hopes they would send a few boxes of mooncakes but was unlucky. He then personally called each and every Oriental restaurant and luxury hotel in and around Dubai – and none of them considered any mooncakes this year. The only establishment in the emirate that happened to offer fresh mooncakes was Shangri-La Dubai, which came a variety of four: white lotus, red bean, green tea and egg yolk.
That thoughtful touch and the honouring of timeless traditions is something one should recognise and celebrate, as if the Sybaritic Single needed another reason to spend a weekend in the lap of luxury. Oh, and did he mention that the mooncakes paired exceptionally well with osmanthus tea (another Shangri-La staple) and, of course, Champagne?