The Mid-Autumn Festival falls on 1 October but what’s missing this year will be the throngs of people flocking to the large-scale mooncake fairs at malls to purchase mooncakes from a range of retailers.
Industry players are not optimistic that these annual events — which usually draw huge crowds to sample baked and snowskin treats — will happen in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While a smaller number of mooncake vendors may be allowed to retail within physical store premises, the number of visitors is likely to be restricted.
In a bid to win more customers, retailers are going online and pushing out new flavours.
Takashimaya and Tangs departmental stores have pivoted their annual mooncake fairs online while many hotels and restaurants are also selling their mooncakes online.
However, is pushing out new flavours feasible when customers are not able to sample them?
Nevertheless, here’s where you can get your mooncake fix online and have them delivered to your doorstep.
Sister company of chocolate cake chain Awfully Chocolate that organises events, Sinpopo Fairs, has jumped onto the bandwagon to launch an online store selling mooncakes until 1 October.
On their website, they claim to be “Singapore’s first and largest dedicated online mooncake fair”.
As of writing, they sell over 30 brands from a good mix of retailers ranging from homegrown brands to five-star hotels. You can expect offerings from Home’s Favourite to Janice Wong to The Ritz-Carlton.
You can also purchase the mooncakes directly from these brands’ respective sites, but you will not be able to purchase from multiple brands in a single basket.
The downside is that you have to spend a minimum of $800 to enjoy a 20 per cent discount. Shipping fee is charged at a flat rate of $15, regardless of location.
A quick comparison shows that a box of four Home’s Favourite Premium Top Grade Crystal Golden Pearl Durian Mooncakes is cheaper on the Home’s Favourite website at $86.40 inclusive of shipping. That same box retails at $95.36 on SinpopoFairs.com with shipping.
On the other hand, a box of four low-sugar silver lotus paste with double yolk mooncakes from Mandarin Oriental’s website costs $104.88 with delivery while you can get the same box for cheaper at $88.70 on SinpopoFairs.com.
Depending on the quantity you are purchasing, it is worthy to double-check the prices on multiple sites for the best deal.
For those who are looking to receive mooncakes earlier, Sinpopo Fairs delivers from 1 September.
The highly-anticipated annual mooncake fair by Takashimaya Department Store has pivoted online.
You can find the usual brands such as tcc, Four Seasons Durian, Chang Ho Sek, Peony Jade and Golden Moments on the online store till 23 September.
If you are looking for special mooncakes, you may be interested in a box of four Limited Edition Premium Mao Shan Wang Truffle Snowskin Mooncakes from homegrown brand Golden Moments retailing at a whopping $888.
They are described as “a masterpiece made with Mao Shan Wang, dark chocolate shell which encapsulated with ganache that comes with a layer of fresh Australian Winter Black Truffle perfectly mixed with truffle paste and truffle oil.”
On the other hand, a box of eight Marriott Tang Plaza’s Pure ‘Mao Shan Wang’ Premium Grade Durian Snowskin Mooncakes costs $81.40 at Takashimaya as compared to $58.80 on Tangs and $99 on Sinpopo Fairs. BE sure to compare the prices on different sites as their prices vary.
Takashimaya also stocks some brands that Sinpopofairs.com doesn’t, such as Fairmont, Grand Hyatt and Goodwood Park Hotel.
They are also offering never-seen-before flavours. Think red bean with pineapple and tangerine peel from The Fullerton Hotel and rose tea snowskin with champagne truffle from Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.
As usual, there are DBS Takashimaya credit card promotions that users can take advantage of. There is also an early-bird discount for selected brands when you place your order by 6 September.
For those who are looking to receive mooncakes earlier, Takashimaya delivers from 1 September.
Departmental store Tangs sells similar mooncake brands to Sinpopo Fairs and Takashimaya.
They also stock homegrown brands such as Aroma Truffle, Lapis Place, Baker’s Well, Bread Garden and My Mum’s Cookies.
We compare Tangs’ prices with those on Takashimaya and Sinpopo Fairs and there are disparities.
For example, InterContinental Singapore’s Snowskin Mooncakes from the Heritage Collection retails at $58.80 (not inclusive of delivery) at Takashimaya and Tangs, but are selling at $68.88 at Sinpopo Fairs.
On the other hand, Shangri-La Hotel’s Four Treasures Mooncakes retails at $68 on both Takashimaya and Tangs but are selling for slightly cheaper at Sinpopo Fairs for $65.60.
It is worthy to note that delivery is only available from 10 to 30 September, so even if you order now, the earliest you can receive it is 10 September.
Japanese departmental store Isetan is also selling mooncakes on their online store, but only for pre-orders. This means that they only deliver mooncakes from 31 August onwards.
