You would generally expect that when you buy a durian snack you’d be getting a snack with durian in it. You would be hoping for that creamy texture….. that aromatic-pungent scent….. the tinge of bitterness when it melts on your tongue…
Not the overwhelming cloying sweetness of straight up sugar and egg.
Let’s survey a few durian snacks sold around the shops here and see what they contain.
1) Durian cakes – classic flavour, with “Rich Durian Flavour”.
The picture looks positively delicious. There’s a sponge cake exterior (thinking kueh bahalu here) and a durian filled interior. Made by a company called Natural House that takes the effort to emphasise Natural (自然). There’s a nice picture of a durian revealing its fantastic interior just by the cake. This was sold at Save More.
If you look at the ingredients closely you will realise that you are being led astray. There is no durian in this cake whatsoever. Instead, you’d be consuming flour, emulsifiers, palm oil and a bunch of sugars and artificial flavours. E450, E500, E341, E102, E471, E282. Thank you for declaring the artificial ingredients in detail.
Would I buy this? NO. Not even for HKD 18 (USD 3) My poor liver would be crying out in pure torment.
2) Kai Kee Durian Egg Rolls. (Note that the durian version costs 20% more than the Coffee and Curry flavours.)
Now let’s flip it over and see what’s within.
I take it that the last ingredient is actually artificial durian flavouring. No E colours or numbers stated but I think they must be lumped under that last ingredient.
Well, at least there’s some durian paste that went into it, though it may be less than 1%.
Would I buy this? Maybe. It’s the same contents as egg rolls just with durian flavour for HKD 58 (USD 8). Or how about we just stick with the plain egg rolls….
3) Kai Kee “durian ice cream cookies”
As an alternative to the egg rolls, Kai Kee also has these cookies for sale.
So they are “handmade” and a durian flavour. Let’s flip it over.
4) Homei Durian kaya
If you love kaya like me, you would always be on the lookout for kaya. Nothing beats fresh kaya… I usually get a bottle or two if anyone is coming from Singapore or Malaysia. This brand of durian kaya from Homei is distributed in several shops in Wanchai. You’ll find the same product cheapest at the Save More store in Wanchai market’s Stone Nullah Lane. It’s less than HKD 20 per bottle.
Did any durian make its way into the kaya?
Sugar is the first and the largest component (don’t get a heart attack reading this), followed by durian at 25%, egg at 15%, water, corn starch, salt and colouring E102. Find out more about the ubiquitous E102 here.
Would I buy this? No. I can wait till the next visitor from Singapore or Malaysia comes and brings me a tub of fresh Killeney kopitiam kaya.
None of those E colours thank you.
5) Durian pralines by Hemelz
I saw these pralines in Singapore’s Tanglin Mall supermarket during Chinese New Year (February) and was intrigued enough to take a photo.
The three top ingredients are durian paste, vegetable fat and sugar though the relative quantities are not stated.
Would I buy it? Maybe. Just to satisfy my curiosity.
🐱🐱🐱🐱🤸🏻♂️🤸🏻♂️do more exercise if you’re consuming this much sugar..
If it’s off season and you’re craving some durian, I highly recommend the lyophilised (aka freeze dried) version. It’s definitely lost the texture of the fresh durian but the flavours are released nicely on your palate and you know there’s nothing else adulterating it.