The size of Malaysian durians vs Japanese watermelons

We went in to Sogo Causeway Bay on the weekend (yeah, crazy idea right), to look for some outdoor gear. Well, that was what I intended anyway. SW led me into the basement.

“Err… Shouldn’t we be heading upstairs?”

“No,” he said “it’s all downstairs”.

Not wanting to argue on the escalator, we proceeded down two floors.

“Surely the sports attire isn’t in the supermarket?” I inquired.

“Oh, oh I thought we were going to look for noodles.”

Different planets? Definitely.

Anyway, a meander around the fruit section yielded some useful information on where Japanese people go for their durian fix.

Here’s one guy getting the assistant to open it for him. I noticed that he bought two. Does it seem a lot?

Not if you consider the size of each fruit. Positively teeny weeny from a Malaysian perspective. It was a kilo or less I reckon. At 150 HKD a fruit that probably yields no more than 5 seeds, it’s pricey but knowing Sogo, they probably select the better quality stuff.

They also sell it pre-packed if you’re risk averse. At least those clear windows let you see what you’re buying but those plastic shells prevent the compulsive “finger-pressing” that afflicts all fruit wrapped in simple pliable “Glad” wrap.

So, the price of the ones in the pack are pretty similar to each whole fruit. I would hesitate a guess that each whole fruit yields one and a half of these boxes.

The stems look good and the fruit looks fresh and fungus free. If you are in Causeway Bay and urgently need to bring a Malaysian/Singaporean durian fanatic friend a fruity gift, this might be the one to get.

Beside the durians, they had this fantastically huge watermelon. It could be a prize winner in fruit competitions. I remember at Ocean Park they sold King Watermelons, perfectly round, they are cut in half and sold as a cooling treat. I didn’t note where they are from.

Discover Durians and Peruvian Food at the same time

If you are in Hong Kong today, tonight is your last chance to check out the Discover Peru buffet at Hotel Icon. Sorry for the late notice but we only went to lunch yesterday.

The Peruvian food was delicious, if you go, I highly recommend that you try the ceviche (Peruvian style sashimi) and the Peruvian Shrimp soup which was a highlight. As I went with the Peruvian group here, the dishes were especially authentic and the chef made up a little bit of extra ceviche for our table. Those corn pops (equivalent of beer nuts I’m told) were simply yummy.

Anyway, the Icon Hotel’s restaurant called the Market, has an extensive buffet selection with great presentation. The dessert counter was especially impressive with its nice decor, and of course a fascinating range of durian desserts which I have rarely come across in any hotel buffet.

Here are pictures of what’s available.

Deep Fried Durian Puffs

Deep Fried Durian Puffs

 

First up, durian puffs. I sent SW off to get some dessert and he came back all bright eyed as though he’d dug up some secret treasure. Inside, whole pieces of durian that would fit in the palm of your hand were wrapped in a rice flour and deep fried. Nice flavor but I couldn’t tell if it was MSW or really ripe Monthong.

Probably not the healthiest, but if you’re after healthy, you shouldn’t be anywhere near this counter.

 

 

Durian Cheesecake Squares

Durian Cheesecake Square

 

 

Next up, the durian cheese cake. Lightly baked, this was a nice size to leave you with two bites.

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a baked durian cheese morsel. I’m not a big fan of tarts so I didn’t try this but guess it;s a crunchy rendition of the cheesecake.

Baked Durian Cheese Morsels

Baked Durian Cheese Morsels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Durian Pannacotta

Durian Pannacotta

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the durian panna cotta, nicely presented.

Mao Shan Wang Ice Cream

Mao Shan Wang Ice Cream

 

 

And finally the durian ice cream.

 

 

 

 

The ice cream was quite delicious. Full on cold MSW which was cold, creamy and pure durian. Even ZI loved it.

Mao Shan Wang Ice Cream Close up

Mao Shan Wang Ice Cream Close up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So if you have nothing on for dinner, maybe check out the restaurant at the ICON in East TST tonight.

The Market Restaurant @ ICON Hotel

The Market Restaurant @ ICON Hotel

Durian mystery at Taste

I was shocked. How could ALL of those packets have disappeared off the shelves in such a short space of time?

I saw a lady stacking the cool shelves nearby and thought I’d ask.

“No more, no more durians” she said in cantonese. Then gesturing, she said “it’s all there, whatever you see is all there.”

Hmm. Unconvinced, I did another sweep.

Aha there they were, discreetly placed with the chilled packed fruit.

Excited and gleefully, I left with one packet. It was marked down half price as it was very ripe.

Looks pretty good right.

ZI couldn’t resist trying to stick her finger in it.

The durian was quite satisfactory, rich, smooth and slightly fermented taste.What a bargain at the supermarket.