As compared to the other sites, there are only 12 brands on Isetan. They stock some lesser-known brands such as Baker’s Oven Pattisieries, Cookies4U, Kam Boat and Tatgu.
They also have hotelier brands Grand Hyatt, Shangri-La and Mandarin Oriental so there isn’t anything much different there.
Prices are also slightly higher than the other mooncake marketplaces but you are able to receive your mooncakes from 31 August for those who want to receive them earlier.
5. Oddle Eats Online Food Festival – Mooncake Edition
You can also find a variety of mooncakes from a range of popular restaurants on online ordering system Oddle from 14 August to 1 October.
These include Beauty in the Pot, Paradise Dynasty, Majestic restaurant, London Fat Duck, Seafood Paradise, Summer Pavilion, Crystal Jade, Imperial Treasure and more.
They also retail mooncake versions from hotels such as Goodwood Park and Pan Pacific, but Oddle offers mostly versions from restaurants.
Take note that there is a minimum order amount to meet and delivery charges vary for each retailer.
The first 500 customers who spend a minimum of S$120 in a single receipt during the Online Food Festival will receive a limited-edition ceramic tea set worth S$68.
6. Capitol Singapore
Capitol Singapore is also holding an online mooncake fair till 1 October.
You can expect offerings from Carlton Hotel, The Capitol Kempinski Hotel Singapore, and other brands available on other sites such as Fairmont, Shangri-La Hotel, Aroma Truffle, tcc and Golden Moments.
What sets Capitol’s online mooncake fair apart from rest of the sites is the free islandwide delivery with any mooncake purchase.
Prices are quite similar to other sites. For example, a box of four Fairmont Traditional Mixed Nuts Baked Mooncakes retails at $57.60 on both Capitol and Tangs but is slightly cheaper at $54 on Takashimaya.
However, since Capitol offers free shipping, it may be cheaper to purchase from them instead.
7. Hotels’ Own E-Stores
Some hotels in Singapore have launched their own e-stores retailing their own mooncakes versions.
Over at Regent Singapore, all four- or eight-piece mooncake box purchases will be discounted by 30 per cent till 23 August.
Grand Hyatt Singapore started its e-store last month. The good thing about purchasing on their website is that you get to pick and choose the flavours for a mooncake box of four or eight flavours.
Alternatively, you can also buy from Takashimaya at the same prices for pre-selected boxes.
Meanwhile, Carlton is having a 25 per cent discount for purchase of up to 30 boxes, and 30 per cent off for orders above 31 boxes.
If you want to lay your hands on some Raffles mooncakes, they are only available for orders on their website till 25 September.
You can reserve your mooncakes on the website four days in advance and head down to the Raffles Mooncake Booth at Raffles Hotel for collection. You can also purchase them at the booth.
Delivery charges are quite steep — $40 for online purchase of up to 10 boxes, or $30 for online purchase of up to 20 boxes. Free delivery is only available for above 40 boxes.
HSBC cardholders enjoy early-bird privileges of up to 30 per cent off their snow-skin and baked mooncakes. They also have an interesting new flavour that you may be excited about: Apricot and Sourplum Snowskin.
GrabFood is also offering mooncakes delivered on-demand (yes, it means you don’t have to place your orders in advance) for yourself or gift them to your family and friends.
Alternatively, you may choose to schedule your mooncake delivery for a date and time at your convenience too.
Some brands that I have spotted are IUIGA, Baker’s Brew, Bee Cheng Hiang, Peach Garden, Thye Moh Chan, Starbucks and Hua Ting Restaurant.
They are also offering free delivery (enter the promo code “Mooncake” at checkout) from now till 30 September on your orders.
You just need to open your Grab app, click on the Food icon — just like how you would do whenever you are ordering food — and tap on the Mooncakes banner, or simply type “mooncake” in the search bar.
Mooncake Sales Will Be Significantly Lower This Year
Without the bustling offline mooncake fairs, retailers are not able to showcase new flavours and allow customers to try them out before purchasing.
As customers are not able to sample new offerings this year, they may likely be apprehensive about purchasing new flavours and likely stick to familiar flavours to play it safe.
As a result, brands are sticking to tried-and-tested creations instead of pushing out new, exotic flavours.
Pivoting online also means that they may lose out the older customers who are less tech-savvy.
Mooncakes in gift boxes may be less popular this year as well with downplayed celebrations. Furthermore, customers could be opting to buy mooncakes in smaller, lesser quantities for their personal consumption.
As a result, retailers have to brace themselves for lower mooncake sales this year.
Featured Image Credit: Peony Jade / Shangri-La Hotel / Golden Moments / Home’s favourite / Four Seasons Restaurant / Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel