Organic durian

Mum was off to Europe and told me that she left some “organic durian” in the freezer and that I should eat eat when next home. It was most exciting, I was very curious as to what this organic durian might mean to its taste and texture. Upon defrosting (ideally leave it for around 4 hours at room temperature), it smelled pungent and distinctly durian. The color was not too intense yellow (so not a musang king) but had the same creamy texture. It looked like it was probably a small-ish durian judging from the size of each piece of delicious fruit. Not too bitter, not too sweet, the smell definitely won hands down but the taste was (in my opinion) fairly standard. Not bad but also not the best I’ve had.

If you look closely at the seeds, some are full and round, while some are odd shaped and sort of reminiscent of a baroque pearl. This is quite unusual as most seeds in a musang king tend to be somewhat odd shaped, while the D24s and the kampong durian variety tend to yield very evenly shaped egg-like seeds.

Hmm. There’s another pack in the freezer for next time and I wonder if I’ll feel differently about it when I next try it. I’ll also find out when mum gets back, where the source of the organic durian is from and what makes it more “organic” than others…(supposedly the pesticide sprays but who knows…)

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Arguments over Durian Trees in Singapore

Singapore flat residents involved in a thorny issue

Thursday June 21, 2012

SINGAPORE: A durian tree in Moulmein Road, Singapore, became a thorn in relations among residents of a HDB block of flats nearby when fights ensued over who could claim the fruits.

The Straits Times reported that the dispute began three years ago when a resident, known only as Chua, said he was just looking at the tree when another resident, R. Lim, shouted at him to stay away from “his tree”.

He claimed his father planted the tree 20 years ago.

Last week, resident Lily Wee called police after Lim, a businessman in his 50s, shouted expletives at her when she wanted to take a durian.

Root of a problem: A resident looking at the durian tree that has become a bone of contention among neighbours in Moulmein Road, Singapore.

“There are three kinds of people in this world – the good, the bad and the ugly. He belongs to the last group,” said Wee, calling Lim a “durian bully”.

Residents would wait under the tree each fruiting season, sometimes for hours, to take the ripened fruits.

“We can always get fruit from Geylang, but we choose to wait here to kio liu lian,” said a resident known as Patrick, referring to a Hokkien phrase expressing the thrill of getting free durians.

About 100 durians could be harvested each year from the single tree, which first bore fruit seven years ago.

Frustrated over the fiasco, some residents had asked for the tree to be chopped down, but the Moulmein-Kallang municipal council had let the tree be.

It will, however, put up two notices stating that the neighbourhood trees belong to the Housing Board and are maintained by the town council.

Resident Peter Yang approved of not chopping the tree, and said neighbours had begun to bond as they queued and chatted while waiting for the fruits to fall.

“Despite a little bit of nonsense, you still get some good out of it,” he said.

From the Singapore Straits Times

Durians for sale in Kemang, Jakarta

Durian Stall in Kemang, Jakarta

While walking around hot and dusty Kemang, I spied a little mobile truck stall parked on a the corner of a petrol station selling durians. I  had to pause to peruse the wares.

Charmingly named  Faris Durians, it was clear upon closer inspection that they were undeniably from Thailand.

Then I asked about the Medan durians and whether there was a difference? The seller smiled and said it depends on taste (polite way of maybe saying yes, the Medan ones are not very good…). It was clear that the Medan ones were smaller than the Thai ones, and for sure he’d want to sell the imported stuff first.

Faris Durians: Monthong and Medan

Durian Goods for Sale at Jakarta International Airport Terminal 2

While seeing AR off at Terminal 2, I spied this little shop selling some durian based confectionary and products. The shopkeepers permitted me to take some photos to share on this blog.

Durian and Jackfruit products

I am not very sure what these are exactly, maybe dodol? Anyway if anyone has tried them please tell me what it is like.

Durian dodol

Here’s the durian dodol long sticks (sticky durian cooked cake).

The stall can be found at the Departure Hall E3.

