Mooncakes with a cause — YRI Bakery exquisite mooncakes hand-made by prison inmates

Mid-Autumn Festival is just around the corner. If you are busy looking for mooncakes to celebrate the full moon with your friends and family, I have a recommendation for you. These mooncakes might not be anything fancy—no truffle, no mao shan wang, and neither are they snow-skinned—but they are ones with a cause.

Yri Bakery 3

Back for its 12th year in running, YRI Bakery (previously known as SCORE Bakery) has launched a brand new series of traditional baked mooncakes to welcome Mid Autumn 2020

Yri Bakery 9
Credit – Singapore Prison Service

Starting off as a humble workshop within the prison walls in 1976, YRI Bakery has, today, expanded into a full-fledged industrial bakery wholly owned by Yellow Ribbon Singapore. With the aim to help inmates and ex-offenders rebuild their lives and lower recidivism rate, the bakery’s work program provides inmates with a realistic work environment to practice skills they have learnt.

This, in turn, inculcates positive work ethics, discipline and also assists them in acquiring effective communication skills when they return back to society.

Yri Bakery 10
Credit – Singapore Prison Service

Why not make your Mid-Autumn Festival a meaningful one by indulging in mooncakes baked specially by the inmates themselves? By purchasing these mooncakes you will be showing your support as part of the sales proceeds will go towards the Yellow Ribbon Fund in aid of its beneficiaries.  

Let’s take a look at the flavours, shall we?

Yri Bakery 6

New Beginning (S$38.80) features a box of four regular Baked White Lotus Mooncakes With Melon Seeds. As I’m not particularly a fan of preserved egg yolks, this won my heart in an instant. 

Cutting the mooncake into half, I was surprised by how thin the skin for all the mooncakes were. The traditional skin was baked to a beautiful golden brown, tickling the tastebuds of the traditionalist in me. The white lotus paste was beautifully smooth and not overly sweet. With bits of melon seed randomly scattered in its midst, the textural difference was one I truly enjoyed. 

Yri Bakery 5

My parents, on the other hand, were wolfing down slices of the Baked White Lotus With Double Yolk alongside cups of Chinese tea. Available in a set of four as part of Double Blessings (S$46.80), YRI Bakery’s double yolk mooncake was rich and flavourful. “Some preserved eggs are very oily. This is not,” my dad commented as he went on with another piece.

Yri Bakery 4

If cholesterol from the double egg yolk mooncake is a concern, then opt for the Baked White Lotus with Single Yolk in the box of Blissful Reunion (S$42.80). You will still be able to enjoy the sweet-savoury combination without much guilt!

Yri Bakery 7

How about individually packed bite-sized mooncakes which you can bring out during your lantern-walks? YRI Bakery’s Abundant Life (S$38.80) comprises eight mini mooncakes with an assortment of Chendol, Cempedak, Lychee And White Lotus

Yri Bakery 8

Of the four flavours, Lychee was my favourite. Amidst the slightly sweetened lotus paste were fruity-floral notes from the lychee, giving the mini mooncake a refreshing touch.

On the other hand, Chendol was a bit of a disappointment. This flavour tasted more like pandan kaya—those that we usually get from a packet of kaya bread from the neighbourhood bakery. If only there were whole red beans and green chendol jelly in between to make it a better Chendol mooncake.

Yri Bakery 11
Credit – Singapore Prison Service

These might not be the best mooncakes I’ve had but they are surely the most meaningful ones. In fact, their flavours are not that bad either! This year, instead of getting fancy and overpriced mooncakes, why not go back to the basics and do some good while spreading the spirit of togetherness and reunion?

Date & Time: YRI Bakery Mid Autumn 2020 Mooncakes are now available for order online via Yellow Ribbon Singapore’s Facebook page

Prices: Abundant Life (S$38.80), New Beginning (S$38.80), Blissful Reunion (S$42.80), Double Blessings (S$46.80)

Edgy bistro serving affordable lunch sets in the CBD