The fascination will never end: A new durian cosmetic

Is Elianto’s durian-flavoured lipstick for real?

Here’s how the company described it:

Elianto said that the pesticide-free lipstick features a strong durian aroma that gives the wearer a “sense of satisfaction similar to gobbling a mouthful of Musang King at one go.”

And here’s the over-pitch:

“….this scientific marvel is even said to be able to cure hangover and prevent alcoholic blackout”

Hmm…..quite unlikely at lipstick dose.

The lipstick isn’t for sale yet, I can’t see how yellow lipstick would flatter anyone in or out of the office. So it’d be a great gag gift but not one that you might particularly enjoy receiving even if you like durian. That’s why we all wash our hands and rinse our mouths clean of the durian aromas afterwards.

Conceal as you may, the burps will always reveal the thorny truth. 🙂

Ps. Elianto, if you do launch it, please send me a Musang king lipstick to check out…..

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Latest durian prices at CitySuper

As you descend the escalators from Lane Crawford down to CitySuper in Causeway Bay, a welcome whiff or durian greets you. If your nose is fairly sensitive, you’ll be guided between the various displays of Christmas goodies and snacks into the cavernous supermarket. These seasonal displays have taken over the front section and the usual fruit and fresh produce has been shifted inside.

I turned left towards the massive array of cheeses, nope the scent was off. So I turned back right and yep, picked up the scent again. Weaving in and out I finally found the durians round the back of the shelf near the drinks section towards the cashiers.

The aroma was very robust and with good sharp accents yet had a soft sweet touch to it. Musang king yes. But what else?

Ahhh the black thorn is here.

But so is the Musang king.

I was curious which one commanded a higher price. The black thorn became a popular hybrid a few years ago but I remember noting this durian in Penang almost a decade ago.

How much does each set you back?

Well, the black thorn durians are HKD 46 per kilo and the Musang Kings are a HKD 40 per kilo.

The Black thorn durians are also looking a little larger than the Musang Kings hence the higher price on the ticket per fruit.

Price wise, the Musang Kings at Sogo we’re a little cheaper but not by much.

I guess if you’re a CitySuper good card holder perhaps it works out the same post discount.

The massive Malaysian durian feast: Eat durian til you drop- Members only! 

I’ve been in HK for more than 3 years and my social life has been limited to the shopkeepers I meet in the market, a few friendly neighbours and other parents whom we get along with as families. Not anymore! I finally bit the bullet this year and joined the Malaysian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, as a way of getting a bit more of a social life and (real reason) to get invited to events and parties that if otherwise have no access or inclination to attend.

The MOST important party in my annual calendar is not CNY, not Christmas, not mooncake festival. Although these all rank highly. The one absolute party worth every expensive dollar of the annual membership joining fee is the durian party that happens once or twice a year (depending on durian season).

The tickets to the event were sold out on the day of release. I can tell you that all the participants are hardcore durian fanatics.

So on a nice balmy evening in Wan Chai, we showed up at Malaysia building. We could smell the durian from the lobby. We followed it with our noses to the dining room on the top floor.

The durians were ALL Musang kings (no point wasting time on other types) and came packed in polystyrene boxes stacked high. It was all in about 100Kg of durians.

Two guys were there hard at work opening the durians with a tool and divying them out onto cardboard bowls.


Once everyone arrived, the Chairman made a brief speech about do’s and don’ts (e.g. Don’t drink gassy drinks while eating durian) and then it was the “go for it” moment. No one was shy.

My box had a mix of two durians, one milder and meatier, the other more flavourful and soft. It was the same for others at our table. They’d taken care to give everyone a bit of a mix so that no one ends up with a monotonous box. 👍

Everyone at the event had durian in lieu of dinner so you can imagine how much we all ate. I was very controlled and had second servings only whereas SW had thirds and fourth!

What a great party. The menu?

1) Durian

2) Water

I met two friends I hadn’t seen in at least 2 decades. That was a huge surprise and a very happy one. And I made a few new friends that we’ll definitely see at the next durian party.

Which I’m hoping will be at the end of the year.<<<<<<

A Durian Hunter’s Bonanza at the Food Fair in HKCEC

I was very happy to discover that PB is as much of a durian fanatic as I am. Except that I believe I have a pinch more self control than she does. Or maybe I just have more exposure to durians than she does. 

Anyway, the impromptu trip to the Food Fair in Wan Chai was revealing about our fondness for the stinky spikey fruit (she was willing to leave her 5 month old infant at home just for some private Durian time, a sign of true dedication to durians :)).

