Christmas durians 2015

I made a really boozy fruitcake for SW to share with the office. 

 

My Christmas fruitcake

 
Just wanted to show it off ;). And I wondered whether at some point, someone would try to introduce durian into fruitcakes since almost every other confectionary has a durian flavor. But this was a British fruitcake, so no durian. 

After a family Christmas dinner of excellent chinese food last night, we opened a box of defrosted durian. My mum had squirrelled this box away last durian season a few months ago and said it was the last of the Mao Shan Wangs. 

 

mao shan wang

 
The color looked very pale for a cat mountain king but the flesh looked delicate and just peeled off the seed cleanly. So fantastic.

 

just 4 segments

 
Most of the flesh was slightly bitter with a mild fermented taste but there were also some parts where the taste was quite bland… Perhaps the freeze thaw process does rob some parts of their flavour. 

  

the pebble like seeds

 Still, a very good 8/10. We will be hunting around for more so stay tuned.

Advertisements

Kuala Lumpur Durian Stalls in SS2 Relocated to Jalan Harapan, Section 19

It was only a matter of time before this durian stall relocation happened. The durian stalls were in a prime location in Seapark. 

I saw this article in the news recently that the city council has finally decided to house the durian vendors (who took up precious parking lots) to a more permanent location. The “uproar” as stated in the news was due to the lack of parking spaces at the new location, and the lack of space for tables and stools for clients who wish to consume on the spot.

   

   
This article highlights some of the complaints… In summary, poor construction quality, lack of considerate vendor space, seating area, parking space for visitors, toilets etc etc. Traffic queues caused major congestions along the major road linking Section 19 to SS2. This road is already heavily used in the best of days. 

The councils response was that these were meant to be stalls and that if business was that good, they should open a proper shop. 

Frankly, I’m both surprised and disappointed with the council’s response. After all, they supply the permits and presumably charge for it. Did they not survey the human traffic to the stalls? See how much seating area would be required for each stall? How many cars would visit during peak season? 

The previous location was great as both tourists and locals could have dinner in the neighborhood and walk to the stalls for dessert. Seating areas were separated from the main road by a divider and a drain. 

From the description in the article, it sounds like the present area in Section 19 is literally a stall facing the main road so cars would occupy the road in order to park right next to the stalls. A nearby unlit lot was deemed too dangerous by a customer (yes, sad state of KL life now) to park the car and walk over.

An idea for the council could have been to provide more public car park space by lighting up and improving the unlit space. These would serve the nearby restaurants and encourage other businesses to consider the area attractive. Then, as durian is a seasonal and mostly a night time affair, rent the lots at night to these vendors with strict conditions to clear up every night. Alternatively, the stalls could be built near the parking lots with a toilet (though I tremble to think of the state of a public toilet in KL…). Charge the vendors more if their stalls but give them an adequate facility if the idea is to retain them in the neighborhood.

Well, city planning is unfortunately not a priority in Malaysia and this is just one example.

I couldn’t find a map of the new stall location but I made my best guess on this map. The area has changed a lot since I was last there.

Relocation of durian stalls from SS2 to Section 19

Affected stalls include Donald’s durian which has been reviewed on this blog before.

If you’ve been there recently, please let me know if the articles reflecting the concerns of the vendors are legitimate.

It’s a durian mochi shop

The vendors that took over the Tai Tai Pie Pie space on Queens Road East in Wan Chai is now a mochi shop that sells a few popular flavours, one of which is durian

The shop decor looks very simple (with fluorescent quite unattractive lighting in my opinion) and displays the oval shaped floured goods in white plastic tray-like boxes. 

 

Promoted flavours are mango and durian

   
While I was there mid afternoon, a few curious tourists and a local bought the peanut mochi. Judging by the trays, that was the most popular one. The durian mochi tray was still full. 

    
Not sure if they’re any good. I like tong yun but am less of a fan of mochi. 

These palm sized morsels sell for 15 HKD each but there was no obvious smells emanating from the shop even without packaging…. Perhaps it isn’t really good durian they’re using… The smell of Mao Shan Wang flesh permeates everything.

Hey, who bought all the durians at Park n Shop? 

