My version of Djoko clearly does!
What an unusual sight, this can only happen in Asia. It’s all a bit weird though, the M&M on the left is holding a hedgehog and the one on the right is holding a durian…. who do you think got the better deal?
We went to buy fruits at Ah Tong’s the other day. His shop is discreetly tucked away in the back alley behind the Farrer Road Market. He’s been selling fruit since he took over his father’s stall in Cuppage market. i remember going there with my mother as a small kid, bringing my own shopping basket (no plastic bags back then – we used carton boxes and our own marketing baskets), it was funny because Ah Tong would humour me by putting a total of 4 apples into my little basket which would fill it to the brim. Anyway, Ah Tong was a young man then but now has grown up kids of his own. It remains unclear whether they will stay in their father’s trade.
My dad loves to buy the exotic fruit he imports from certain countries and dealers. Weird shaped passion fruit, a sunshine yellow dragon fruit from Ecuador, expensive overly ripened persimmons from Japan and all sorts of interesting fruits to see, depending on the season.
One day when we were there to buy our usual fruit supplies for the week, Ah Tong said he had some spectacularly good Mau Sang Wang Durians from Malaysia. There is no better way, in my opinion, to ply the food trade then to allow people to sample a taste of great quality fruit. If you’re a fruit fanatic like we are of durian, it is impossible to resist. Ah Tong offered to open a durian on the spot for us to try. Would or could we say no? No way!!
The durian was delicious and I think each of us ate 3-4 seeds just standing there. We polished off the entire durian. Sale guaranteed. My dad bought all 6 in the basket and asked him to put them all in plastic containers so that we can freeze them at home for later consumption.
These Mau Sang Wangs don’t come cheap, they’re about SGD 15 -20 per kilo, but that’s probably the going rate in Singapore.
At Paragon Shopping Centre in Singapore along Orchard Road, the basement is a hive of activity. The supermarket is crowded and many of the eateries had queues. Spotted 2 durian items which I thought you might like to know are available in the heart of the shopping district of Singapore.
Malaysian Durians are still available in this Cold Storage (not every one stocks them), there is no smell ( I guess they are well chilled) and it’s on special offer now. It’s not peak durian season at the moment, so maybe these aren’t the absolute best, but if you have to have it, then it’s a great bargain.
How about Durian Fudge? I was thinking about trying it but the consideration of the calories I’ve just piled on kind of got in the way. It also looked kind of gelatinous and I think if you can afford to buy fresh durians, that would win hands down anytime. Having said that, Subway Niche does do reliable cookies and cakes. The pandan chiffon, traditional butter cakes and malay kuehs are not too sweet and very tasty.
In Asia, we have a dessert that is called “dou hua”, literally translated as bean flower. Typically its the juice of the soyabean which is extracted and curdled to form a smooth, light substance resembling a wobbly mix between jello and custard. Eaten with a bit of sugary syrup, this dessert is popular for breakfast and throughout the day and all hours of the night (there are 24 hour joints selling this too).
Now comes the wacky part. For years I have only known this dessert to have one flavor, but now to get ahead, new varieties are being offered as novelty for diners. I found this dessert sign in Singapore off Sixth Avenue along Anamalai Avenue at the food stalls. I went there to buy some noodles and popiah for home and spotted this very strange dessert above the advertisement for a steamboat.
I don’t think I’m a big fan of durian dou hua, not that interested to try it because it’s probably just using the essence and flavoring which always tastes pretty fake to me. But if you’d like to try it while in Singapore (it’s not far from Durian Lingers), then I’ve included a little map here for you to find it.
YES!! And a sink to wash your hands, and then a tissue to dry your hands after.
What better way to remind yourself then having a tissue box with a durian on it? It’s funny that the other fruits featured are bananas, pineapples and mangosteen. Maybe the next edition will have duku, cempadak, jambu and watermelon. Not quite the same textures I guess…
You can find a durian shop at Terminal 3, near the Sky Train.