This Food Fair 2017 is the first I’ve attended since I’ve lived in Hong Kong. The crowds on a Friday mid afternoon was staggering… just as busy or maybe busier than the book expo. Ushers were stationed along the overhead walkway guiding people, they had also shut off the main walkway to the convention Center forcing people to exit and re-enter to the makeshift ticketing booths. The taxi queue was at least 30-45mins deep and cars weren’t being allowed to approach the main hall drop-off area. I had the baby in the carrier so I was accorded the privilege of going ahead in the queue. 

PB was late. Her taxi turned into the Hyatt hotel entrance but she didn’t realise that there wasn’t a connecting door to the convention Center. I got the twenty-five dollar tickets and waited for her by the entrance. 

When she arrived (all flustered) we headed straight up to the main exhibition hall area. Just like Art Basel, the organisers force you to head all the way down the corridor and enter from the fifth or sixth door. We went in and were amazed by the narrow corridor layout and the height of the booths, some of which towered two stories high full of LED lights. Promoters were standing on every corner handing out leaflets or just trying to get passers by to look at the products and gifts with purchase. 

There were lots of booths advertising durian but we soon discovered that most of these were selling durian pastries, snacks and moon cakes. There were only 2 booths selling fresh durian and a few booths selling frozen durian. I tried to take some photos but these really aren’t my best as we were trying to keep within 90 minutes and to cover the entire ground floor zone. It was a bit of a rush. We headed in and walked down to the end of the hall first, to work our way backwards.

The first booth we found selling the fresh stuff was Mr Durian.

Mao Shan wang on display at the Mr Durian booth


 The durians were priced at HKD 230 per kilo and their Mao Shang Wang durians were smallish, just over a kilo each. The booth next door was selling durian ice cream in a cup for HKD 100 each and some snacks and dried fruit. 

Dried durian for sale at Mr Durian booth

Fresh Mao Shan Wang for durian ice cream!!

Mao Shan Wang ice cream with fresh durian $100

Durian mochis and moon cakes at Mr Durian


We thought this was a pretty good booth and the durians looked fresh. Noted. Next. 

We cruised the aisles avidly searching out the next booth. Lots of booths selling durian biscuits and pastries… we just glanced at them and as this wasn’t our target, we moved on. 

Booth selling durian sandwich biscuit

Booth selling durian pastries and desserts

The Durian pastries that are so popular in Hong Kong

This booth specialised in Durian ice cream

Sampled the ice cream, a little too sweet

Durian biscuits, which ironically are artificially flavoured



Finally, towards the initial third of the hall, we came upon a booth decorated with lots of little durian stuffed toys. Well, it’s certainly one way to get attention.

Shared booth – sparkling juice and fresh durian!


 

Tree ripened Musang King Mao Shan Wang

HKD 488 per fruit and you can pay by EPS!

You can see the stuffed toy durians in this photo


They had a stack of fresh durian in husks piled high on the table. The price was marked as HKD 500 each. I approached and asked how many kilos each durian was. About 2 kilos was the answer. Not bad, but that would also be 2 kilos of uncertainty and disappointment if it didn’t turn out good. 

I made a memory mark of it and we moved on. PB spotted a booth with a massive Hello Kitty on it. 

Snow skin durian moon cake in a Hello Kitty Bag anyone?


Interestingly, they were selling durian mooncakes in a Hello Kitty cooler bag. She waved me over and had already started negotiations for two durian mochis. “Here,” she said, “try this.”

Negotiations taking place

Not too expensive

Thanks PB for my durian mochi 🙂

Nice cold durian mochi


Not bad,” I replied, trying to balance the second half of my mochi on the tiny stick of a toothpick. “Flavour is good and it had texture, but still nothing like the real thing.

We consumed the rest of it rapidly and threw the sticks in the bin. 

Durian powder ice cream packets


Then we encountered this booth selling durian powder which you can reconstitute and make your own ice cream. Hmm. Well I guess if you don’t have fresh or pulp to work with, this may have to do. It makes me wonder how many durian ice cream makers are using this powdered formula.

Finally in the A section of the hall, I found the durianBB booth. The organisers had spent a lot on branding and you can just tell they are begging for an Instagram shot for your social media profile. 


Loaded with bags, boxes with their logos and staff all t-shirted up in the same, their booth felt cramped and there was a staff ratio of 5 per client visitor so it felt a bit much. 

The durianBB booth

Ice cream samples for tasting

Packaged frozen durian. But you can’t see what’s inside


They were plugging the durian ice creams, durian moon cakes, frozen durian, durian mochis… but no fresh durians. And it didn’t seem inexpensive.. there wasn’t an apparent discount or promo for buyers at the fair. So, we looked and reflected and they offered us some durian ice cream to try but it just wasn’t what we were into. 

So it was back to Mr. Durian

Pretty funny logo. Imagine eating durian in a suit?


