More on Durian Derivatives in Thailand

When we were browsing around in the Bangkok Isetan (together with last post) looking for something to fill the emptying stomach, I was fascinated with the colorful and presentable offerings of ice-cream and other sweet things. (SW and I ended up having ice-cream instead of a curry rice).

Durian Ice Cream at the Central World Isetan Bangkok Thailand

Durian Ice Cream at the Central World Isetan Bangkok Thailand

I noticed that they had durian flavor, which is unusual but I suppose not so unusual for Bangkok. One thing I usually observe at ice cream parlors is the popularity of the various flavors. It isn’t always easy to tell which flavors are the most popular, simply because:

1. If its really popular then the box would have been renewed and therefore the ice cream box would be full

2. If its not so popular, its been there a long time and just been gradually scooped away

3. It might be a new flavor that’s just been added.

4. Time of year (hot season?)

A quick look at this photo tells you that based on point no. 2, ranking of popularity would be (in order of least liked flavors)

1. Chocolate Beans

2. Peach

3. Rum Raisin

4. Durian (Probably a tie between 3 & 4)

Or could these be the top 4 most popular flavors as in point no. 1?

I look forward to hearing what you think.

Next, the Mochi counter.

Durian Flavored Mochi Anyone?

Durian Flavored Mochi Anyone?

If you’re not sure what a Mochi is, you can find it here. Essentially a paste made of sticky rice and moulded into a shape, these ones were bite sized half planets that looked creamy and dreamy. I was really tempted to try one but SW would have put me on a guilt trip as I already had the ice-cream in my hand.

From the 3 row stacks of the Durian flavored Mochi, I concluded that it must indeed be quite a popular flavor, perhaps people purchase it as a surprise gift for others…

SW and I have always believed that we prefer the real durian rather than derivatives of it but actually it totally depends on how it is made and whether it is fresh. The texture is definitely not the same, but sometimes it can surprise you.

Would something like this be popular in the US or Europe?

I will try it.

Maybe next time.

4 thoughts on “More on Durian Derivatives in Thailand

  1. I must have missed these spots when I was in Bangkok, what exactly is the Isetan?

    The only “altered” durian I tried when in Bangkok was durian with sticky rice. Exact same thing as the Thai favorite Mango with sticky rice, as it comes with the delicious coconut cream dressing and everything. If I remember correctly, I found it in the food court on the top floor of the big IT mall (MRT?).

    I did experience durian ice cream in Singapore, as the street vendors sell them as ice cream sandwiches. Not bad, but not great. For $1 though, you can’t really go wrong!

    The best durian derivative though in my opinion are the durian cakes found in KL. It’s like a thin durian crepe filled with some cream and other goodies. Yum!

    As for success in the States, I couldn’t imagine it working out. Nearly everyone I have discussed durian with who actually knows what it is thinks that it’s repulsive. There’s a niche of durian aficionados in places like NY, SF, LA, Miami, etc. where it could do fairly well in small quantities, but definitely not on any kind of large, mainstream scale in commercial supermarkets. I do remember now trying out a durian smoothie and durian cake at a restaurant in L.A., but it was really expensive and made with the imported stuff which just isn’t the same 😦

    • Ah, the Isetan is a multi level department store that is located in one corner of Central World Plaza (the next posh shopping complex after Siam Paragon). It is a famous and long time Japanese brand, very well regarded and recognized throughout Asia. We have one here at KLCC (twin towers) and at Mid Valley. There’s one in Singapore too, along Orchard road. They have a decent supermarket, a good cooked food section and their selection of sushi and sakae can’t be beat. Most of the Japanese (very loyal to their own), shop there frequently for every household item.

      Durian with sticky rice is pretty good, although I have to say that I’m a bit of a traditionalist and prefer the mango which is also absolutely delectable in Thailand. Which durian cakes are you talking about with regards to KL? What’s this durian crepe you’re talking about and where did you try it?

      As for American aficionados, well, certainly it is an acquired taste. It would be interesting as a statistic to find out how many asians dislike durians. My 2 sisters would definitely be included!

  2. I hear you on the mango w/ sticky rice. I think it’s better because the mango is very low in fat and very sweet, so contrasts really nicely with the coconut cream.

    But as far as the cake/crepe goes, I found them on the basement floor of one of the mega shopping complexes along Jalan Bukit Bintang (narrows it down right? :). If I remember correctly, the shopping center is on the south corner of Bukit Bintang and Sultan Ismael intersection. It looks like Google Maps is calling it the Bukit Bintang Plaza. So anyways, in the basement is a stand alone vendor (across from McDonalds I think) that sells them in packs of 4 or 10. Definitely worth trying them!

    I found that the Asians that don’t like durian are mostly younger or have spent a long time in the U.S. And I have yet to meet someone from a rural area that doesn’t like it.

    On a side note, cats love the stinky fruit (at least the ones in Asia)! I’ll have to do an experiment here and see if my cat likes the imported stuff or not 🙂

    • Hi Dan!

      I think the Department store you went to is either Lot 10 (where the Isetan is), the building is clad in green, or it may have been Sungei Wang complex which is not quite as upmarket as Lot 10 but very busy and usually full of people.

      I agree with you on the good observation that the Asians who don’t like durians being the ones who’ve lived away from Asia most of their lives. What is it about the people who have never lived in Asia who like it though? This could be a topic for a whole thesis. I mean, is it because if you live in Asia, you’re more exposed to intense flavors and hence pick up a taste for strong flavors? Or is it just exposure from an early age… or just bad durian PR (preconcieved notions)?

      I wonder whether Americans from a rural area like durian? It might be a good test. And yes, it may also be true for cats, which would lead me to think that it’s probably environmental-diet related….

      Show me a cat-durian photo!

      Stinky Stinky

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