Looking to buy mooncakes in Singapore that won’t cost too much? Avoid chain restaurants and these places.
This mooncake season, work on shaving a few bucks off the overpriced pastries. They weren’t historically expensive you know – just lumps of flour and sugar used to hide rebellious messages. Here are five mooncakes that will make the grade in terms of taste, but won’t leave you too broke.
1. The Baker’s Cottage
This is from a Malaysian company, and you can order their mooncakes online. Alternatively, you can order from one of their booths in a local mall (often Junction 8) but email them for details on where they’re setting up. The Baker’s Cottage has been doing this for about 21 years, so they’re a household name by now.
Depending on the exchange rate, you can get a box of four mooncakes for as low as S$25. The packaging is good enough for a corporate gift or to please the in-laws.
2. PrimaDeli Mooncakes
PrimaDeli is not only affordable, they add a bit of funk to their mooncakes. The Royal Gift Set (all snowskin mooncakes) has nine mooncakes for S$38.80. That’s practically 25 calories per dollar, and a perfect anorexia cure.
You get a wide range of flavours, including Oreo Chocolate, Cranberry Cheese, Pandan, and Durian. Good if you want something unconventional, but it probably won’t please stick-in-the-mud traditionalists.
3. Da Zhong Guo
Da Zhong Guo is an innocuous shop hidden in a corner of Chinatown. It’s mostly famous for pastries like egg tarts and sun biscuits, but they do make mooncakes in August. You’ll find the classic flavours (e.g. bean paste, salted egg yolk), and prices are reasonable – they range from S$4 for a plain mooncake, to around $7.50 for a four yolk mooncake. Be warned however: the mooncakes are not extensively packaged, and wrapped in paper rather than sealed in plastic. This is for people who value taste over presentation.
4. Kam Lun Tai
This is a Malaysian bakery, but they’ve been suppliers on the Singapore scene since the 1980s. Kam Lun Tai offers consistent quality with traditional flavours – you won’t find anything crazier than the fruit and nut mooncake (which isn’t that wild these days), but they’re always well made and a crowd pleaser.
The mooncakes come in sets of four, and prices range from S$19 to S$34 (not counting 6% GST), given the current exchange rates. The boxes are presentable enough to make them corporate gifts.
5. Tai Chong Kok Confectionery
Another long time business Chinatown, Tai Chong Kok is best known for its seeds and ham mooncakes. They also have snowskin mooncakes that are famous for a smooth, non-mushy texture.
While they’re not the cheapest option on this list, they do come with a “no packaging” option. This is drops the cost to around S$42+ for a box of four. If you want good mooncakes for the best reason (i.e. to eat it yourself, not to give it away) then buy from here and forget the fancy boxes.
In general, stick to small stores and dodge the hotels
Mooncakes are a big money spinner for hotels. This is the season when celebrity chefs get to go crazy making S$60 to S$250 mooncake sets, and the hotels go wild with the packaging. Most of them will have professionally designed, limited edition boxes where the packaging itself will set you back S$20 or more.
If you want to save money, your best bet is the small neighbourhood bakeries. Chinatown and Ubi tend to offer the best deals, and mooncake hunting in these areas will keep the cost to below S$40. Alternatively, strike out across the causeway and you can keep costs below S$35, but only while the low exchange rates last.
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By Ryan Ong
Ryan has been writing about finance for the last 10 years. He also has his fingers in a lot of other pies, having written for publications such as Men’s Health, Her World, Esquire, and Yahoo! Finance.