Durian T Shirt

My Durian T Shirt

My Durian T Shirt

It has been very busy at work and since SW was away, there hasn’t been a real opportunity to go durian hunting. Last Sunday however, I was invited to spend the day with my friends and their sons at the pool and it was the perfect day for modelling my new durian t-shirt that I bought in Singapore. Many t shirts that I’ve seen in the past featuring durians have always been sort of cheesy with funny slogans or maybe even rude ones. I picked this one up because it was drawn in the 1800’s for historical and scientific recognition and the wildlife around it. A fruit, like a person, is defined by the environment and other living beings.

My t shirt is a print of a historical drawing from the collections of William Farquhar known as the “Durian”. The painting features the Durian by its species name, Durio zibethinus, the Burung Murai Batu otherwise known as the Pied Cuckoo-Shrike or Pied Triller and the Lalage nigra. Notice how the durian fruit is depicted hanging from a branch with its leaves and the durian flower providing some persepctive on size and shape. The painting was commissioned by William Faquhar (1774 -1839) who was based in Malacca, during the time when he was the first resident and Commandant of Singapore. Major General Farquhar had a very involved history with Malaysia, spoke Malay and married a girl from Malacca. By commissioning 477 paintings to record the flora and fauna of the region, he certainly had an appreciation of the natural surroundings he inhabited and I have no doubt he developed a love for durians too.

If you’d like a T-shirt like mine, drop me a comment with your details and I can help you get one. It is 100% cotton, very comfortable and its a slim cut for women but the standard straight cut for men. 🙂

Advertisements

Durio Chips exported to the UK and Malaysian Durian Dry Season

Packaged Durio Chips

Packaged Durio Chips

Since I last heard from Dan about the freeze dried Monthong durian chips he purchased from the Malaysian Airport, it inspired me to purchase some of my own when I was passing through the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. It was a different brand to the one Dan had (see this link to the entry) but I presumed that it is probably similar.. except for the fact that it is “mellow” and “sweet”.

I was looking forward to sampling this package with SW (away in the US) but I felt bad when GW came to visit for a few weeks and was disallowed by the other half to even appreciate one fruit. GW was to leave on Monday back tot he UK not to return for probably many months and I could not help but feel bad that I had durian chips in the cupboard which I was hoarding and not sharing.

So, I passed GW the durio chips to enjoy on the long flight back and figured that I would just have to take Dan’s word for it and try my luck again next time. What I don’t know is whether GW ate the chips, and whether more importantly, he enjoyed them as much as Dan did given that the real fruit itself was unavailable.

Will seek feedback shortly but I suspect that not having eaten durians for almost a year, one’s aromatic tastebuds for the fruit is either non-existent or dramatically enhanced.

DRY SEASON?

On another note, JK told SW that there are no Malaysian durians in the market at the moment and that all the stalls are selling Thai durians. How can this be true? It is dry season but JK’s facts must be wrong and we shall endeavor to establish the truth.

The Balinese Durian Experience

I have yet to visit Bali, which all my friends find strange since it is only a short flight away. Trouble is, most of my friends have already been and hence it isn’t easy to find someone who might enjoy it again as a novelty. I suppose one of the reasons for its popularity among the young surfing crowd are the nice beaches, big waves, affordable resorts and good food. If I ever get the chance to go, I won’t be part of the surfing crowd but I hear that there are many other beautiful and fun things to do.

Dan (an avid durian fan) was in Bali for his recent vacation, but sadly his vacation ended and he is now back in the US. He wrote to me and gave me a brief summary of his durian adventures, noted most pleasurably in the photos he took and kindly shared with me.

Local Indonesian Durian

Local Indonesian Durian- Heart Shaped

First up is this wonderful configuration of the King of Fruits. Dan managed to find a beautiful heart-shaped durian, which I think might have looked better with its stem. A durian like this is probably easier to split in half with your knife and reveal its interior.

Local Indonesian Durian Flesh & Seeds

Wonderfully pale creamy flesh

Dan, this must have tasted delicious. The pale white flesh of the durian looks firm but and not too chewy. Dan says that this particular one was “creamy and bitter”. Also note the seeds, which are large and round, which means that it can’t have been too much flesh. This can be a good thing, because it allows you to enjoy more varieties of the fruit. I can’t tell exactly how large the fruit is though as we haven’t got a perspective view.

Indonesian Durian Chili Shaped

Chili Shaped Indonesian Durian

Check out this next durian on the left that Dan had. I love the shape of this one as well. It reminds me of a large spiky chili. This one is really very fresh, you can tell by the spikes which are lush green and appear to be very plump, almost to the point of looking like soft succulent leaves instead of sharp pyramidal structures. I think this one is probably a different variety to the one above.

I am not sure how many different types of durian Dan ended up trying while he was in Bali, but certainly this is an impressive number for a vacation, which I suspect was largely opportunistic (buy as you come across them?) and from a number of different stalls.

Golden Bali Bangkok Durian

Golden Bali Bangkok Durian

Now this durian’s color is most impressive – Dan tells me that this is known as the “Bali-Bangkok” variety of durian, which is a variation on the Monthong species. Word has it that this durian was brought down from Thailand and planted in Bali, hence the name of the durian.

How do you like this rich and wonderful golden colored durian? It almost reminds me of a papaya in shape and intensity of color. I wonder if the smell was the same or stronger.

Bali-Bangkok Durian Flesh

Bali-Bangkok Durian Flesh

On the inside, the Bali-Bangkok certainly doesn’t disappoint in its visuals. The flesh is a golden yellow as well and looks even creamier and softer than the local Indonesian variety.

Most importantly, it is key to eat the durian while it is fresh and nicely ripened.

Price-wise, Dan says that the local variety costs between USD 1.50- 2.50 but the Thai-transplanted variety can be had for about USD 18 for 4.5 Kg, slightly more expensive but hey, durian fans usually have expensive taste.

A Big Thank You to Dan for these photos. He’s also sent me one of a Vacuum-Packed Durian which he’s managed to purchase from a Supermarket in Portland. I’ll save it for the next entry on packaged durian!