26th August 2011 – Durian Crazy in the Singapore Newspapers

When I opened the Singapore newspaper The Straits Times today I spotted durian mentioned on 3 different pages of the paper.

The first one that I spotted was the one of the presidential candidates sniffing (or admiring) one at a durian stall:

Presidential candidate admiring a durian

 

 

 

 

Is it a Mau Sang Wang?

 

 

 

 

The next one was an ad on the front page of the classified section :

Durian Stall Advertisement

 

 

 

Hey, it really is Mau Sang Wang!

 

 

 

 

And finally, the following one was the actual advertisement for the stall with an incentive to visit:

Durian Advertisement in Singapore

 

 

So if you are looking to have a durian party in Singapore, this might be the place to call to organize it for you…

If the address isn’t clear enough, here it is:

6 Clementi Road

#01-08 (AYE Exit 9), Near NUS

Opening hours, 1pm-2am daily

Tel: 9122 5222

 

Maybe if I can visit their stall I can ask them whether they’ll give a special discount to Stinky Spikes readers 🙂

 

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Singapore Island Country Club (Bukit) – Durian on the Menu

Last weekend, we were invited to the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) for lunch. We had a huge lunch consisting of the local favorites, mee rebus, chai tao kway, char kway teow, satay, hainan chicken rice, teochew beef noodles.. a lot for a party of five. Even though the restaurant was busy and almost bursting at its seams, the food was mediocre at best.

Durian on the SICC Menu

On the front page of the menu, I spied… Durian! I got so excited that I called the waiter over especially to check if they served fresh durian in the cafe? (really? could it be true?)

“Sorry miss, it’s not fresh durian, actually its durian ice-cream..” he said “Do you want?”

Ahhhhh, of course, it had to be. Upon closer inspection of the menu, I realized that there was a clue on the menu which I hadn’t noticed. I decided not to have any that day, but have a look at the menu and see if you can tell…

Durian – Advertisement, Craving, Frozen Dissatisfaction

I had to make a trip via a budget airline to Singapore at the end of last month (okay, it was Jetstar) and that was on route onto a long haul flight to Europe. The only entertainment the airline provides is its magazine, which has a slew of curious advertisements and editorials on where to go and what to eat. I spied 2 pages in the magazine that is relevant to this blog: 1) a durian advert 2) a mention of a durian derivative.

So for number 1):

Visit Penang durian advertisement

And number 2)

Recommendation for durian ice cream in Vietnam Capital

Here – under “must eats”, durian ice cream is recommended at Fanny which sells home-made ice cream. But I have to tell you, I’ve tried Vietnamese durian before and I’m not sure if the ice cream will really taste.

But maybe durians in Hanoi could be different.

As a result of this, I got rather hungry on the plane and an unreasonable craving for durians by the time I landed. I expressed this to my mother who surprised me by telling me that she had a secret stash in the freezer.

“What! A secret stash? When did you get it?”

“I got it from Ah Di, he said that he had very good durian so I bought some and kept it in the freezer… if you like, I’ll defrost it and we can eat some”

Yes, my mother is as game to eat durians anytime as I am.

So, out of the freezer they came…

Straight from the freezer

I have to say they were frozen but what disturbed me was the formation of icicles which is usually not a good sign as it will decrease the quality and texture of the flesh.

(although the aroma persists, despite the freezing process)

“Hey mum, what type of durian is this?”

“It’s the best of course, Mau Sang Wang…”

Hmm. OK.

The frozen one before I ate it

There was another small box that she took out and I asked what this durian was and why it was packed separately.

“Oh, this is one that Uncle gave me, he says this is the one that the Thai King eats”

Hmm… interesting, I’ve never heard of the durian that the Thai King eats, but I suppose it must be Thai then. (if anyone knows what type of durian this is, please send me a message)

Ate one, check out the small seed

Anyway, it tasted pretty good, I couldn’t wait until it thawed completely so I waited about ten minutes and ate it still cold like ice-cream just out of the freezer. Quite delicious. You can see the seeds are quite small.

I let my mother have the other piece so that she could try it too.

