9 of the Best Bakeries to Buy Mooncake Around the U.S.

Pick up traditional and creative spins on the indulgent Mid-Autumn Festival treat.

August 15, 2022
By: Patty Lee

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Kee Wah

Photo courtesy of Kee Wah

Celebrated on the 15th day of the eighth month on the lunar calendar, the Mid-Autumn Festival pays homage to the moon when it’s thought to be at its biggest and brightest. Because it happens around the time of the autumn harvest, the holiday is a bountiful one, celebrated by gathering with family and sharing a special meal. The Mid-Autumn Festival is recognized by many East and Southeast Asian cultures and goes by many names: Zhongqiu Jie in Chinese, Chuseok in Korean, Tết Trung Thu in Vietnamese. Each observes the holiday with its own customs and foods — the Chinese make mooncakes, an indulgent pastry that traditionally contains a sweet lotus seed filling and egg yolks to symbolize the moon. Boxes of mooncakes often appear at Asian supermarkets in the weeks leading up to the festival, but many bakeries often make their own and in recent years, have started to riff on the autumn treat in endlessly creative ways.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Fay Da

Photo courtesy of Fay Da

Opened by baker Han Chou, this iconic Chinatown bakery has been a New York City staple since 1991, turning out a variety of traditional baked goods such as pineapple buns and egg tarts. Every fall, stacks of boxes filled with housemade mooncakes appear at Fay Da locations. Choose from large- or mini-sized collections of golden Cantonese-style mooncakes with traditional fillings like white lotus egg yolk, red bean and jujube-walnut or opt for the more colorful modern lava mooncakes in egg custard, orange, matcha and durian. Each box features original artwork of Chang’e, the Chinese goddess of the moon, drawn by artist ZhaoLuna.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Miss Moon

Photo courtesy of Miss Moon

Eat Domi first launched mooncakes in 2021 and it was such a hit that owners Joe Cheng Reed and Evelyn Ling decided to spin off their seasonal special into a brand-new line called Miss Moon. The duo — both pastry chefs with fine-dining backgrounds – imbue the autumn treat with their signature East-meets-West flair. Instead of a traditional soft and chewy crust, their pastel-hued mooncakes are made of shortbread encasing a black sesame, jujube, red lotus or red bean filling, available as a set or individually.

Photo by: MKK/Photo courtesy of Sheng Kee Bakery

MKK/Photo courtesy of Sheng Kee Bakery

With an extensive assortment that spans classic to contemporary, this Bay Area bakery truly has a mooncake for every taste. Established in 1948 by the Kao family, the Taiwanese bakery made its way to San Francisco when the family immigrated to the U.S., opening its first U.S. location in 1981. They brought with them the Mid-Autumn tradition of mooncakes and Sheng Kee has been a popular destination for the fall pastries ever since. Choose from traditional flavors like lotus paste or dates wrapped in a rich golden crust or colorful fruit or custard mooncakes that have become trendy as of late. True to its Taiwanese roots, a handful of specialties from the island nation are also available: buttery shortbread pineapple cakes, flat flaky sun cakes and more.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Mee Sum

Photo courtesy of Mee Sum

This beloved Seattle bakery has been a family-run business since 1983, when Chuen Shek Yee and Wai Quon Yee teamed up with daughter and son-in-law Melissa and Jack Fong to open its original Pike Place outpost. A University District cafe made its debut in 2007 and both serve as pick-up locations for fresh preservative-free mooncakes. The glossy tender pastries come filled with wintermelon, red bean or lotus seed; the latter two also include double egg yolks, which symbolize the full moon.

Photo by: Photo courtesy of Kee Wah

Photo courtesy of Kee Wah

What started as a neighborhood grocery store in Hong Kong has become one of the most recognizable mooncake purveyors in Asia and beyond. Wong Yip Wing started Kee Wah in 1938, but didn’t start making the traditional Chinese pastries it’s now known for until World War II was over. Today, the family-operated business — with stateside locations in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas — continues to turn out its signature “Supreme” mooncakes in a bounty of flavors: white lotus seed, mixed nuts, pineapple paste, fruit yogurt custard, to name just a few. The sets are all beautifully packaged, with some in traditional metal tins and others in more contemporary boxes.

The oldest bakery in Chicago’s Chinatown, Chiu Quon still uses the same recipes and techniques that were brought over from Hong Kong by its owner, who opened the spot in 1986. Siblings Matthew and Joyce Chiu have carried the traditions on and continue to serve the 100-plus baked goods, dim sum and drinks that make up the extensive menu. Though they fly off the shelves far more quickly in the fall, the mooncakes here are available year-round so you can indulge any of the three flavors (lotus seed, red bean and wintermelon) outside of the holiday.

The James Beard recognized bakery has been a part of the NOLA restaurant community since 1982, when Vietnamese immigrants De and Huong Tran started producing baked goods out of Dong Phuong Restaurant, then owned by De’s mom. Now run by the Trans’ daughter Linh Tran Garza, Dong Phuong is known for year-round staples like French bread (used to make its exceptional banh mi) and seasonal specials such as king cake and mooncakes. Choose from three varieties: golden mooncakes with various fillings (coconut, red bean) and yolks, snowskin mooncakes in mung bean, white lotus or mixed nuts, and Vietnamese pia mooncakes in mung bean, mixed nuts and durian.

If the Celsius in its name didn’t already give it away, this chain originated in Asia (specifically, Taiwan) and has locations all around the world, including California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada and Texas. Inspired by a visit to a five-star hotel cafe, Cheng-Hsueh Wu started 85 C — his preferred coffee temperature — as a way to offer premium drinks and baked goods, but at more affordable prices. For the Mid-Autumn festival, the cafe offers three gift boxes of mooncakes, all made with premium butter and Taiwanese egg yolks: one Cantonese-style, one Taiwanese-style and one mixed set of both. Its exclusive Taiwanese dong-po mooncake is the only savory of the bunch, made with spicy pork sung, mochi, red bean paste, walnuts and egg yolk with an Asiago cheese topping.

Tucked inside Eden Center, a shopping area in Falls Church, Virginia that’s home to many Vietnamese American restaurants and grocery stores, this bakery turns out a selection of sweet and savory goods, including housemade mooncakes. They’re available in an array of flavors, both in the traditional golden baked mooncakes or the delicate snowskin ones. Expect fillings made from jujube, lotus seed, pandan, coconut and more.

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