How not to eat durians

This crazy lady was not permitted to bring her durians on board the train after officials caught a “whiff” of what was happening. So she gobbled it all down before the train left…

Too heaty? Most definitely. Next time, pack it well!

I recommend plastic packaging with a vacuum seal if possible. Otherwise use cling film liberally! 

2016 Peak Season but no Malaysian Durians?

Perusing the usual fruit stalls in my neighbourhood, I would normally at this time of year, see durians from malaysia for sale. Pricing would definitely be exorbitant but the product would certainly be available, flashing it’s tempting yellow flesh and wafting it’s perfume at every potential durian fanatic who might stop and splurge. Not this year. It’s been noticeably dominated by Thai Monthong.

Yesterday I went to have a look at what was on offer at Sogo. Surely at Hong Kong’s most venerable supermarket, the Musang King might be found aplenty? 

Well here’s what the stock looked like.

Not promising at all.

Only 3 boxes left and they looked a strange hue of yellow-greenish-grey.

The prices are also close to what one would normally pay for a whole durian, these boxes contained about 4 seeds each. Steeeeeeep…!

So there’s a drought on in Malaysia and that’s really affecting supply chains across South East Asia.

Durian snacks and kaya available at Save More in Wan Chai Market

On my recent trip to Save More to buy Nescafé 3 in 1 mix coffee, I had a bit of time to browse around. I was quite surprised to find a few packaged durian snacks for sale. Or maybe I shouldn’t be…as Philippinos do love durian and this is a shop that they frequent. 

Well here goes…

First up, durian white coffee from Ipoh, this is promoted as a 4 in 1!! 

It’s cheap, but I’m just not sure whether you’d enjoy waking up to a durian coffee every morning… Hmm…

Next up the same brand of durian kaya I saw in the coconut shop, Homei (which, in Cantonese means fragrant).

The bottle is a more manageable size, it’s half the volume for over half the price. (Bigger bottles are $30). Note that it’s very high in sugar, eat sparingly 🙂

Then this durian filled sandwich cookie called Durian Chaplet. $18 for a box. Also available in pineapple flavour.

The competitor would be durian cream biscuits in a flexible packaging which is $15 per pack.

If you need to pick any of these up, you can get them at Save More in Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai market.

Durian Kaya and durian coated crackers sold in Hong Kong

Walking on Hennessy Road in the direction from Wan chai MTR towards Causeway Bay is always quite an unpleasant experience. It’s usually crowded full of people queuing for buses and waiting at busy intersections to cross the road, bus fumes and general noise from the sheer volume of buses that ply the street. 

On a Saturday or Sunday morning however, it can be a bit more pleasant. 

Along the stretch of Hennessy (walking in direction of traffic) between Fleming and Stewart intersections, a few new shops have opened to sell a variety of groceries. 

The first one I came across was a shop called A CAP coconuts specialising in coconut based products. This is unlike the fresh coconut shop in Wan chai market. 

This shop sells more processed coconut based products, ranging from coconut oils for consumption to skin products and drinks.
It was here that I spied this…

Oooh kaya. I have a bottle that my mum

Just brought up for me, but that’s the best Singaporean pandan Kiliney road kopitiam kaya… 

This stuff was probably made from processed pulp that didn’t make the cut for consumption in its natural state. I turned the bottle around to look at the details.

Well it doesn’t say Mao Shan Wang… So how good could it be?? When I finish my kaya at home, perhaps I’ll come back for this.

A few shops down the street, another snack shop selling cheap tidbits of all sorts had this durian crispy cake.

I’m not terribly impressed with the packaging and wonder who’s buying?!

Do you like Cendol and Durian? Feel like splurging on calories this Ramadan?

Cendol durian reigns supreme 

If anyone is visiting greater KL and feeling like they just need one bowl of a good durian dessert, this might be a place to hit. It’s far out and I’ve not been there myself so I can’t vouch for it, but the contributor of the article seems to be raving about it. 

According to the article, Durian Cendol is the star attraction here. They offer both durian tembaga (D118, see description here) from Thailand and, when in season, the Musang King. RM 15 per bowl gets a portion of Cendol with perhaps one or two seeds of durian flesh. Of course the sweetness of the Santan and the smoothness of Cendol can be absolutely addictive. (Quick mention for best Cendol in Penang, without durian but totally delicious on a hot sunny afternoon. Fantastic post lunch treat, as long as you don’t overstuff yourself with Kway teow!).

Worth it? If anybody tries, please let me know 🙂

If you’re celebrating Ramadan, do check out the additional stalls they’ve added during this festive season.

Here are some maps to give you a perspective of where the stall is (I’ve done a gradual zoom in)… You’ll definitely need a car and I reckon it’ll take you at least 1.5 hours to get there from KLCC excluding peak hour traffic.

Eating organic Malaysian durians in Macau

My aunt was at the bak kut teh stall and was planning to cross over to our favourite Imbi durian seller. The dudes who own the bak kut teh stall stopped her and told her not to buy any. Instead, the owner said that his wife is now in the durian and travel agency business, please support by having some of our durian sourced from an organic farm. 

Initially suspicious, she came round to the idea as the owner said it was free, no charge. The durians didn’t look bad and she thought they smelled okay so she agreed. When he packed eight packets for her however, she felt bad and insisted he take at least 100RM for the fruit, paying another 50RM to have them double vacuum seal packed for the flight. The double sealed packing held up well and there was absolutely no trace of durian scent whatsoever.

He didn’t want to take the cash saying that all he wanted was support for his wife’s travel agency business.. Please refer any bookings his way. 

If there’s one thing about Chinese business practices, it’s all about owing and calling in debts or favours.. This is something my aunt didn’t want to owe, hence the 100RM and a subsequent gift in return.

She brought the packets up to Macau, where we met for the weekend. Proudly, she announced that the durians were “organic”. We opened the packs with much anticipation by the deserted poolside of the five star hotel we stayed at, late at night well after dinner.

The aroma was good, sufficiently pungent and sweetish. The taste, was a different matter. The first bite in revealed a fermented almost gassy texture. We definitely didn’t fall in love at first bite. Tossing those seeds and selecting a few others, we managed to salvage about 30% which were nowhere near good but we all felt bad that these had come all the way only to go straight into the garbage. 

Truly a disappointing experience, the seeds were large and the flavour was off. I told my aunt that it would be better to pay 200RM for one single pack of singularly delightful durian experience than to have to wade through 8 packs of lousy fruit that should be relegated to the flesh for processed durian desserts.

Perhaps these trees were not of a good breed, or needed more time to mature. Without speaking to the owner, it’s anyone’s guess.