Where to Find the Best Mooncakes for the San Francisco Mid-Autumn Festival

Photo courtesy of Annie’s T Cakes

The Mid-Autumn Festival symbolizes the peaceful coming together of the family under the brightest full moon of the year, and mooncakes, mooncakes, everywhere. The moon is full and huge, low near the horizon and almost orange. Cultures that use the lunar calendar celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, including but not limited to the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese communities. The San Francisco Bay Area is most familiar with traditional Cantonese moon cakes, which feature round or square cakes made and shaped with a dense, slightly sweetened paste made from lotus seeds or red beans, wrapped in a thin alkaline dough, chewy. Some have a dry, salted egg yolk in the middle to represent the full moon, and double yolks or more are for extra prosperity. You only need to eat a few small slices of the dough as it is very dense. We recommend sharing and washing with hot tea.

This year the festival falls on September 10th, but San Francisco will host its Mid-Autumn Festival street fair on August 27th and 28th in Chinatown, where you can definitely buy moon cakes from local bakeries while watching the lion dance and other entertainment. If you want more palm-sized delights outside the street fair, you’ll find plenty of options across the bay, including an exciting crop of new-school mooncakes, from vegan versions to mooncake-inspired chocolates, and more. pancakes -Asian flavors in addition to traditional Chinese. Below is just a sampling of the mouthwatering varieties available.

pineapple king
@pineapplekingpadaria

outdoor sunset
Made fresh daily with no preservatives, this year’s moon cakes include cream of salted eggs and a pungent Musang King durian – not for the uninitiated. While you’re there, you should also get a warmed original pineapple bun (there’s no pineapple, but the crispy egg paste on top looks like one) stuffed with a chilled slice of Kerrygold butter or the guava buttered version. You probably had to wait in a line around the corner anyway. It might very well make it worth it. Bring cash.
How to order: Walk-in or pre-order online for third-party pickup and delivery.

Chinatown
This is the place for traditional cakes like lotus seeds, red beans and black bean paste. If you’re feeling more prosperous, buy a quadruple yolk! Plus, mooncake cookies made from leftover dough, which have seen a resurgence lately, in the form of pork, fish and Buddha. Although you’re already saddled with 50 pounds of mooncakes as gifts, add a slice of Eastern Bakery’s famous crispy coffee cake.
How to order: Walk-in or pre-order by calling 415-433-7973 or email for pickup or shipping.

Annie's T Cakes
Photo courtesy of Annie’s T Cakes

Oakland, San Jose, Rest of the Bay Area
Known for plant-based, gluten-free Taiwanese pineapple cakes since 2021, Annie’s T Cakes is part of the recent wave of vegan Asian baked goods in the Bay Area. For the Mid-Autumn Festival, rejoice in the vegan mini mooncake options of jasmine tea, matcha, red beans and black sesame. A bigger bonus is the Gift Box that just dropped, featuring full-size mooncakes in new flavors like White Chocolate Hojicha and strawberry-filled matcha, with the option to add a greeting card. Pre-orders close August 28 and boxes will be available for pickup in Oakland and San Jose September 7-10, or can be shipped throughout California.
How to order: Pre-order full-size Mooncake Gift Boxes online (by 8/28) via Hotplate for pickup in Oakland or San Jose, or shipping throughout California; order mini mooncakes for pickup or delivery via Pastel.

Koi Palace
Koi Palace

Daly City, Dublin, Milpitas
Another established spot for Cantonese dim sum and seafood also offers gift boxes of seasonal moon cakes. The Luxury Seven Stars Reunion Mooncakes box features a traditional full-size lotus seed paste cake with double egg yolk, surrounded by a circle of colorful mini mooncakes with lava centers like chocolate and ube.
How to order: Pre-order online for national pickup or shipping.

Socola Chocolatier
Socola Chocolatier

Sum
While the Vietnamese American chocolate company started by two sisters had already established itself as an early supplier of Asian-American fine chocolates, the pandemic spurred a Mid-Autumn Festival innovation of mooncake-inspired chocolates. Back this year and we expect that every year, three types of box sets will be available, including the 2022 Mid-Autumn Collection Gift Box that features six types of exquisite chocolates, including Mango Pate de Fruit with fish sauce, a gin Vietnamese floral with dark chocolate ganache and a mixture of chrysanthemum and honey of dark and milk chocolate ganache. The Mooncake Chocolates box actually has tiny pieces of egg yolk in each chocolate, with fillings ranging from lotus seed paste to ube.
How to order: Pre-order the full selection online for shipment on August 30th or September 6th. Pre-order for Bay Area pickup or delivery with a limited menu via Pastel.

Snowskin Moon Cake Making Class at BiteUnite
@biteunitesf

Mission District
Making mooncakes is a laborious but fascinating process. Learn how to make the trendy translucent snow skins alongside friends or family in this mooncake making class hosted by BiteUnite. Each person will end up with a dozen mini moon cakes to take home.
How to order: Book an online class in September for $120.

Sheng Kee Bakery livelihood
Sheng Kee Bakery livelihood

All over the bay area
While SF is notoriously anti-chain, Asian bakery chains know what’s going on and launch their Mid-Autumn Festival wares with practiced precision at their locations. Sheng Kee offers some unusual moon cake flavors like blackberry and lychee. 85 Degree has Taiwanese spherical and Cantonese-style moon cakes, including a sweet and savory Dong-Po flavor, stuffed with walnuts, pork floss, red beans, mochi, and egg yolk. Kee Wah, established in Hong Kong in 1938, has locations in the Bay Area that offer low-sugar, pineapple mooncakes, as well as piglet biscuits made from leftover dough. Online, order from Hong Kong’s Wing Wah, whose moon cakes are popular for their smooth white lotus paste filling. Many family-owned Chinese bakeries also sell their own mooncakes, such as Napoleon Super Bakery and iCafe in Chinatown, and Cherry Blossom Bakery in the Ingleside and Richmond districts.

99 Ranch or almost any asian grocery store

All over the bay area
Don’t discount the old school cakes from Asian grocery stores. They tend to have preservatives if you care about that sort of thing, but they are reliable and often come in pretty tins or gift boxes adorned with detailed portraits of the Change. and, the immortal Moon Lady, or the rabbit in the moon. In addition to the 99 Ranch chain, the Richmond New May Wah Supermarket in the Inner Richmond District is a solid Chinese grocery store, and Costcos in the Bay Area is also a sure bet for moon cakes this time of year. A popular brand to try is Maxim, when available.

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Margot Seeto is a Bay Area freelance writer and contributor to Thrillist.

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