Local confectionary stall at airport

Terminal 2, CGK at Gate E3

Durian Crazy At Home

Well mum just couldn’t resist. When the regular fruit-man called her to say that he had some of the best durians available “today” (they always say that by the way), she agreed to buy up the six he had in hand and freeze them for a feast. The six durians filled 3 decent

First box of defrosted durians at home

medium sized boxes which mum immediately put into the freezer to keep them as fresh as possible. On the day when we were visiting at 4pm in the afternoon, she took them out to thaw and filled the entire house with the characteristic and unmistakable durian aroma. The durians were defrosted but still slightly chilled. Yum.

“What type is this mum?” I ask.

“Oh, I am not sure.. maybe its mau sang wang? All the durians were very small and the seeds, look are tiny.” She says.

Second box of defrosted durians at home

Well, I didn’t think it was MSW because firstly the flesh isn’t as yellow as other MSW’s. And the fact that it was small, like each pellicle of fruit (about 3-4 seeds) was probably only about 15cm in length tells me that this is probably a smaller species. The smell wasn’t as strong, probably because of the freezing process, and the flesh was mild and just ripe. The seeds were tiny and irregularly shaped – not good for planting. I think she said the fruit-man claimed they were from Pahang, which is not surprising because it’s such a large agricultural state.

Anyway the durians tasted good and between 4 of us, we polished off every single seed with great delight. (and the burping after proves it)

Third box of durians at home

How do you interpret Durians at the SAM?

If you’re in Singapore for the weekend in these next few months, do drop by the Singapore Art Museum (SAM). I went over the weekend and had so much fun. The Panorama contemporary exhibit is a lot of fun, don’t miss the wonderful video installations themed “Love”, “Painting” and many others which are video collages of old movies featuring aspects of the named theme.

A poster in Lee Wen’s collection

In Lee Wen’s office display area, I came across the first reference to a durian in a yellow poster that he had up high on the wall (I had to get SW to take this photo with arms fully vertically extended). The only reference was a drawing of the fruit but the advertisement was for something completely unrelated. You can see that it’s an interesting depiction showing a duck (?) grasping a durian with its feet and the durian seems to be dropping down to earth.

Of course a real life event like this is unlikely. Ducks can’t pick durians up with their feet and most probably not lift them in flight at all…. but it gets your attention and certainly adds a nice picture feature to the yellow poster and tiny words.

Durian Vacuum Cleaner?

Then the next very strange durian interpretation I found in the upstairs gallery was this… a durian vacuum cleaner and a durian remote control car! What fun. Vacuum cleaner for the domesticated lady and the remote control car for the kid at heart?

I didn’t try plugging in the vacuum cleaner but we did start playing with the remote control durian which was quite entertaining for about 5 minutes before we handed off the controls to the next person. (warning: don’t run the durian control car into people’s feet, its pretty painful!)

Here’s the description of what the artist Lee Wen intended:

Durian Art – Vacuum Cleaners and Remote Control Cars?

Quite amusing huh?

“Performing arts….”

Lee Wen is the artist who paints himself yellow (reminds me of the man in the Digi advertisements) and walks around almost nude with strange poses or props. I’m sure you’ll find it as whimsical and entertaining as I did…

ps. Do stop at the circular ping pong table and give it a try! It was great fun 🙂

Thai Food Fair at Isetan, Singapore in June

If you are in Singapore and walking past Isetan at Shaw Center along Orchard Road, you’ll catch a whiff like I did of the durians for sale in the basement.

Thai Durian Stall at Isetan

It looks like Thailand is ramping out their distribution of fresh durian in Asia, competing with the Malaysian initiative to do so.

The durian buffet is on until 14th June, so another week to go if you want an all you can eat for twenty bucks in Singapore (cheap!). You get one hour to eat as much as you can and I think you sit at the tables just by the stall. Apart from durians, there’s also lots of other thai delicacies, fruit and foods that you can buy and try. Beware that lunch queues are extremely long and a 5$ som tum will have you waiting for about 15 minutes…

Thai Durian Buffet at Isetan