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!

2 thoughts on “The Balinese Durian Experience

  1. I love your site!
    I was eating durian in Bali with DAN.
    I am now in Penang enjoying the preseason…I did find my favorite, “Ang Hair” for 45ringit (2.5kg)….very expensive, but oh well.
    my other favorite is ‘capri king’, nice and bitter….and also ‘SO’. have you tried these?
    where are you located?
    let me know if you come here!
    Darrick

    • Hi Darrick!
      Penang is great for durians isn’t it? The choices there are just phenomenal and it sounds like you’re having a lot of fun! Did you go up to the mountains of Balik Pulau and beyond to explore the plantations? Ang Hae (translated as the “Red Prawn” is known to be one of the more expensive hybrids with its classy looking red/orange flesh. XO durian is pretty good too, but must be eaten before the other more flavorful durians otherwise you won’t be able to appreciate its milder aroma. I haven’t had the Capri King yet, can you describe it to me?
      I am based in KL but I do get to travel to Penang once in a while. My friends and I usually try to get our durians from the seller on Anson road by the park under the big rain tree. They start selling in the early evening and close up by about 8pm when they sell out. Those durian sellers usually are able to get the best from the Balik Pulau plantations, so if you don’t make it up to the plantations, that’s one of the next best bets. Other stalls are in Macalister road, but I have no doubt you’ll find durians everywhere as it is the season now.
      How long will you be in Penang for? Are you hanging out there till the end of the durian season? Dan must be really jealous! If I manage to get myself up there, will send you an email if you want to join in for a durian feast ๐Ÿ™‚

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