Malaysian durian at Taste Supermarket

It was a nice surprise when I went to Taste last week and saw that the fresh fruit section had a whole display of Malaysian Mao Shan Wangs for sale. All already in packets ready to go. It looked good and smelled pretty good.

They were placed side by side with the Thai durians. No comparison eh.

I would estimate that this is about 4-5 durians worth of fruit. Quite nice and ripe judging by the color and texture.

Price wise, it’s easily 2x the price of the Thai durians. It was 11am, a little too early for me to buy durians to consume. I planned to head back later to pick up a packet for after dinner dessert.

This is the scene at 8pm… Where did all the durians go?!?

Can you find durian at Hong Kong International Airport?

Well, this is probably the closest thing I found to it.

Durian drink anyone?

Durian drink anyone?

On a refrigerated shelf opposite the payment counter.

Drinks to go

Drinks to go

All of this at the 7-11 (Seven Eleven) in the open arrival hall when you exit customs. This 7-11 is perpetually crowded with queues snaking all the way round the back of the shop. But if you need a quick liquid durian fix….. pick up a bottle and get in line!

Seven Eleven at HK Airport

Seven Eleven at HK Airport

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Thank you DCEM for my Liebster Award :) All the way from Mongolia!

It was a most unexpected blog hug and the first I’ve received since starting this blog in 2009.

My answers to your questions below.

What started this project?

Seeds so small you have to pick it out of your mouthMy often excessive durian consumption and the thought that so many more people could come to appreciate this wonderful fruit… if only they knew more about it and where to buy it. There is no other fruit which can create such an emotional connection (addiction) to its consumer.

 

What’s your favorite part of blogging?

It takes me and my family on adventures that we might never otherwise embark on.

What have you learned along the way, and would you give this advice to others?

Use your blog to make friends. Both online and offline. People love to see themselves featured, so use this to extract the best from them. Yes.

Do you have a particular audience in mind?

Baby having a taste of durian

Baby having a taste of durian

 

Durian fanatics, babies, those interested in this exotic fruit and people trying to find the elusive good stuff. All must have a good sense of humor.

 

 

 

How do you use structure in your blogging – a set of guidelines for posting, or as things arise?

No prescribed structure, free flow conversation and sometimes breaking wind oops, durian news.

What particular image or memory best captures the spirit of your blog?

The fragrant aroma of a ripe Malaysian Mao Shan Wang and the sensation of its silky, pliant and warm flesh on my fingers. Then licking them clean but never quite getting rid of the scent which is transferred in every fingerprint.

If you could go anywhere in the world and share the experience through the blog, where would it be?

Delicious Mau Shan Wang

Delicious Mau Shan Wang

Hmm. This is a tough one. Durian hunting around the world- Hawaii, Sri Lanka, All of South America. To see if any of these places have durian species which might usurp Malaysia’s mighty position (or require an introduction to this delicacy).

 

Whom from your past would you go back to and thank?

Past, present and future – Mum and Dad. They still buy durian and put it in the freezer for me now. Yuuummmmm…

What about you might we not know from reading your blog?

Envy apple

Envy apple

I eat other fruits too. My favorite apples are sold under the label envy and jazz. I don’t like grapes with seeds because I have to eat them without the skin, so this becomes a very involved and untidy process.

What makes you feel better after a hard day?

Hugs, smiles and hot double boiled soup with vegetables. If it happens to end with a cream bath, massage, and blow-dry; that will do too. (DCEM, you are invited to join me for the latter)

Do you have an end in mind for your blog?

I can’t fathom the day when there are no longer any durians in the world. Or if I develop some sort of unfortunate durian allergy. NOOooooooo……

 

My nominees for the Liebster award go to:

Cracked Pepper

Pepper has lived in more places than me and her blog is a nice snapshot of cross-cultural east-west living. She is busy with a permanent new project but I hope she will find the time to continue blogging.

Culinary Adventures in Hong Kong

CAHK is an honest, fun blog about restaurants and general eating by a Malaysian living in HK and traveling to and fro. It also covers fairly exotic foods that CAHK dares to try which I find interesting. I can relate to both these aspects.

 My Travel Plate

MTP is an Indonesian food blogger student who is enjoying life in several countries. She’s a food and agricultural food scientist and it’s interesting to follow her life experiences. Nice pictures and well presented.

 Fresh Food Festival

If you ever wondered what Fruitarians do in their spare time, check out this blog. It’s hard to believe that there is a convention on the subject, but if you want to be in the know, that’s where you’ll have to go. I think tickets are still available, July 17th -20th if you happen to be in Scandinavia for the summer.

 

My 11 questions to them should they care to share are as follow:

What is your favorite fruit?

What is your favorite food?

