Around this time each year, Thai Kee IGA is usually setting up lantern-decorated stalls in the heart of Chinatown in preparation for the Mid-Autumn Festival.
Also commonly known as the Moon Festival, it is one of the most significant holidays on the lunar calendar, falling on the one night of the year when the moon is the brightest and fullest. This year, that day is September 21. The festival traditionally celebrates harvest in the autumn, but in more modern times it signifies a time for reunions with loved ones and an opportunity to give thanks.
But given circumstances are a little different this year, the family-run supermarket has devoted its online store – which typically sells groceries and ready-to-heat meals from local restaurants such as Ho Jiak, Chaco Ramen and Rising Sun Workshop – to only Mid-Autumn Festival-related products. Mainly mooncakes, a dessert that symbolises family and union.
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“This year, we are striving to emulate this same energy, excitement and connection in these extraordinary circumstances, especially when we need it more than ever. We have gone virtual, offering over 200 products,” Thai Kee’s online director Wendy Lin tells Broadsheet.
“We celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival each year by giving delicious mooncakes to our loved ones, our parents and close family, to show love and appreciation. Usually, mooncakes in their round shape is a type of food that’s shared, cut into even pieces and eaten communally.”
There is a variety of mooncakes, each boxed in beautifully ornate tins ready for gifting. The most classic version is the Cantonese-style mooncakes featuring a dense pastry filled with white or red lotus-seed paste and salted duck-egg yolk. More modern takes include “lava” mooncakes filled with salted duck-egg yolk-flavoured custard, as well as snow-skin mooncakes made with mochi skin, and crispy puff-pastry mooncakes with fillings such as durian, black sesame and green tea.
For the second year in a row, Thai Kee has teamed up with Golden Century to exclusively stock its handmade egg-custard lava mooncakes, which are baked in-house at its now-closed Sussex Street restaurant.
The online store is also stocking mooncake creations by neighbouring dessert stores Sweet Lu and Dulcet, among others. And Jim’s Malaysia is pioneering his culture’s Teochew puff pastry-style mooncakes. Plus, there’s a range of other biscuits and snacks available including crumbly egg rolls, almond cakes and pineapple shortcakes.
Delivery is available nationwide. Free delivery is available across most of Sydney for minimum orders of $50. Purchase all Mid-Autumn Festival treats online here.