12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

By Quynh Mai, Bich Phuong, Van Khanh   September 28, 2023 | 01:21 am PT
Vietnam's Mid-Autumn Festival is steeped in tradition, with mooncakes at its core, savored and shared as cherished gifts. Join us as we explore 12 iconic, decades-old mooncake shops.
12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Duc Binh mooncake shop at number 104 Le Hong Phong Street, Tuyen Quang City of the eponymous northern province stands as a testament to time, tracing its roots back to the 1930s. This business, owned by Bui Van Thanh and Nguyen Kim Dung, offers two varieties of mooncakes: traditional mooncake and sticky rice mooncake. These creations are filled with a medley of ingredients, including mixed nuts, fruits, and cooked meats, or alternatively, green beans.

Most of the processes remain handcrafted, with the filling preparation being the most time-consuming. A blend of lard, char siu, pumpkin seeds, melon seeds, sesame, and lemon leaves is mixed with sugar water to achieve the consistency. These mixtures are then shaped into round forms, wrapped in crust, and baked into a glorious golden cake.

Each mooncake varies between VND50,000 ($4) and VND100,000 ($8), depending on the weight.

Photo courtesy of Duc Binh Mooncake

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Quang Hung Long confectionery store was opened when Hoang Quyen relocated his family from Hanoi to Phu Tho before 1930. In the following years, his descendants branched out to establish their own bakeries.

Particularly noteworthy is the venture of Ta Quyet, the son-in-law of Hoang Quyen, who established a confectionery production facility bearing his own name at 73 Nguyen Khuyen Street, Au Co Ward, Phu Tho Town of Phu Tho Province. This establishment stands as one of Phu Tho's top-tier mooncake shops, operating consistently throughout the year.

Their mooncakes feature a medley of flavors, including grilled chicken, salted eggs, Chinese sausage, ham, red beans, pandan leaves, taro, green tea, and even durian. The shop also offers grapefruit-flavored vegetarian mooncakes, along with banh cha (meat-roll-shaped snack), and peanut candy.

Photo courtesy of the Phu Tho Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Bao Phuong, with nearly seven decades of expertise, is a renowned mooncake brand in Hanoi. Founded by Pham Vi Bao in 1954 on Thuy Khue Street, Tay Ho District, this establishment’s descendants have since opened a second location. The sight of eager customers queuing up to purchase mooncakes is a spectacle that can be exclusively seen at the original shop at 183 Thuy Khue Street.

Bao Phuong’s mooncakes feature a blend of fillings, from the traditional mixed nuts with fruits and cooked meat to green beans, Chinese sausage, ham, salted eggs, melon seeds and young green rice. Prices for these treats range from VND45,000 ($1.80) to VND80,000 ($4).

Photo courtesy of Bao Phuong Mooncake Facility I

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Dong Phuong at 172 Cau Dat Street, Ngo Quyen District, Hai Phong City has stood for over 70 years.

The shop combines modern technology and machinery with time-honored baking recipes to create their famous mooncakes. Characterized by their thin crust and balanced fillings, Dong Phuong cakes are beloved for their subtle sweetness, fragrant lemon leaves, and the rich essence of their ingredients.

In addition to traditional fillings, the shop incorporates luxurious ingredients such as abalone, swallow's nest, and fish fin. These mooncakes are available in various sizes, with the largest weighing 3 kilograms. Prices range from VND60,000 ($2.40) to VND2.3 million ($94).

Photo courtesy of Dong Phuong Bakery

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Quang Hung, at 117 Nguyen Trai Street, Nam Dinh City, has honed its mooncake craftsmanship for nearly half a century, offering customers baked mooncakes and sticky rice mooncakes with different types of fillings. A Quang Hung's mooncake combines the savory essence of char siu, the sweetness of candied winter melon, the rich flavor of sugar-marinated lard, and the aromatic notes of sesame and lemon leaves.

According to Luu Thi Ngoc, the shop's owner, the facility sells approximately 4,000 mooncakes daily in the lead-up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, requiring the effort of nearly 50 workers. These mooncakes are priced from VND40,000 ($1.60) to VND100,000 ($4).

