With the Mid-Autumn Festival just around the corner, pretty much the entire Chinese population is gearing up for fun family reunions, delicious homemade food and, of course, the consumption of lots (and lots) of mooncakes. Although for most of us expats it's unlikely that we'll be able partake in our own family festivities (unless you're planning to fly home), we can at least enjoy the mooncake part of the holiday, right? Granted, for the uninitiated, stepping into a market filled with wall-to-wall mooncake displays can be a bit overwhelming. The endless varieties of mooncakes, and the significantly different pricing schemes is enough to make even the most calm and collected of expat's head hurt. Fear not, as we've developed a handy "how to" guide for buying the right mooncake in Shenzhen, that won't break the bank (and won't make you sick).
1) Only buy your mooncake from a store you trust
The most important thing to consider when purchasing mooncakes, is where you're buying it from. Suffice it to say, you're less likely to get sick off of a mooncake purchased from a major chain than you are from the hole-in-the-wall shop up the street. Start by looking over the package to make sure that it has the "quality safety" seal on it (it looks like a blue balloon with a white "s" inside and will say "质量安全" in blue lettering underneath). And if your Chinese is up to snuff, check to make sure that the mooncake isn't filled with a ridiculous amount of preservatives. If you are still "Chinese character impaired", a quick check of the production date (生产日期) and shelf life (保质期) will suffice. It should be pretty obvious that you shouldn't buy expired mooncake (or anything else for that matter).
2) Choose a well-known brand
Going hand-in-hand with the above point, make sure that you only buy mooncakes from a trusted brand that your Chinese friends have heard of. Conversely, avoid at all costs the mooncakes hawked by small vendors on the street and at fairgrounds and other events, as—surprise, surprise—their products are oftentimes fake. The easiest way to discern a fake mooncake from a real one, is by checking the box to see if it's suffering from at least one of the "three no's": no product plant name, no production plant address, no production health permit code.
3) Consider the health conditions of those who will be eating the mooncake
Culturally relevant and delicious as they may be, mooncakes are high-sugar, high-fat snacks, nonetheless. Before you buy 10 dozen mooncakes, ensure that you're not going to be force-feeding them to people with chronic health problems like ulcers, gastritis, cholelithiasis, elevated blood pressure, coronary heart disease etc. Elect to purchase some sugar-free (无糖月饼) varieties of mooncake for them instead.
4) Keep your receipts
Even if you purchased your mooncakes from a trusted source, food quality problems do still occur from time to time. Be sure to keep your receipts, so if you do encounter such problems (most commonly diarrhea), you can properly file your complaint with the Shenzhen Market Supervision Administration (Tel: 12315).
5) Preserving "freshness"
According to experts (yes, there are mooncake experts in China), fresh mooncake is best consumed 5-7 days from when it was baked. Ask the seller how best to store the mooncake when you're picking them up. As for store-bought brands that are heavy in preservatives, they no doubt will last longer, although you'll still want to pay attention to their expiration date.
Listed below is the contact information for several mooncake businesses in Shenzhen that we recommend. Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
Shenzhen Anqi Foods, LLC(深圳安琪食品有限公司)View In Map
Add: Anqi Building, 1038 Taibai Lu, Luohu District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 3682 4593; 134 1852 8460
Price: 120-400 RMB per box
Getting there: take bus No. 29, 52, 59, 64, 372, b696, n6 to Caishijie Jiayuan (彩世界家园站)
Shenzhen Fujin Foods, LLC (深圳富锦食品工业有限责任公司)View In Map
Add: 6 Dong Yi Industrial Zone, Shangtang Zhonghuan Lu, Minzhi Jie, Bao'an District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 8884 5559
Price: 80-220 RMB per box (free home-delivery within Shenzhen for order over 1,000 RMB)
Getting there: take bus No. 730 to Shangtang Cunwei (上塘村委站)
Huamei Moon Cake Shenzhen Direct Purchase Office (华美月饼深圳直销团购部)View In Map
Add: 6/F, Fulong Building, Bantian Jiedao, Jiuding Huangjihua Lu, Longgang District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 3685 3648; 8255 5900; 139 2652 1927
Price: 40-420 RMB per box
Getting there: take bus No. 982b to Longbi Lukou (龙壁路口站)
Hong Kong Ronghua Mooncake Shenzhen Sales (香港荣华月饼深圳销售处)View In Map
Add: B1, CITIC City Plaza, 1095 Nanzhong Lu, Futian District, Shenzhen
Tel: 755 2594 2758
Price: 200-500 RMB per box
Getting there: take bus No. 14, 62, 63, 214, 302, 335, 377, m383 to CITIC City Plaza (中信城市广场站)
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Keywords: Mooncake in Shenzhen Shenzhen Mid-Autumn Festival guide to buying mooncake
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