We had a guest, JC, on the 30th of December who was from Switzerland and it was his first time visiting Malaysia. It was actually his first trip to Asia.We had a long day at work and then decided to take him out for dinner to one of my usual Italian haunts on CBB (Delucca, if you must know) where we had further business discussions. After concluding the dinner at approximately 10pm, we felt bad about leaving him back at his hotel so early and decided to show him around some night spots of KL.
First on our agenda was to introduce him to durians and we decided on heading over to our favorite durian seller on Imbi, but it was too late as our usual seller had already packed up and left for home probably a good hour ago. Mildly disappointed, we contemplated giving up the search but thought we’d give Jalan Alor a go since there was more to see there in terms of nightlife as well. The usual traffic chaos in Jalan Alor was an experience in itself but made the anticipation of the durian all the more exciting.
The Alor Durian Stall has not yet been featured in this blog, although I’ve been there several times, its usually a last resort as the traffic madness/ parking chaos and rates per kilo of durians tend to be more expensive than other stalls. However, I’m happy to say that this stall is a good fallback option, you just never know when you need to satisfy a craving or feed a friend. Furthermore, Jalan Alor is quite a scene, which is only special late and night, and the later the better, especially when the skies are dry.
Where is the stall? Right at the beginning of Jalan Alor, which is a one way street so its hard to miss unless cars are parked in front of the stall. It has a prime spot on the junction as you turn into Jalan Alor, occupying the first lot on the left of Jalan Alor and I wouldn’t be surprised if the stall has the number 1 on it.
The durian selection isn’t wide, but that’s because it isn’t the season. The 2 durian species available at this stall are the common and reliable favorites, the Bamboo and the Mau Sang Wang. We ordered one of each just to show JC the difference between the 2 species.
Initially, he was a bit uncertain as to whether he would like it once we got to the stall (and I suppose he came into contact with the famous aroma) but we had him so psyched up about it that he felt he just had to have some in order not to disappoint us since we had gone through all this effort to find a stall. Quite game, we got him to start off with a small bite before we then also took our seeds.
He picked the smallest one to try first and this was his initial bite and reaction…
We had a good laugh because he thought the taste was nothing at all like what it smelled like and his initial comment was “interesting”, which we took as a substitute for “disgusting”. But, he was game and after that first seed, took a few more.
After the Bamboo, we proceeded to taste the MSW which looked very good and smooth. A fine yellow flesh which looked like it would yield beautifully to light pressure.
We used all sorts of european analogies to describe the taste of the MSW which fortunately JC could thoroughly appreciate. A wine, champagney taste of the MSW, like a fragrant smooth fermenting jam with an interesting fibrous yet smooth texture… JC expressed that he really preferred the MSW to the Bamboo. So we told him that indeed he should because the MSW was twice the price, kilo for kilo.
We think that he truly enjoyed the durian but couldn’t finish the seeds, which we cheerily mopped up on his behalf and proceed to feast on a few other fruits that he wanted to try. Namely mangosteen and rambutan from the stall next door which he successfully learned to open on his own. JC was also very impressed that we could sit outside on the bustling street at 10.30 pm at night (which he said is impossible in Switzerland) and had hand washing facilities and a crew that cleaned up the tables after us in record timing of a blink of an eye. After consuming all these calories, we walked him down Jalan Alor and round Tengkat Tung Shin to Changkat Bukit Bintang, showing him the transition the neighbourhood is making from old to new.
JC met up with us again in Bangkok last week and told us that he tried the Thai durian, but was most disappointed as it lacked the oomph and distinct flavors of the Malaysian Durian. He’ll be back to support the durian industry for sure. We’ve won over another convert!