Sometimes a durian biscuit will just have to do

This durian season in Hong Kong has been meagre. July flew by with very few durians from Malaysia on display or sale. (Thai durians are omnipresent but what’s the fun in that.) I heard that durian is going for SGD 100 per kilo from my mother. Can it be true? 

Tellingly, my friend DW on his trips to KL and Singapore has had few opportunities to indulge in his favourite fruit. 

So how have we survived???!!!!

DW brought back some durian biscuits from Durian Durian in KL. In chinese these are 香餅, which aren’t exactly biscuits in the English sense nor are they cakes. I guess the closest thing is maybe a flaky jam tart… but it’s filled with durian instead of berry based jam. Anyway for the purpose of this blog, they are biscuits.

It really wasn’t bad. Here’s the tub.


The biscuits  inside are individually wrapped. So they are protected from bumps and won’t flake all over.


Here’s the advice on the back of the tub to warm it up if you have kept it for a while. I didn’t do this though and it tasted fine.


It tasted good. There was a nice durian aroma and aftertaste, I think I burped durian for a few hours later. It tasted more of rich D24 blended with maybe D101 than Musang king though. You can see the nicely baked layers and the durian paste oozing out…


It was all gone, flakes and all, in 2 minutes. 

It’s here. But it’s expensive.

The Mao Shan Wongs have arrived. 猫山王。

Its HKD 138 per pound. So a titchy little green spikey durian is going to set you back about HKD 500. 

Hmm. Ok no garnishing in the photos.

I couldn’t detect any scent at all in this batch. 

The boss had just put one in a bag for someone else. One down, two to go…


Here you can see the weight and price. These durians are very small, hopefully the quality is good.

Don’t cha wish your durian was Musang king (sing along to Pussycat Dolls)

It’s typhoon season in Hong Kong. These few days the passing typhoon brought pelting rain that lasted hours, drenching everything but giving all the streets a much needed wash. The rain brought the temperature down a bit but it’ll be muggy again before long. 

Just a few days before Typhoon Merbok rolled into town, I set off on a short expedition to see if anyone in Wanchai was selling Musang King durians yet. 
A survey of all the fruit stalls in the Wanchai market yielded only Thai durians. Hmm…..🤔

Ok how about we play Where’s Wally with durian. 


This fruit stall on Stone Nullah Lane often gets a lot of foot traffic. The lady who runs it is a bit fussy and unfriendly if you’re looking for small quantities. I’ve seen her break out in huge smiles only when clients come in to buy a box of expensive fruit.

At this stall the Thai Monthong (aka Golden Pillow) goes for $20 per pound.

The durians are way in the back. Did you spot them? Reveal reveal….


This next stall about halfway down Stone Nullah Lane also only had Thai durians for sale.


This stall is crazily well lit. It literally has hanging lights and down lights spaced barely a foot apart. I suppose it’s nice that you can really see the fruit. No need to guess and easier to see the fruit’s imperfections. They had the durians a little more towards the front.

At this stall the durians go for $15 per pound.

Did you see them? Reveal reveal…!


The Kai Bo food supermarket which opened about a year ago also tries its best to cater as a one stop shop to its clientele. Thai durians found here too.


This supermarket gets pretty busy during the day. It’s cheap. 

Here, these durians go for $14.8 per pound.

Do you see the durians? Reveal reveal!


Let’s have a close up shot eh.


I could almost feel myself falling into that Teochew trap of “bo hae her ma hor” (no prawn fish also can)… it was tempting to buy a thai durian just to have some. But no. It just wouldn’t do. I knew it wouldn’t satisfy me. It would probably make it worse.

So I continued with my little visual tour and durian window shopping. 

At the corner intersection of Cross Street, Wan Chai Road and Tai Wo Street, I stopped to see what durian activity there was.


Several cases has arrived and I went over to see the cargo. The uncle in charge was gloved up and very nimbly hauling out the durian and tapping them with his chopper. He was performing individual inspection of the fruit in each box.


I went in for a closer look. It was sent from OP Fruits Co, as a package of 6 Monthongs, “expor to the People’s Republic of China“.


At this stall, it was hands down the cheapest at $13 per pound. While I stood there, two Thai ladies cane up and bought a durian to go. 

The Thais have a formula for their durian producers. Stick with the productive fruit, ensure constant abundant supply to all overseas markets, dependable and consistent quality at a huge discount so that buying one is a simple decision making process. You simply know what you’re getting. And at that price, you can’t complain. 

I was sorely tempted but just knew it wouldn’t satisfy. Yup, I’m the delayed gratification type most of the time, though sometimes the impulse demon just overwhelms me. Not today demon, not today.

I can almost hear the refrain by Pussy cat Dolls ….

(Substituting girlfriend for durian)

Don’t cha wish your durian was hot like me

Don’t cha wish your durian was a Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

Don’t cha wish your durian was raw like me

Don’t cha wish your durian tastes like Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

The nangka tree off Sau Wa Fong

The other name for nangka is jackfruit. Perhaps you know it by that name? 

I was walking by Sau Wa Fong near Star street one recent weekend and spotted the jackfruit hanging off the very productive tree. Boy, did it look good. No, I’m not going to steal any. I don’t know who the tree belongs to and how it’s looked after. What I did do, was march down to the supermarket and buy myself a pack of Malaysian jackfruit. Yum yum, it was sweet, chewy and aromatic. 

What I did reflect on was that it would’ve been incredible to have a durian tree next to it. I don’t see why the durian tree can’t thrive here, especially with global warming… the winters have been getting shorter and milder. 