I was on my way to Egypt via SQ a few weeks ago and had to transit through terminals at Changi Airport. It’s quite a nicely designed little place, very clean with no smells but bright lighting with the soothing pastel colors and a shape of a tree on its pillar. Imagine my surprise when I found a little shop selling durian products at the airport. Called “Durian Mpire” by the 717 trading company (well known in Singapore for their durian stall), this shop doesn’t actually sell the real thing but all the derivatives and processed products of durian.
Let me show you what I mean.
Well, what I went for in the end was the Durian Mini Mooncakes, I decided to buy some to take for our friends who have probably never heard of durian or mooncakes let alone tasted a durian mooncake. A box of nine sets you back about SGD 40 so it ain’t cheap but they do come in a nice tin box and the staff offer to wrap it in a special sealed plastic shrink wrap so that there is no smell. They seemed confident about it lasting more than 12 hours but I have to say that I would not recommend this to anyone. Anyway this is a seasonal offering, only during the mooncake festival. Otherwise its just the other pastries probably, which do not smell quite as much.
Now this was kind of funny, they had an extra signboard out front to advertise the “fresher” offerings like a hot durian pancake, a durian smoothie and durian waffles (not available according to the poster). I didn’t see any seating areas near the shop and was wondering how one would sit and enjoy the snacks while hot… and the durian smoothie seemed like a killer item to drink at the airport when they don’t really want you stinking up the plane or service areas!
And here is the story of how the company got started. I think you’ll find the owner’s motto quite amusing….
Looks like Durian ice cream is now all the rage, with shops in Singapore even distinguishing between D24 and Mau Sang Wang. I wonder when we’re going to get all the flavors of durian, can you imagine an all durian ice cream shop, serving from Ang Hae to D101 to XO? That’ll be funny!
Anyway, Udders ice cream cafe is in Upper Bukit Timah and very much a student hang out joint.
The owner is a teacher (or former teacher, not sure) so that’s pretty self explanatory how the clients came to know about it. I give it a 2/5 for ambience and similarly for the taste of the ice-cream which I didn’t think was that fantastic. Scoop is more my type of thing.
Anyway some pictures here and if you’re in a desperate fix for ice cream while in the area then I guess that’s the place to hit.
It was about a month ago that Petr started corresponding with me about his interest in the durian t-shirt. We got ourselves organized and Petr asked me to get 2 of them for him. I admit that I was very anxious about sizes and as I had no idea about Petr’s upper body dimensions, it was all going to be a bit of a guess. In addition to my concerns, the Museum Shop had very few left and in limited sizes (it’s running out everyone!!) and I suppose many of our blog readers or durian fans in Singapore/Malaysia have headed over there to get their own.
Anyway, I managed to secure the very last men’s medium and one men’s large size t-shirt for Petr. The T-shirts come in quite fitting cuts, so I could see on the mannequin that even I could wear a medium (although it might be a bit loose on me), so I thought Petr should have an “L” size as I expect him to be taller than me and probably more muscular!
He sent me this photo to share with everyone. Petr, I think the t-shirt fits you perfectly! Enjoy wearing it and please share the durian biology with everyone in Denmark! It fits you perfectly
Museum shop update: No more sizes for women, only men’s t-shirts available in Large or X-Large. According to the shop staff, no intention to re-print anymore once they run out….
SW and I had about 90 minutes and decided to use it to walk around the Marina Bay. We started off by meandering from the Esplanade (the Big Durian roof) round to the DNA bridge and down onto the board walk by MBS. It was a cloudy day and after a quick purchase of soda water at the 7-eleven, proceeded with our onward stroll towards Collyer Quay and round to the Fullerton waterside restaurants.
As we negotiated the very designer and tricky staircase downwards toward the pavement leading to the connector back to the Esplanade (sorry if this sounds convoluted but if you’ve been there, you’ll know exactly what I mean), I turned and a very bright and cheerful signboard caught my eye.
Aha blinking lights which remind me of a fairground and a very colorfully designed logo which I guess appeals to women and children alike. I had to take a closer look to see what sort of product range they were offering.
Well lo and behold, fancy seeing the special flavor featured on top of the menu – DURIAN!!