What is your favorite drink?

What would you cook if a friend (eg. me ha ha!) was coming over for dinner?

What website(s) do you visit most often?

How did you choose the name for your blog?

What/Who inspired you to start and keep writing?

How many countries have you been to/ lived in in your lifetime?

How many more (which ones) do you intend to visit in the next 2 years and why?

What was the biggest life changing thing/event that happened to/ for you thus far?

What was the craziest thing you did with a friend/ family member recently?

 

:)

 

 

Durian at Cengkareng Airport, Jakarta part 2

I still had another hour before the flight. I had my toasted Starbucks cheese bagel (which was bad it was more like a spongy cheap bread with a dry crust) and an orange juice. I ate it because I was starving hungry, but my recommendation is to choose something else, maybe quiche.

Starbucks Cheese Bagel - Not recommended

Starbucks Cheese Bagel – Not recommended

Anyway, I left Starbucks via the shop next to it. It’s a bit awkward but essentially Starbucks got the premium space with the windows and the shop just gets the corridor facing bit. If you ever go to that airport (terminal 2), you will see what I mean.

So this was the first display I saw which I was curious to see. It looked like lego boxes piled up high.

Colorful boxes

Colorful boxes

I went in for a closer look.

Aha! Durian Crepe

Aha! Durian Crepe

And then one particular box caught my attention. Not just durian from anywhere mind you but Bali durian. I suppose the target market is Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Basically North Asia.

photo 3

Price wise, it’s 9USD per box and if you buy 6, you get 1 free. That’s how they get you to buy it as a souvenir and distribute it to all your friends.

Competitor

Competitor Durian Crepe

And then round the corner was a display of another box and brand of durian crepe. It specifically says “A gift from Indonesia” on the box. Well, now you know what its for.

I didn’t buy any but here’s something that’s not dol-dol from Indonesian durian.

Durian at Cengkareng Airport, Jakarta part 1

On our most recent expedition to Jakarta to investigate and inspect AR’s new property, I looked all around the roads we travelled for fresh durian but didn’t see any.

It wasn’t until I got to the airport for my flight (which was severely delayed) that I perused the shops and found some durian related items. It does look like the Indonesians are finally catching the durian commercial bandwagon and starting to process them into something other than dol-dol or frying them in nasty looking orange oil.

After verifying that the plane would eventually leave from that gate, I wandered off to explore the various shops in the terminal. This shop was nearest my gate in the “D” section.

photo 4

Looks like the usual spread of chocolates and packaged snacks.

photo 1

Then I came across these. What were they? Chocolates, Dol-dol or something else entirely? It’s called Choco-Dol and comes with different fillings…. one of which is durian. Hmmm.

Here’s a close up.

photo 3

I am not sure whether it is from the town of Garut in Java, near Bandung. Probably.

How much is it?

photo 2

Rp 12,000. That’s about 1.50 USD. It’s about the same price as a Magnum ice cream stick. I haven’t tried this dol-derivative but think I would rather have a Magnum.

Fresh Malaysian durian in Wan Chai Today!

I happened to walk by my usual fruit shop along Wan Chai Road (next to Serge) and spied this…

photo (5)

Ooh don’t those lychees look good. But I tell you what, the durian is better!

I stopped and remarked “wow you’re pregnant and love eating durians?” (reminds me of someone I know)

She said ” I just ate one or two, its just freshly arrived”

So I said “is it good”

She said “you want some? here try one” and handed me the not-too-big husk.

“Sure, ok thank you I’ll try one.” I said.

It was DELICIOUS. pungent. yellow. not too moist. not too dry. fibers that just melt on your tongue.

I was so happy she let me try that one durian seed that I couldn’t tell her off for giving me lousy mangosteens last week. She also let me try a lychee (she’s not a fan of lychees) but after the durian, the lychee was bland in the way that a bad watermelon is bland.

July is almost here and I hope we will be inundated with Malaysian mao shan wangs in Hong Kong.

The MSW durians outside Wan Chai Market

At the fruit stall just outside Wan Chai Market, next to Serge et le Phoque, a little fruit stall with a nice fruit seller and some decent fruit, stocks durian from Malaysia.

Musang Kings for sale

Musang Kings for sale

He told me that currently it costs HKD 300-400 per fruit or HKD180 per pound. I asked if it would be cheaper in July to which he replied resoundingly “yes”.

I told him it seemed expensive (of course way more than what I would pay in KL), and he told me to come back tomorrow. I suspect that the fruit is already very ripe and he will be re-packing them in individual trays for sale.

Fruit stall in Wan Chai

Fruit stall in Wan Chai

I’ve been buying some fruits from this stall and it’s been relatively good quality. I’ll let you know if I get the durians.