Then I tried some of the other Mau Sang Wang but the flavor was not to my taste and the icicles made it too difficult to eat frozen. Anyway, this aspect of it was dissatisfying but my initial craving was already somewhat satiated. 🙂


Ps. If you want to buy from Ah Di, his fruit stall is at the Farrer Road market and has a wide variety of fruit. My mum has bought from him for the last 3 decades.

Durian Extravaganza: Expedition in Penang

Durian Stall in Penang (front view)

If you didn’t know that durians from Penang are famous world-over, you do now.

Balik Pulau in Penang is one of Malaysia’s premium durian cultivation zones, with the creative farm-owners cross breeding the fruit to yield the most luscious flavors, colors, aromas and innovative names.

I was in Penang for work and including the 2 in tow from KL, there were a total of 6 of us. After the work day was done with, we rewarded ourselves with a durian feast which CyL had booked in advance.
“If you don’t book and you don’t arrive early, you won’t get the best” she said knowingly. It sounded almost like a threat that if we didn’t wrap up work in time, someone else might steal our fun.
So punctually at 5.30pm, we concluded business matters and piled into our vehicles. If you have been stuck in Penang’s almost-as-famous traffic jams before, you probably know that the short distance from Pulau Tikus to Jalan Macalister took us 30 minutes. Initially, I thought we were going to the usual Jalan Anson stall (which we had patronized all these years), but MG said that the stall owners were reluctant to acknowledge and exchange substandard quality durians which were charged at premium prices.

So where is the Durian Stall?

It’s right on the corner of Lorong Susu and Jalan Macalister, you can park along Lorong Susu. I’ve labelled both stalls on the map below just in case you are desperate for durian and one stall isn’t open for any reason.

Durian Stall in Penang

And what durian varieties do they have?

Here’s a signboard that will help you with your choice. Not that they have all the types all the time, because it depends on the specific trees and when the fruits fall.

The tools of the trade

Tools of the trade

Ok, now let’s get to the durians. It was almost dinner time so we went crazy and ordered all the best varieties they had.

Green Skin Durian

I think this was the Bamboo

They were all good, very different flavors and textures. Yummy.

The Durian Susu

Durian Fingerprint Texture Test

An unripe durian is very firm and almost dry to touch. The best way to know if the durian is ripe and ready for eating is to press your finger into it and see if it leaves an imprint, indicating its softness and moisture.

(I would not recommending this test on durians displayed in supermarket packages, the supermarkets get very upset when there are lots of fingerprints all over the durian they are trying to sell).

As a substitute for finger-pressing, use your nose. The smell of ripe durians always gives it away and the stronger and more tantalizing the scent. Color is deceptive as some durians are lighter than others, but generally durian flesh does darken in color slightly on ripening.

All the durians on the table – I think each of us must have eaten at least one whole if not two…

Various durians on the table

Of course, there is no way I could return without any durians for SW so we selected several and put them in a box. Green Skin, Butter, Mau Sang Wang were the three top ones, so those got packed into plastic containers and wrapped in cling film.

All these in the box for take-away

Looks quite a lot doesn’t it? But it was wrapped up into only 7 boxes. Interestingly while we were there wrapping these, several tourists from Macau also visited the stall and wanted to bring some back. Unfortunately, their tour guide informed them that Airasia would not accept durians onto their flight and that it was pointless to spend money buying them as they would probably be confiscated.

Hey Airasia, maybe its time to allow people to bring it on as long as its packed and sealed well (they have to use a cling wrap service for the entire bag perhaps) and pay a surcharge for these. After all, what else is there really to buy as a real cultural souvenir in Penang?

Durian menu in Chinese

Some parting shots, the durian names in chinese, for the benefit of our chinese readers, and a shot of all the durian husks in bins waiting for the garbage truck.

Durian Skin Bin

Maybe the durian skins are recycled or made into compost…

This is definitely a stall worth visiting, and if you don’t eat durian (what are you doing reading this site!!) then the stall also has great mangosteens and rambutans, jackfruit and cempadak, so you can gorge on that instead.