Durian Stall at Jalan Jelatek (Part 1)

It was a public holiday on Monday (Awal Muharram if you must know), SW had been out biking in the hills behind the Zoo Negara in the morning while I was resting my back muscles, which I had pulled the day before lifting pots. The food in the fridge had been demolished the day before and we were getting hungry at around 4pm. SW wanted a coffee and a croissant, but being a public holiday we weren’t sure which cafes would be open and serving food nearby. We drove aimlessly down Ampang and decided to pop into EarthFood to see what their new place is like. For those who aren’t from around the city, EarthFood is an organic shop and restaurant. The owner and manager Charles is a nice guy who is friendly and chatty. He showed us the wood fired pizza oven which was still under construction (expected end Dec or mid Jan) and told us of the spa above the cafe which was also to come. Charles indicated that they had tea sets, but unfortunately had run out of tea cakes, so it was only scones remaining. “Ok, we’ll have scones and a coffee and a red berries tea please”. The scones are served with a dollop of jam but I highly recommend a thin spread of butter over each bit… delicious.

But, how big is a scone anyway. My tummy was still sending signals to my brain to search for more satiation. “Where to now?” asked my driver-for-the-day. “Oh, how about we go check out some durian stalls…” My DFTD’s eyes opened wide and he said “Oohhh”.

“Turn left and get onto Jalan Ampang, we’ll head towards Jelatek” said the Commander in Chief.

He did as he was bid and from a relatively traffic free road, we turned onto a busy thoroughfare where we had to keep right to turn towards Setiawangsa. Jalan Jelatek just a mere hundred meters down the road was also exceedingly busy for a late afternoon, the barbers and little shops were definitely making money for the holiday.

Jom Durian Stall beneath the Signboard

There was nowhere to stop at the first durian stall that we came to, which was similarly thriving on the holiday season, so I asked SW to go round the bend to try and find somewhere to park. It was good we did because that’s when we noticed another durian stall that was quiet, sleepy and completely unpatronized, and the boy who manned it was leaning against the table listening to music and swatting the flies away. “Let’s go check it out” and SW said ” Well, we should have some durian here”, tilting his head like a little bird at me to indicate that it was my job to go negotiate and get the durian.

The boy told me that all his durians were kampong durians and assured me that they were very good. How much was it? 10 RM per kilo. Hard to argue with that when you were paying RM 40 per kilo in the peak months. “Okay” I said, “Choose me a goooood one please”.

Giving it a sniff before giving it to us

We sat down and awaited our feast.

So he sniffed……..

Cutting the Kampong Durian open

and he cut it open…

Kampung Durian yummy

and put it on our table….

It was thick rich aromatic flesh that greeted our eyes. Not the same tenderness and softness of a Mau Sang Wang but certainly quite fulfilling all the same. In the background of this photo, you can see that they are also selling them in packets of 3 for 10 RM but I think that a freshly opened ripe durian can’t really be beat.

Here’s  better look at the flesh, you can see that it’s a nice color and quite firm, but bite into it and it just yields and melts.

Rich and Creamy Kampong Durian

Yummy it was and we ate what we saw and asked to pack the rest for the freezer. We paid RM 19 for this one.

We’re so lucky to get another bumper crop of durians from Pahang in December and January, before the dry spell of Chinese New Year, this would be the time to stock up the freezer. Prices have also come down a lot due to bad weather, apparently most people don’t bother going out for durian during the rainy season. Well, all the more for us!

Note: If you intend to head over to Jelatek for durians, I would advise you to go with someone who speaks a bit of Malay, you’re more likely to get ripped off a bit if you don’t.

Durian Stall in Sri Hartamas

Durian Stall in Sri Hartamas

I’m usually in the city center but my gym teacher now teaches my favorite exercise class out at Sri Hartamas. It’s a long way to go for me but the class is so enjoyable that its worth it. So after sweating up a stink, it was time to get in the car and head home for a hot shower. As we drove along the main road to leave Sri Hartmas (Jalan 23/70a), I spied a durian stall which I had never known was there.

The signs on the stall clearly state that the durians are from Pahang and is pretty hilarious because it says “SPECIAL. GUARANTI BOLEH MAKAN” which translates as “GUARANTEED EDIBLE”. The menu lists the Mau Sang Wang or Musang King, the D101, the D24 and D2. All famous breeds of durian.

It didn’t look particularly busy but then again most people prefer to head out for their durians when it gets a little cooler, later in the day. I didn’t stop to try this time around (this photo was taken from a moving vehicle) but probably will have to check it out the next time I’m there.

If you want to give it a try and let me know what the durians are like there, here is the map which will help you find it. 

A cartoon about Durians

Here’s a cartoon about durians from the local Malaysian newspaper. It illustrates how serious the durian industry is about this precious fruit… many animals consider finding a ripe durian a real prize, but usually they would wait until the durian falls to the ground and ripens. That’s usually when it is at its most aromatic.

Precious durian - No squirrels allowed

Durians in a healthy freeze dried packet

When I was walking around a shopping mall in Singapore a few weekends ago, I came across a shop that was small but very brightly lit. It had an attractive interior with lots of different colored packages and a very eye-catching advertisement out in the front of the shop with a shelf full of tidbits for tasting. Usually, I’m not one to stop for tasting but my mother was curious and we ended up pausing momentarily at the shelf while she inspected their merchandise.

Durian crisps? Baked and Healthy?

That was certainly enough time for the bubbly sales executive to bounce over to us and proceed to start opening the jars for us to try the samples, each piece about the size of a small fingernail. The samples turned out to be freeze dried fruit and a mixture of vegetables. Mangosteen, Lychee, Longan, Apple, Banana (usual flavors) and Durian. The vegetables included potatoes, tapioca, yam, bittergourd and broccoli (?!). So mum had to ask about each different flavor in turn.

After she tried the mangosteen, “How does the Lychee taste? Is it as sweet as the mangosteen?”

“Yes madam, but it’s quite different, here try a piece… it isn’t the same level of sweetness but we don’t add any sugar” she said cheerfully.

Patiently, she opened up each jar as mother pointed to this one, then that one. I was standing there observing this rather skeptically when I decided to join in, since I wasn’t doing anything else anyway. “Ok, how about the durian? Does it taste good?”

Durian Nutritional Value

Bubbly sales executive couldn’t really tell me much about the product, except that it was known as a health food (well, it is all relative I suppose) and that the brand was local. She didn’t know exactly where the durians came from. Fortunately, it states its origin on the back of the packet. Not surprisingly it came from the enterprising agricultural nation of Thailand, but that in itself disappointed me slightly as I’ve never thought Thai Durian particularly inspiring for its aroma, textures or flavors.

Having sampled the sample, I have to tell you that my verdict was “not bad”. It certainly isn’t greasy like some other ones and if you have a craving, this might satisfy you for a while.

Mother ended up purchasing 3 packets, broccoli, taro and durian.

Various dehydrated snacks from Xndo

At around $5 SGD, this little packet of 50grams of chips doesn’t come cheap (mangosteen goes for even more at $10 SGD). Try strolling by the XNDO store (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) in the basement of Centerpoint Shopping Center next to the supermarket and get the bubbly sales executive to let you sample some freeze dried Durian, Broccoli, Taro, Mangosteen and Lychee too.