Anyone got a space for a durian tree on their doorstep? 

The Jackfruit hanging off the jackfruit tree

A durian dim sum recipe

A few weeks ago when I went to my local public library, I borrowed two beautiful culinary cook books. Ok ok they were in the category of “food pornography”. One on dim sum dumplings which I knew would excite the small one, whose tastebuds are all about that base, all that base (ok base as in soup base…sorry couldn’t help it). Another on the uses of miso (mmmm… live for that salty and umami flavour).

So, apart from all those wonderful dim sum dumplings featuring fanciful folded scallop and shrimp and crystal skins, chef Janice Ong (Singaporean) also had the recipe for a durian dumpling called “durian nest”. As you know, the durian fruit has only recently (last 10 years or so) become popular with chefs looking to innovate, this durian dumpling is definitely not a classic dish. 

It’s essentially a deep fried durian pastry packed with calories and as flavourful as your best durian pulp

Durian dumpling recipe from Dim Sum

The caveat is this. The Amazon reviews of the book were really mediocre, many criticising the author for bait and switch where the recipes can’t be replicated. In the world of scientific publishing, the author would have had to retract the recipe and apologise to the entire scientific community and any future publications would be scrutinised like crazy. In fact, for misleading scientific publications, the author may never be allowed to publish with any authority ever again. But, this is the world of cuisine and I’m not sure what repercussions there are (if any). 

So, just to be clear, I haven’t tried the recipe so I don’t know if it’s good. But the picture associated with it look deeelissshhhh…..

Bonus if you make it yourself. No added sugar and no preservatives 🙂

Durian deception: When a durian snack is not a durian snack

You would generally expect that when you buy a durian snack you’d be getting a snack with durian in it. You would be hoping for that creamy texture….. that aromatic-pungent scent….. the tinge of bitterness when it melts on your tongue…

Not the overwhelming cloying sweetness of straight up sugar and egg. 

Let’s survey a few durian snacks sold around the shops here and see what they contain.

1) Durian cakes – classic flavour, with “Rich Durian Flavour”. 

The picture looks positively delicious. There’s a sponge cake exterior (thinking kueh bahalu here) and a durian filled interior. Made by a company called Natural House that takes the effort to emphasise Natural (自然). There’s a nice picture of a durian revealing its fantastic interior just by the cake. This was sold at Save More


Now let’s examine the ingredients.


Ok maybe that’s a little too small to read, but you can see the pictoral description on the back of the box. Zoom in a little will ya.


If you look at the ingredients closely you will realise that you are being led astray. There is no durian in this cake whatsoever. Instead, you’d be consuming flour, emulsifiers, palm oil and a bunch of sugars and artificial flavours. E450, E500, E341, E102, E471, E282. Thank you for declaring the artificial ingredients in detail.

Would I buy this? NO. Not even for HKD 18 (USD 3) My poor liver would be crying out in pure torment.

2) Kai Kee Durian Egg Rolls. (Note that the durian version costs 20% more than the Coffee and Curry flavours.)


Nice packaging ✅ , pricing not exorbitant ✅ , good looking durian in the cover ✅ , from Malaysia ✅ . 

Now let’s flip it over and see what’s within.


Ok, so the ingredients are: Egg, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Rice flour, coconut milk, durian paste, durian flavour (flavour). 

I take it that the last ingredient is actually artificial durian flavouring. No E colours or numbers stated but I think they must be lumped under that last ingredient.

Well, at least there’s some durian paste that went into it, though it may be less than 1%.

Would I buy this? Maybe. It’s the same contents as egg rolls just with durian flavour for HKD 58 (USD 8). Or how about we just stick with the plain egg rolls…. 

3) Kai Kee “durian ice cream cookies”

As an alternative to the egg rolls, Kai Kee also has these cookies for sale. 

So they are “handmade” and a durian flavour.  Let’s flip it over.


What? It’s worse than the egg rolls. It is only flavoured with durian…. hmm. Yet again, no declaration of E numbers that went into this.

4) Homei Durian kaya

If you love kaya like me, you would always be on the lookout for kaya. Nothing beats fresh kaya… I usually get a bottle or two if anyone is coming from Singapore or Malaysia. This brand of durian kaya from Homei is distributed in several shops in Wanchai. You’ll find the same product cheapest at the Save More store in Wanchai market’s Stone Nullah Lane. It’s less than HKD 20 per bottle.


For those who are uninitiated in the ways of kaya, it’s largely made from coconut milk  but is often cooked with Pandan leaves to impart a fragrance to the runny texture.

Did any durian make its way into the kaya?


Sugar is the first and the largest component (don’t get a heart attack reading this), followed by durian at 25%, egg at 15%, water, corn starch, salt and colouring E102. Find out more about the ubiquitous E102 here.

Would I buy this? No. I can wait till the next visitor from Singapore or Malaysia comes and brings me a tub of fresh Killeney kopitiam kaya

None of those E colours thank you. 


5) Durian pralines by Hemelz


I saw these pralines in Singapore’s Tanglin Mall supermarket during Chinese New Year (February) and was intrigued enough to take a photo. 

The three top ingredients are durian paste, vegetable fat and sugar though the relative quantities are not stated. 

Would I buy it? Maybe. Just to satisfy my curiosity.

🐱🐱🐱🐱🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏻‍♂️do more exercise if you’re consuming this much sugar..

If it’s off season and you’re craving some durian, I highly recommend the lyophilised (aka freeze dried) version. It’s definitely lost the texture of the fresh durian but the flavours are released nicely on your palate and you know there’s nothing else adulterating it.