Try saying the title and tell me if you think its a tongue twister. Most of the time when bargaining with durian sellers, one has to be quite sure what they are charging for the various fruits. Is it 40 dollars per fruit or per Kilo? Does the higher Durian number (like D24) command a higher price by weight than say the D101, or do durians get more expensive as their species number increases?
The week before last (ie the last week of August), we found ourselves once again wondering what we ought to have for dinner. It was still relatively early in the evening but the rain had made it seem darker and later than usual. SW was feeling a little gloomy (pondering on work related issues) and CW had the remnants of H1N1 which had infected her entire breathing system for a fortnight before that. “Let’s go have Durians for dinner” said SW brightly, suddenly revitalized at the prospect of fulfilling a craving kept at bay by other fruits (apples, oranges, pears). “What a good idea,” said CW, “I think my cough isn’t affected by durians so let’s go get some”. Who was I to deny the gloomy and the recovering from their desires. “Sure, I said, as long as its nearby” because I didn’t want to suffer the buka puasa* traffic jam out in the suburbs.
We went to our favorite stall in Jalan Imbi. There, our usual durian seller and his business savvy and hardworking China-born wife were waiting for us (any customers in particular, I suppose) and immediately started pulling the stools out and wiping them down from the raindrops. I indicated to SW and CW that since it was quite damp out, I was interested in also having some Bak Kut Teh soup (across the road) and sitting sonwehere shaded and a but more dry, less exposed to the elements. The less distractions one has of one’s environment, the more appreciation goes towards the culinary delights placed in front of us. As the durian season is literally at its end, our durian sellers told us that the Mau Sang Wang and the D24 were the only two they had available and that the Mau Sang Wang was expensive as there wasn’t much in stock. Well, not much point bargaining as this was limited commodity and we had no other recourse. “OK,” said CW, “I think we’ll take one Mau Sang Wang and 2 D24’s”.
I think it was quite coincidental that each of these durians weighed about a kilogram each. Our durian seller dutifully weighed them and packed them into our usual takeaway boxes.
Every time I’ve been to the Imbi durian stall, I’ve contemplated taking photos of the durian seller and his wife but always refrained as I wasn’t sure if they would like to be “advertised” on my blog. But, to my surprise, when I pulled out my camera this time to take a few photos of our durians, the durian seller’s wife started making a few flattering comments about my camera. That’s when I took the opportunity to ask her permission if I could take a photo of them for my blog on the internet. She was so thrilled and immediately set about trying to get her pose in position with the durians, also asking her more camera-shy husband to try looking decent for the camera.
Here’s a photo of each of them separately. His wife (and executive assistant and cashier) decided to pose beside one of her precious durians and wanted me to make sure that I got the Mau Sang Wang signage into the photo (top right hand side next to her ear). She speaks proper mandarin.
The durian seller was a man in motion and it was a challenge to get a good shot of him, but he did look quite smart in his matching hat and jacket (it was a cool night and a rainy evening). He speaks almost no mandarin but cantonese. I wonder what language they communicate in, but she seems to speak to him in mandarin and he seems to understand but his language tends towards being sort of non-verbal towards her.
Our durian seller certainly did a quick job of opening all the durian husks and we were away from the stall in less than ten minutes after our decision was made.
We made our way over to the regular Bak Kut Teh stall and after copious consumption of our bak kut teh, began our copious (well it is for just 3 of us) consumption of our durian purchase.
As we have seen in previous photos, the D24’s always appear lighter in color and intensity and in flavor to the Mau Sang Wangs. I record it again here just to show that it is indeed still the case.
SW and I decided to keep the biggest seeds, and we noted that they all came from the D24. The Mau Sang Wang only yielded rather deformed looking seeds which had no reproductive (or productive) potential and did not serve our next intention (which I am sure you can guess what it is).
These seeds were the largest, heaviest and roundest seeds, we ate them as clean as we could and put them into one of the empty styrofoam boxes to take with us (which must have seemed weird to the Bak Kut Teh staff as we normally throw all the bags into the bin).
We’re really struggling with the quality of the durians in KL now at the Imbi stall, SW and I will have to check out the other vendors around town to see what their quality is like. There is a possibility that different plantations will have different durians which come into season so I am not excluding the possibility that we may be missing out on some.