We are always excited to receive mooncakes, but this year had us appreciating them way more, for we went on a very special and exclusive tour that heightened our admiration for the Chinese treasure. It is not every day that you get to visit a mooncake factory, so we were more than thrilled when we had the opportunity to visit Maxim’s factory to learn more about the production of their world class mooncakes.
From the meticulous procedures to ensure that the mooncakes are produced in a safe and clean environment to seeing and tasting the quality ingredients that go inside each mooncake, smelling the strong lotus paste upon stepping in the production room, witnessing the number of staff at their respective stations, and the intricate packaging process, it was such an eye-opening experience and insightful visit to witness the making of those famous Maxim’s mooncakes (known as Mei-Xin Mooncakes outside Hong Kong).
We will take you through on a behind-the-scenes journey of Maxim’s Mooncakes Factory, and how their award-winning mooncakes are being produced. And of course, no Mid-autumn festival is complete without a box or two of them.
SAFETY MEASUREMENTS AND PROCEDURES TO ENSURE A CLEAN AND SAFE PRODUCTION ENVIRONMENT
It is a very thorough process, but that only means every Maxim’s mooncake is clean and safe for consumption. Every person who enters the plant has to be clothed in hygiene wear – caps to hold every strand of hair, full-length robes and gloves, surgical masks and even shoes wrappers. Hands are to be washed and sanitized after stepping in to the disinfecting rooms where every speck of dust will be blown off.
THE MAKING OF MOONCAKES
Now, this is a very amazing process. The assembly lines alone are jaw-dropping enough, and we never knew there could be so many people behind the making. There is the first group of workers who will scoop the fresh lotus paste for piping, and the second who will handle the machines that cut the mooncake into two to put the egg yolks in.
Another group of workers are in-charge of the various molds that will shape the mooncakes, and this is one complicated step as the differentiation process is no mean feat. There are so many variations – no yolk, single yolk, double yolk, white lotus paste, lotus paste… and the list goes on.
The baking process is another major set-up with multiple assembly lines. The batches of mooncakes are sent to bake multiple times. The first will be a 5-minute process to hold the shape of the mooncakes, and another group of workers will be at the end of the assembly line to dust the mooncakes with egg yolk before sending them to the second assembly line to bake for another 25 minutes. The third group of workers will then receive the baked goodies, and send them to the cooling room, and the process of cooling down takes another 30-40 minutes.
WRAPPING THEM UP
Over at the packing room, the assembly lines involve more technology. The mooncakes are packed in plastic containers, then sealed individually. And every single packet is then subjected to another hygiene test – a specialized machine is created to detect metal and foreign objects that might have gone in to the mooncakes during the production process. Stained ones will be discarded on the spot, while the good ones that passed will be stamped with expiry dates.
The final step is to pack the mooncakes into their respective boxes, and the baked goodies are good to be dispatched for sale for all discerning consumers.
MAXIM’S MOONCAKES: AWARD-WINNING MOONCAKES
We did a tasting on the many kinds of Maxim’s mooncakes, and boy, were we spoiled silly with all the goodness! From traditional baked ones to snow-skin variations, the myriad of flavours is such a joy to behold and taste. It is little wonder Maxim’s mooncakes are so popular – with such strict quality control, they promise nothing but the most comforting tastes that every connoisseur will agree with.
If you are a fan of traditional mooncakes, there is your usual white lotus paste with different number of egg yolks. They are smooth with an even sweetness level that you will not get sick of, and the egg yolks are simply fragrant. For something different, go for the red bean paste mooncake, mixed nuts mooncake, or egg custard mooncake.
The more adventurous ones will love their range of Snowy mooncake series, which are available in a wide variety of flavours including fruit jams, chocolate, and crunchy pearls.
Maxim’s Mooncakes is available at all Maxim’s Cakes outlets in Hong Kong, as well as 80 countries worldwide, including Singapore. Their consistency and popularity over the decades have proven that their mooncakes can indeed stand the test of time; they never go out of trend no matter how many Mid-autumn festivals have passed. And we are indeed fond of them.
This feature is brought to you by Maxim’s Group, the leading F&B group with 70 brands, and 840 outlets in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam. Read our guide on the best of Maxim’s Group dining concepts in Hong Kong.