D88 Slippery, Shiny Seeds

D88 Durian Seeds

D88 Durian Seeds

Have you ever counted how many seeds a durian normally has? As the majority of us like to eat many fruits at the same time, we never end up remembering which seed came from which fruit.

I didn’t get round to doing it this time but we’ll give it a shot next time we go for our durian feast.

If we collect all the seeds and the husks and re-weigh it, I wonder how much the actual flesh which is eaten really weighs…

Check out how beautifully egg-shaped the durian seeds are and compare them to anyones you eat.

D88 instead of Elvis Durians

Durian D88

Durian D88

If my memory serves me right, last Friday was the first time  that I’ve tried the D88 variety of durian. This one was kind of cute and looked like it had a nice shape.

The D88 does not have a name (unlike mau sang wang, Elvis, Bamboo etc) and another foodblog from Singapore also confirms that D88 doesn’t have a funky name.

Following from the last entry, our Jalan Imbi Stall had already run out of mau sang wang and were closing up the stall when we appeared. The owner’s wife said that they specialize in selling mau sang wangs and when those run out, its pretty much time to close up until tomorrow’s shipment.

Anyway, since we had already planned for our durian night out, we promptly sat down and were served with the D88. One thing that we noticed about the D88 was that the flesh was a lot fleshier and the seeds a lot larger and rounder.

D88 Interior of Durian

D88 Interior of Durian

The fruit pits were deep and roundish and the flesh was quite creamy but had a drier and slightly more fibrous texture. It was just ripe and quite pungent, the aroma had a woody taste to it, sort of like a whisky matured in an oak barrel. The color of the durian flesh is a very light yellow like an unripe papaya but with the translucent depth of Chinese skin.

Each pit had between 2 to 3 seeds but the seeds were fairly large and you don’t get the satisfaction of sinking your teeth deep into the flesh without encountering the smooth and slippery seed surface.

We had 3 D88 in total and finished it off with 2 netbags of mangosteens to cool off the heatiness of the durians.

Sorry darling, No “Mau Sang Wang Durians” tonight

Sharp knife, Swift hands and a Wooden surface

Sharp knife, Swift hands and a Wooden surface

As it was TW’s official last night in town tonight, we celebrated it with crabs at New Ocean Restaurant in Jalan Imbi. I haven’t been there for quite a while, but the food was relatively decent and the service attentive due to the unusually quiet night for a Friday. After crabs, we caught our durian seller at Jalan Imbi just in time, it was five minutes past ten and he and his wife were cleaning and packing up for the night.

We raced down from the car and exclaimed loudly in cantonese that we were here for durians and did he have any left? He seemed a little surprised that we turned up and startled enough not to know exactly how to respond. His wife (who is the one with the finger on the button) quickly showed up, with grateful recognition and acknowledgement of her regular customers, ushered us to the table and proceeded to wipe down the stools for us (great service as mentioned previously).

“No mau sang wang tonight!” she chirped brightly as we sat down but before our faces could take on a pallor of disappointment, she quickly added “but we have D88”.

So D88 it was. I’ll show you the photos in the next post and tell you the rest of the story.

Another Kind of Stinky Spike

For our readers who are not regular durian consumers or find themselves in unfamiliar durian territory, you should know that durian sellers can tell the type and species of the durian by pretty much looking at it. What are the markers of differentiation in durian identification?

In no definitive order:

Different Spikes

Different Spikes

1.   Colour

2.   Shape

3.   Size

4.   Spikes

5.   Smell

6.   The orchard they bought it from 🙂

If you examine this photo closely, you’ll begin to get a vague idea of the above descriptions. Some of the durian thorns are narrow and sharp, while others are wide based and appear multi-faceted, while others are wide based and seem almost blunt to touch. The thorny spikes can range from a rust colored brown to a bright military green. Some are kidney shaped, while others are more similar to a bowling ball.

Their taste can vary widely too, CL tells me that the flattish spiked durian in the photo doesn’t taste as good at the Elvis so perhaps I’ll try it next time round.

Durian Purchase from Pudu

TW has never eaten so much durian in his life of 35 years. Sadly, he returns to NYC this coming weekend and his time in Malaysia will come to a close.. but not without happy memories I suspect. Last Friday -after a good, hot fishball soup lunch (TW are you missing this yet?)- we stopped enroute back to the office at Pudu and could feel the magnetic pull of the durian. We were actually hunting for the “chinese doughnut” seller, whose stall was across the street. After we made a rapid purchase of the doughnuts for the office, we just had to take a look at the famously spikey goods.

Balancing durians on a scale

Balancing durians on a scale

The durian seller was a proud man; proud of his durians, proud of his pricing, proud of his premium stall location. We did not doubt his claims that he had chosen these durians himself from the plantations, nor the fact that he was certainly less expensive than other sellers around town. At RM 18 per Kg for our favourite mau sang wang, and a demonstration of the goods with an enthusiastic flourish, we certainly had no reason to complain. After a rather loud and boisterous bargaining session, he very artistically piled on about 5 durians onto the weighing machine and knew that he had won our bellies.
I know that you must be thinking that we are such typical conservative durian eaters, always ordering the most expensive “mau sang wang” variety as we have done so in the last few purchases that we made. But, I have to tell you that every mau sang wang tastes different to the next. One can be nutty, another slightly bitter and some give you the feeling that you might soon find out what durian wine tastes like if you leave it a little longer in the husk.