Photo courtesy of Quang Hung Mooncake

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Duc Nghiem, at 448 Tran Phu Street, Ba Dinh District, Thanh Hoa City, has a tradition spanning nearly four decades in the art of baking mooncakes. The shop, now passed down through two generations, offers mooncakes with a classic profile: thin, golden crusts housing a filling enriched with sugar-marinated lard.

In addition to traditional mooncakes, Duc Nghiem produces sticky rice mooncakes that are lightly sweetened and filled with lotus seeds, candied winter melon, and lemon leaves. All of the mooncakes contain no preservatives and are intended to be consumed within 7-10 days. Prices start at VND50,000.

Photo courtesy of Duc Nghiem Cake

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Phuc Hung Bakery, at 29 Tran Huy Lieu Street, Phu Hoa Ward, Hue City, boasts a time-honored legacy of more than two decades.

"During the lead-up to the Mid-Autumn Festival, we produce more than 1,000 cakes daily," Ho Thi Huyen Suong, the owner, said.

The fillings for Phuc Hung mooncakes include familiar ingredients such as green beans, taro, lotus seeds, Chinese sausage, ham, and roasted chicken. The bakery adheres to tradition, employing wooden molds to shape their creations.

The mooncakes are priced between VND37,000 ($1.50) and VND50,000 ($2) for regular options, while those with premium fillings cost VND140,000 (500 grams) and VND220,000 (one kilogram).

Photo courtesy of Phuc Hung Mooncake

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Nhu Lan Bakery, at 50 and 64-66-68 Ham Nghi Street in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, is famous for its bread and pork rolls, and it also offers mooncakes during the Mid-Autumn Festival. The store's traditional mooncakes have been a staple for locals for more than 50 years.

In addition to traditional varieties, the shop offers mooncakes filled with bird's nest, fish fin, roasted chicken with mixed nuts, and durian. These mooncakes are priced between VND75,000 ($3) and VND265,000 ($11).

A month prior to the Mid-Autumn Festival, the shop begins offering a wide variety of mooncakes. As the full moon day approaches, the customer influx intensifies, resulting in long queues during the peak hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Dong Khanh mooncakes, with over seven decades of history, have become a favorite among locals in Tan Buu Commune, Ben Luc District, Long An Province that borders HCMC.

Besides traditional mooncakes, the shop offers versatile cakes, vegetarian options, and whimsical designs to cater to diverse tastes.

Photo courtesy of Dong Khanh Golden Rice Flower Mooncake

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Nearby in the Mekong Delta, Vinh Long Province is home to the Vinh Xuong traditional cake production facility, which has been in business for over a century. Initially, the shop only offered mooncakes but has since expanded its items to include pia cakes, filled with green beans, taro, and salted eggs, as well as almond cakes.

The ham-roasted chicken mooncake is the standout speciality at this establishment, known for its popularity. These mooncakes come in four size options and are crafted using key ingredients such as sugar, flour, lard, lotus seeds, sesame, peach seeds, Chinese sausage, chicken, and salted duck eggs.

Photo courtesy of Vinh Xuong Bakery

12 long-lasting mooncake shops: a culinary tour from north to south

Van Hoa Lac, at 299 Vo Thi Sau Street, Long Tan Quarter, Long Dien Town, Long Dien District, Ba Ria - Vung Tau Province, HCMC's beach neighbor, is a bakery with almost five decades of experience.

The cake’s crust, akin to pia cakes, is handcrafted and remains true to its original production methods, recipes, and flavors passed down through three generations.

The shop maintains a unique schedule of alternating workdays to ensure the freshness and quality of their cakes. In addition to mooncakes with mixed ingredients, roasted chicken, and taro, they also offer options for vegetarian customers.

A standout item is the mixed cake, which weighs approximately 1.2 kg and contains an impressive 14 salted eggs. Additionally, the shop offers cakes with varying egg quantities, ranging from 1 to 3 eggs, 6 eggs, 10 eggs, or 12 eggs.

Cakes with three eggs or fewer are sold in sets of four, while those with six eggs or more are sold individually, starting at a price of VND80,000 ($3.20) per piece. It is worth noting that these cakes are reported to be preservative-free and can be enjoyed within a ten-day period.

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