At more than twice the price of the standard fruity sorbets, the Mao Shan Wang gets premium position. Even the D24 standard variety of durian costs 20% less but still twice that of the sorbets.
Above the display counter there was this promo leaflet. Looking at it, you can tell their intended tourist target (it’s not in Dutch, French of German).
Looking at the freezer display, I asked where the durian flavored lollies were located (none in sight). The attendant told me: ” Oh, we keep the durian lollies separately in the freezer back here because the smell is so strong!”
I said “show me” just to test that they really had it in stock. He pulled out a box containing the durian lollies and I didn’t want them to defrost so I indicated that I believed him and he could return them to their freezing chamber. But I forgot to ask him if it was the MSW or the D24. Well, benefit of the doubt, I suppose they should have both.
One of the greatest consternations I have about air travel is how the airlines always prohibit durians on flights. It’s kind of annoying because the whole point of checking in is that the cabin doesn’t smell but I suppose they are just paranoid about the luggage bins picking up the scent. I’ve heard of a durian seller in Goh Tong Jaya (Genting Highlands) who sells his durians in triple sealed vacuum plastic boxes and bags for clients who want to pick them up and take them straight onto a plane. He’s got a very good crowd of clients who visit the casinos and spend their money on durians, then head straight for the airport and bring them back to their home country (usually HK or Indonesia). I’ve heard that this does not present any real issues on check-in because the seal is tight and not a whiff escapes.
Well, I haven’t got a vacuum sealer machine (maybe I should invest in one soon) but I thought I’d share my experience of packing durians for a flight because SW made a special request for his friend JS’s wife TT who is also a fellow durian lover. Since we were going to their house for dinner, SW thought it would make a very meaningful and unique gift (which it really is I guess…). Here goes:
What to prepare
Plastic bag (clean)
Clean damp cloth
Buy the durians preferably a day before travel, make sure that you tell the durian seller you want them ripening only the day after your purchase to ensure that they stay fresh and firm (not wet and soggy).
Then take off the lid and insert a piece of paper towel to absorb any condensation which could happen with temperature changes.
Then put the lid back on and give the box a wipe with a clean, damp cloth and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water (this is a very important step to remove durian residues which durian seller’s hands may leave on the box!). The next step would be to create a seal for the container. I chose to do this with some broad masking tape.
I have both broad and thin masking tape and of different materials, one which is more like a paper tape and easily torn just with your hands, and a more plastic-ky tape which requires a pair of scissors to cut the tape neatly.
I don’t know if it makes a difference but I think putting the broad plastic tape might be better.
After taping all four sides (try to make the tape contiguous), I then proceeded to wrap the sealed box with cling film twice over, using the cling film lengthways over and around the container. Then I sealed the cling filmed box with another round of masking tape which made it look something like this…
I still wasn’t quite convinced this would be enough to get me through, so I brought out some aluminium foil to deflect any potential scanners (or maybe eyeballs) which could confirm the contents.
And I sealed the edges of the foil with more masking tape. Do you think this is overdoing it?
Satisfied? Not really. I decided one more layer with an added smell/ humidity absorber would be good. I chose to use sodium bicarbonate* (or baking soda), lightly sprinkled onto each box which I subsequently wrapped in another final plastic bag.
Now I was finally satisfied. I put the packaged durians in the fridge overnight to chill them down and packed them in my luggage with some dish towels and an ice pack to keep them cool for my 6-8 hour journey and doused by luggage with some nice perfume (I recommend Guerlain! a bit pricey but it’s a great distraction).
The durians made it to our friends with no problem and didn’t stink out the fridge here at home or the temporary chiller when I arrived either (our friends ate the durians 2 days after I bought and packed them). The durians remained condensation-free and firm with just the right amount of ripeness.
This works for once-in-a-while packing, but I guess if this request comes more often, the pungent mau sang wangs might make me seriously consider investing in vacuum technology.
*I also tried coffee powder which TT recommended as a great scent absorber and stain remover. It might work great for some scents, but durians are so strong that you really do require something more chemical in nature I think.