Durian Boss of Pudu Plaza

All these durians on sale now are from Pahang mostly, plantations in Raub, Bentong and others along the Karak Highway supply KL’s durian addicts with their favorite feast. I haven’t been to any plantations yet but have suggested the idea to SW to see if my durian kaki would at least be up to a small adventure a little further out from town.

Coming back to our proud durian seller, he was so chuffed to see that I had whipped out my camera that he decided to pose for me, sh

owing me who was the boss. All this while his 2 lovely assistants (one male and one female) were slicing and dicing the durian husks to empty the golden segments into takeaway polystyrene containers for us.

If you are in the area and fancy having some durians, he’s there before lunch and shuts his stall at 8pm. So, Pudu durians are available only in the daytime, after that, you’ll have to go to the other night haunts

Durian Boss of Pudu

and be prepared to pay a little more.

Durian Spikes Up Close

Spikes

Spikes

I’ve been surfing around and haven’t yet found a site that links the spikes to the species and its flavor. SW has offered to help me construct a table for the various names of each type of fruit and the various languages, but it’ll be ready when its ready.

SW did take this very nice photo of the Elvis we ate at Imbi and emailed it to me so that I could put it up for all to admire.

You’ll notice that these spikes have 4 facets and a wide square base like a pyramid. The tips are sharp and pointy and roughly of even height.

Not all durian spikes are the same and I shall endeavour to compare the species when I get a few more close up photos.

Jalan Imbi Durians at 9:30pm

hulu-langat-moon As it was a holiday on Monday, Sunday night felt a bit like Saturday. After a bright clear day of blue skies and sunshine, SW was fed up of studying, called me up and asked me to come home from wherever I was. JK was also free and up for joining us to do something out of the ordinary.

We had a number of options; walk around a part of town we’ve not explored before (but I felt it was really too hot for that), take a drive to Malacca (too far away for me) or go back to where we visited about 2 years ago, the dramatic lookout point at Hulu Langat.

I chose to go with option 3. JK said that he hadn’t been down Jalan Ampang for years and was most surprised at all the development that had taken place. We found that the lookout point had majorly developed into a popular hangout for the chinese-speaking fashionable Gucci shoes and LV handbag crowd, all touting fancy long lensed nikon or canon cameras with at least 2 children and husband in tow.

We ordered a pizza and falafel to share and sat back to enjoy the marvellous sunset over the Klang Valley. After we settled the bill but before we headed for dessert, SW and JK headed up to the lookout tower for some photos while I (exhausted from my exercise in the morning and early afternoon) waited patiently below. I was remarking to myself on the noise and light pollution caused by the lookout’s 2 busy eateries when suddenly, the lights blacked out and we were plunged into pleasant darkness, illuminated only by the moon. I am rather surprised that my tiny handheld nikon (not remotely comparable with the SLR monsters I mentioned earlier) was able to capture this remarkably serene and beautiful night scene.

JK and SW eventually joined me and we headed back down to our carriage, we already knew our next destination.

ARRIVAL AT JALAN IMBI

We found our durian stall owners relaxing in the usual corner, the sprightly mandarin chinese speaking wife sprung into action when we drew close. A table neatly prepared with just-wiped stools, equipped with tissue box and individually sealed water cups and straws were at the ready. SW and I never knew that JK was a bit of a durian connoisseur and had no qualms ordering our dessert in mandarin. As we weren’t going to have a feast, we felt that we ought to just shoot straight for the mau san wang again.

Now, if you’ve not had durians before, you might think that one species should reflect a consistency in taste and texture. This is not true. One mau san wang may and will taste very different to the next one, depending on the tree, its moisture, age etc. The ones SW and I like best are the ones with a taut superficial skin but a full bodied creamy interior which is almost like yoghurt that you can lick off your fingers.

Texture of durian

Texture of durian

Some people may involve their entire hands in the consumption of one durian seed which I personally find rather untidy. I much prefer using just 3 fingers which confines the sticky and stinky fingers and makes it easier for washing when I’m done.

Part of the experience of consuming durian is the sensation of the softness of the fruit against your skin. Its almost like a moisturizer on your hands but not too oily. I suppose we could compare the texture of it to a very ripe avocado with a similar colour.

While we were enjoying the privacy of our small durian party, a very large tour group from China suddenly appeared and practically mobbed the stall. Loud cries of “liu lian aaaahhh” and “zhe ge shi she me dong xi” filled the air and we were peering at the numerous backsides of chinese durian eaters who had to stand as there weren’t sufficient places to sit.

They reached over to grab tissue paper from our table and did not hesitate to toss their eaten seeds into our basket, but most of the ladies were more fixated on the mangosteens- which sold out very quickly.

As soon as they appeared, they also cleared out with surprising speed once their tour bus appeared, leaving us to eat our next mau san wang in peace.

We didn’t know that JK was a durian fan and both SW and I are delighted to have found another durian kaki.  🙂