Neglected Piggy in Basket
Whenever Mid-Autumn Lantern (aka Mooncake) Festival comes around, I begin my annual hunt, not for delectable mooncakes but rather, for a childhood favourite snack which for some weird reason is only sold during this same period - yup, I'm talking about the little 'piglet in the basket' ("jyu zai beng" in Cantonese)!
Each of these biscuits is shaped in the form of a 'piglet' - you can just about make out the snout, indented ears, very plump-looking torso, and yes, a little knob at the end denoting the tail! They are usually packaged in oblong bright multi-colored (predominantly red and yellow colors) plastic baskets, though the ones I found the other day were in these really authentic and traditional-looking rattan baskets. The ones in the basket are from the famous Kee-Wah Bakery (from Hong Kong) and the fat-looking one in the foreground is from the other equally famous Hang Heung Bakery (also from HK) - though, I didn't have to make a trip up to HK for them - just pop down to Basement 1 of Great World City (Singapore) where both shops have set up kiosks during this period to market their mooncakes and other snacks.
These 'piglets' are actually made from the same pastry used for the outer shell of the traditional baked mooncakes. While some can be a little dry, there are others which are just the right balance between firm yet moist, making chewing into it a pleasure - especially for some of us who prefer the pastry shell of mooncakes to the lotus paste and egg yolk filling within.
Weird? I blame it on childhood conditioning. My mum never failed to get these for us kids when we were young as they were easy to hold in our hands and munch as we ran around with our little lighted lanterns. Sadly, these little 'piggies' are ever so neglected each year as the attention is focused time and again on the more glamourous mooncake with their variety of fillings - so, here's my post to encourage you to look for that little 'piglet' before it disappears altogether.
Oh, as a last note, personally, I rated the Hang Heung ones better based on my firm yet moist chewing pleasure test!