On Saturday evening, all our plans for a meal with friends didn’t turn out as we had planned. So I decided that dinner would be had at home. I needed to buy some salad leaves to complement the larb moo I had in mind, so a supermarket stop was necessary.

What about some durian” said SW, “we can buy more of it while you’re getting the vegetables“. 

Not a bad idea I thought, perhaps more packets would be on sale. 

 

…but nowhere near half as good

 
As we marched over to the durian section, there were indeed lots of packets of durianBut not Musang King. Only Thai durian..what a croc. Two packets remained of the Malaysian durians, one of which had a tear in the cling film and the other looked liked it had been prodded and been subjected to unfair gravitational forces. 

 

yup.. thats all that’s left

 
I sniffed the pack with the slit in the packaging. Smelled a bit too fermented.., it was already over-ripe and without refrigeration these delicate morsels don’t keep well. The other pack would be the same. 

 

and still marked at full price

 
A quick check in the refrigerated section yielded no other packets of durian (you may remember I had been misled before… See this post).

So nope, no durians for us on Saturday’s dessert menu. 

Durian Supply and Demand, Economics and Crime

This article presents an example of how China controls the market in Asia these days. If China needs it, resources worldwide are commanded to cater for the demand. In recent articles, the chinese middle class consumer is one of increasingly discerning taste. Better homes, better cars, better branded clothing and of course, better food. 

Perhaps it used to be the case that Chinese consumers would eat whatever durian they were presented with, be it from Vietnam, Thailand or the Philippines. The falling prices of oil and gas has probably benefitted the middle class. Imports become cheaper and more importantly, accessible and available. In the context of durian from Malaysia, the factors that have won favor are:

1) flavor and hybrids of durian after decades of careful selection by Malaysian agriculturists (hats off)

2) weakening of the ringgit

3) open Malaysia-China policies to encourage more tourists from China

4) improved cold chain logistics

5) general increasing awareness and adoration of durian 

Vietnamese farmers have been subjected to the massive price fluctuations that follow a change in tastes. If only these farmers knew which durians make the cut, they could still make a potential fortune.   

Well done to father and son for apprehending these robbers. The Borneo Post reported that three out of the four thieves were caught in the middle of the night sneaking more than 20 fruits out in gunny sacks. 

  

Park n Shop Wan Chai has Mao Shan Wang Durian on sale!

Yesterday was my first purchase and taste of durian this winter. 

At the Park n Shop in Hopewell Center, I usually cast a glance over at the shelf where the pomelos and other seasonal fruit sit… always hopeful that durians will appear. And they did. Packets and packets of durian. It must not have been more than 3 or 4 small durians though. Just divided up into plastic cling film trays.

image
Most of the durian packets were full price but a few packets were on sale half price. I picked the heaviest one with the plumpest looking flesh. It was clearly ripe but relatively untouched. They must have put it out just before I got there. Most of the packets looked quite soft and ripe already so more will go on sale soon… Unless a durian aficionado buys the lot before you get there.

image
I went home with this packet which I put in the freezer until dinner just to chill it. 

image
The color wasn’t as rich as the Mao Shan Wangs we usually have but the texture was creamy and the flesh falls easily away from the seed. A few small parts of the fruit tasted a bit sour and these were discarded. The smell was strong but as we only had two segments, wasn’t too overpowering. Generally pretty good.

Grab your Free Durian in KL Dec 14-15

Oh I wish I was back in KL for this! Attention all durian lovers in Malaysia!!

Free durian in Taman Tun December 11-12.

Free durian in Imbi December 14-15.

7pm onwards.

An article announcing a new durian shop opening in Bukit Bintang is giving away a free durian to every group of 3. 
Will it be a success? As long as the fruits are good, it’s guaranteed. And one palm sized durian isn’t going to satiate so everyone will buy their own. It’s more like buy two get one free 🙂 great marketing ploy.

The previous event sounds like it was off to a good start, according to this blogger

Where is the one in KL?

   
 So if you’re in KL next Monday or Tuesday check it out and let me know what you thought of the much hyped “oh chee”. If you’re late, you’ll end up with a Musang king or d24 which still isn’t bad.

Mr Eric aka Durian King, I’ll be back over Christmas please save some for me…!