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Mooncakes
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Where to buy mooncakes in Los Angeles

Made for Mid-Autumn Festival, these treats are typically seasonal—so don’t sleep on our guide to L.A.’s eight best spots.

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Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributor
Stephanie Breijo
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For those who celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival in Los Angeles, fall doesn’t just mean peak wildfire season, Halloween and apple picking. It also means mooncakes: dense, fluffy pastries stuffed with all kinds of delicious sweet and savory fillings, from salted duck egg yolks to red bean to even fresh pork. Occurring on Tuesday, September 21, this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival also happens to fall the night before autumnal equinox (the official first day of fall.)

Although many regional variations exist across China and parts of Southeast Asia, these wheat pastries are shaped in full moon-esque rounds to symbolize prosperity, harmony and togetherness. Hong Kong and Cantonese-style mooncakes typically have their tops pressed into molds, sometimes with the character for prosperity, while Taiwanese-style mooncakes are rounded on top. In any case, the cake’s overall shape mimics the harvest moon in the evening sky.

In Los Angeles, you can find these sweets pre-packaged in red-and-gold boxes in Asian grocery stores like 99 Ranch and made fresh daily in the city’s best Chinese bakeries on a seasonal basis. In recent years, they’ve become so popular that some places even make them year round. Celebrate the changing seasons with a pack of pastries from one of our top recommended mooncake spots in L.A.

Shop here for quality mooncakes

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Chinatown
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This Chinatown institution is 82 years young and still going strong—just ask the dozens of families placing orders weeks before mooncake season even arrives. Phoenix Bakery may be known for its strawberry birthday cakes, but the Chan family’s multigenerational sweets shop turns into a factory for these seasonal treats every September, cranking out both miniature and large size options, as well as duck egg and non-duck egg varieties. In fact, an entire pastry case gets devoted to them throughout the month. Find them now through the start of October—but pick up a slice of their famed strawberry cake, while you’re there.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • San Gabriel Valley
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This bakery only pops up annually, with one major goal: Provide the SGV with some of the best mooncakes L.A. has ever seen. The family-run operation makes hundreds of cakes by hand daily, and offers pickup and day-of perusal for sweet and savory options alike. Flavors range from the traditional—such as red bean or mung bean filling—to more uncommon combos, like the scallop and mixed nut mooncakes. Because this shop only sticks around for a few weeks of the year, be sure to call 626-280-2216 in advance to make sure they’re still open, and if they are, stop by between 8am–3pm. Note: They now take cash and Venmo, and this year they plan to remain open through the end of September.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • San Gabriel Valley
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Famous for its mooncakes, Kee Wah Bakery is a prime destination for those wanting to stock up on the traditional treats. An international and highly respected chain, this Hong Kong-founded bakery offers a hefty retail selection in addition to making their own mooncakes year-round. For the local fans, the goods come in mini or regular sizes, sold individually or in packs of four, each cake pressed into an intricate mold. Kee Wah’s cakes can be a bit pricier than the rest, but it’s hard to argue with world-class quality. During Mid-Autumn, be on the lookout for limited-run mooncake merch: tote bags, mini lanterns, gift sets and other goods to make the season last all year long, in addition to selections made with low sugar, mixed nuts, ham and beyond.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • San Gabriel Valley
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Taipei’s sweets shop is now an international mega-chain, and in addition to reaching Australia, China and parts of the U.S., they’ve just about conquered L.A. with more than 10 locations in the area (and even more as you head into Orange County). During the season, the bakery offers both Taiwanese and Cantonese styles of mooncake—the former in a flakier dough in dome-shaped form, and the latter, in a thicker and more dense casing that’s shaped more or less like a branded puck. Buy them à la carte or order sets, which include intriguing flavors like walnut with dates and mochi.

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  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Torrance

This local bakery began by specializing in Taiwanese bread, and over the last few decades grew to offer a range of classic Asian pastries made using French technique. Outposts include Alhambra, Arcadia, Temple City and Torrance, to name a few—plus an outlier in Honolulu—and all offer boba, fanciful cakes and almond tarts, among other treats. But it’s during mooncake season when JJ’s really shines, offering both Taiwanese and Cantonese varieties. These shops sell savory and sweet versions of the Taiwanese take on the cake, and small and large Cantonese sizes. Can’t decide? Opt for the 15-piece variety box, which includes every single mooncake flavor they make—including traditional flavors like egg yolk red bean and egg yolk lotus.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • San Gabriel Valley
  • price 1 of 4

San Gabriel’s Sunny Bakery may make regular mooncakes, but the show-stopper is the snow skin durian mooncake, which comes wrapped in a translucent, Japanese mochi-like skin. At $8 a pop, or slightly more if you want cakes with salted egg yolk, they’re not the cheapest mooncakes around, but their unique take on the divisive, pungent fruit is worth the splurge for both durian lovers and open-minded eaters alike. They also offer lotus, mixed nut and coconut flavored mooncakes, all pressed into a simple lotus mold.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Alhambra
  • price 1 of 4

Famous across the Southland for their shengjianbao, this casual, cash-only takeout spot with two locations in Monterey Park and Alhambra also makes savory Suzhou-style mooncakes year round. Unlike their sweeter counterparts sold elsewhere, these mooncakes filled with ground pork are best eaten warm and fresh out of the wok. Sold individually ($3.50) or in packs of eight ($25), Kang Kang’s hefty mooncakes have a flaky, almost puff pastry-like texture. Paired with the piping hot pork inside, they’re perfect with a cup of oolong tea.

  • Restaurants
  • Bakeries
  • Chinatown
  • price 1 of 4

This small family-owned bakery in Chinatown offers both Cantonese-style wheat-pastry mooncakes and snow skin mooncakes with a mochi-like texture through the end of September. Ranging from $24 (snow skin) to $50 (Cantonese-style) for each pack of four, both types of mooncakes can be made with combination mixed nut and lap cheong, or Chinese sausage, as well as lotus seed and mung bean. Only the Cantonese-style mooncakes come in red bean and taro, however.

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