Durian on Airasia

So I was flying back from BKK to Singapore in the late afternoon on Airasia. The flight was completely full, (which is great for them, bad for us) and I had my usual aisle seat. A big chinese guy (BCG) sat next to me and occupied both the arm rests, leaving me to shrink myself as much as possible so that I wouldn’t be injured by the trollies whizzing by.

Most of the flight was uneventful until it was approaching landing time. As the pilot put on the “fasten seat belt sign” and the plane did big circles in the sky, BCG suddenly whipped out a packet from somewhere (not sure which pocket because he didn’t have a bag) and popped some crisps into his mouth. After a few audible crunches, a waft or durian spread around the plane. I don’t think he had any idea of general decorum or that the durian smell could be offensive to others.

After a few crunches, I tried to get his attention: “excuse me” I said politely, no response. Again, but this time a bit more firmly. This time he stopped crunching and turned to look at me and said “she me”

That’s when I realized he was from mainland China, which explained his behaviour and put everything back in focus for me.

Well then, my next aim was to find out why he was eating the durian and what he thought about it.

He told me he bought it while on vacation in Bangkok, the tour guide brought him and his friends (15 of them at the back of the plane) to a shop selling all sorts of snacks including these durian crisps (dehydrated fruit pieces). He bought 3 big packs, which consisted of 6 little packs inside. Altogther it cost him 1000 Baht, which translates to about RM 5-6 per little packet.

Asked about the flavor, he said it was his first time trying durian and he thought it was delicious. He said that it was clear that people have a love-hate on first taste which would make for stimulating discussion back home in Shanghai.

Yes, Shanghai has durian too (usually Thai export) but its usually frozen and he never felt the urge or had the company to try it. Now he wants to try the fresh one, which I told him would have to wait until June-July to get the good ones.

Finally I asked him if I could take a photo of the packet he had. After he popped the last crisp into his mouth, he handed it to me saying that I could have it “for my research”.

I told him that I had also bought some but not of the same brand and he thought that was hilarious…

As you know, most flights including Airasia prohibit durians, but this is certainly one durian snack that you can enjoy on board.

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Another brand of Durian Chocolates at LCCT departure lounge shops

Another brand of Durian Chocolates from Malaysia

While waiting for my Airasia flight, I went into the Duty Free shop at the LCCT international departure lounge. I ended up buying some chocolates for the people I was meeting and came across this new chocolate by a Malaysian brand.

It was all a bit weird, the packaging first led me to think it was a ketuput but actually meant to be the thorns of a durian. And the whole buy 3 get 1 free was so up front and center that you wonder whether there is something rather cheap and gimmicky about this item. Or else you better make sure whoever you are buying it for as a gift really likes durian….

Even the name is rather strange, “Durianna” sounds like it might be targeting female buyers (?) and the pricing of all 4 boxes below RM 60 when most other chocolates are in the RM 18 and above range is also quite revealing. I guess durian chocolates really aren’t popular, but I’m not sure if a low price is going to make durian lovers convert. Or maybe it is intended as a purchase for those who wish to play a prank on their friends….

The back of the packaging is just as revealing, they write “ingredients” but unlike other food products, don’t tell you what each percentage is. All you get to know is what kind of calories you’re piling on… great….

Durian Booklet produced by the Penang Tourism Board

Parental Unit M today asked me over lunch if I had seen the different types of delicious durians in Penang. She doesn’t know I have this blog (at least I think she doesn’t know) and I replied that I had indeed tasted many different types of Penang durian and knew their flavors and some of their names.

She received this brochure by email from a friend and was rather inspired to make a trip to Penang to sample the ones mentioned. I said that it would only be right to attempt this during peak season, July through to September and not before (if we want to sample the range). And ideally, it would be 3 trips, one per month, because like the stock market, you just can’t time it to get everything you want.

Anyway, I thought it would be nice to make the brochure available on this site, since I haven’t come across it on my travels and you’re very welcome to view it and let me know what you think of their durian depictions, durian poetry and other snippets of weird and wonderful information.DurianBooklet

Durians in the News

I’ve been meaning to post these for a while, but they’ve been on my Blackberry and I only just got round to clearing my picture files.

Aromatic Perceptions

 

This one is about smelly foods (like durian) yielding the best flavors…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one below is about the vandalism of a very strange durian art piece….

Durian Elephant Sculpture

 

A Singapore Souvenir: Durian Merlion Cookies

I was buying some green tea for a friend at the supermarket in Takashimaya, Singapore when I spied this very strange confectionary.

Durian Merlions

 

A box of about ten inches by ten inches of Durian flavored merlion* cookies cost SGD 5.50.

 

And if you prefer mangosteen cookies, they have that flavor too (see bottom half of the photo).

 

I have no idea how they taste, maybe I’ll buy them for a friend and then ask to share it ao that I can try a piece… ha ha.

 

What other flavors might become available? Imagine, a soursop or chiku cookie? I think durian cookies are already quite a strange thing. Why would you prefer to have a cookie over the real deal!

 

* For the uninitiated, the Merlion is a Singapore icon. There’s a big statue of it on Marina Bay, spitting water out for good luck. You can read more about Merlion history. Also, opposite the Merlion in Singapore, there is Singapore’s famous performing theatre, the Esplanade, which is also fondly known as the “Durians” because of the metallic spiky external exterior.