We were contemplating which durian to pick up and share when a chinese guy sporting sunglasses and a durian ice cream cone appeared beside us and gestured for ten. Immediately the staff sprang into action, swiftly picking ten durians off our table (well technically not our table but it was where we were in our mid selection reverie). 

Hey!” PB exclaimed,”we were just trying to pick one!

Well“, I told PB,”good durians wait for no man… if we want to get it, better hurry and choose or the table will be swept clean!” This was, after all, the first day of the fair and the best would still be on sale. The guy produced $1500 and still managed to get some change for the ten durians. The staff were busy opening the husks to show the client then packed the durians in newspaper and into a plastic bag each. 

Wrapping the whole durian in newspaper for the chinese buyer


We wasted no more time. Once the staff had settled his purchase we got them to recommend one and open it for us, splitting it into two boxes. It looked and smelled good. 

Splitting the durian


PB looked and looked. She ended up buying a box of mixed durians to try. “What do you think?” She asked. It was a box of Jin feng, 101, red prawn and something else. I told her that those were all good breeds and worth a try. Those boxes cost only $100 each so she happily added it to her bag. 

The mixed box of durian


After the small splurge, we walked casually toward the exit and parted ways. She by taxi and me on foot. 

=============

PB messaged me that evening saying that she had devoured her entire lot to the ire of her husband. She couldn’t keep any in the fridge as he can’t stand the smell.. hence she ate it all in pretty much one sitting. 

I kept mine til the next night in the fridge when SW and I could have it leisurely. It was reliable Musang king, very enjoyable. 

    Looking for a new durian t shirt for my wardrobe

    I’ve been looking for a durian t shirt update for years. My first t shirt was my favourite but it’s no longer sold. My second t shirt was from the store G.O.D. in Hong Kong and it gets an “ok” rating from me as it has nice fabric but a mediocre design. It was a green v neck with a velvet durian in the center. I got a couple of wears out of it.

    Looking around on google images, I see many durian designed themes for t shirts but they are all quite ugly. 

    Why? Firstly, the depiction of the durian is “as is”, where the picture printed on the shirt is just a center aligned  image of the cut open fruit. That just smacks of artistic inertia. Who would want to wear that? 

    Secondly the t shirts look like cheap quality.  I guess you get what you pay for. As they say in Singapore and Malaysia “Good no cheap, cheap no good”. Cheap quality t shirts only look good on models, when they are brand new and if you’re super skinny. 

    After all that trawling, did I finally find one that fits my two t shirt wearing criteria? 

    Yes, thanks to a Singaporean designer. I like the detailing of the string and that the durian isn’t just plonked in the central body of the shirt. 

    The only issue now is whether it’ll fit me. The sizes look like they run small. I’ll try to find out and let you know if I decide to get one. 

    Last few spots on Lindsay’s durian tour for 2017

    According to the Star newspaper in Malaysia, numbers of durians are down but the number of durian consumers are up. So this year we’ll be experiencing a price squeeze for durian… again. 

    Durian orchard tours snapped up

    For those making the annual pilgrimage to Penang for durian tasting, you’d best hurry as the bookings have been made by many others. 

    Lindsay Gasik’s Bao Sheng durian farm tour in Penang is probably best to go with if you want an English speaking guide. 

    If you prefer a more chinese D-I-Y experience which is less luxe (possibly no air conditioning and definitely no swimming pool) and more rural (ie harder to get to) you can check out this list of durian orchards by Jojo or give Fook Gor a call to confirm that they haven’t exported the best ones to KL…

    A Durian guide to the newly renovated Food Hall and Supermarket in Sogo Causeway Bay

    Sogo, one of the stalwarts in Hong Kong’s departmental store shopping scene has undertaken a massive stage-by-stage renovation. It’s about time. The layout was beginning to look tired under the old style fluorescent lighting and it was heading towards the style of Wing On rather than Hysan Place

    The internal renovation started at least a year ago with the children’s floor. Now, it’s reminiscent of Lane Crawford and Harvey Nichols (I bet they took a lot of ideas from there) and is rather upmarket ($$$).

    They recently completed the B2 food hall and supermarket, this is what I checked out. 


    I checked it out with a specific interest in durians of course. 

    I was very surprised that down the escalator, the first thing that caught my eye in the fresh food section was a small shelf of durian. It occupied the top shelf, above the jackfruit (nangka).

    Thai durian at Sogo


    Granted it was Thai durian but this was promising. Rough spend would be HKD 100+/- per pack.

    Hmm. Did they have any Malaysian produce for sale? 

    Sogo rarely lets you down.

    Malaysian Musang Kings


    On the adjacent opposite display shelf, the Musang Kings were in whole and packaged form and is on a shelf at roughly hip/waist level. There’s the already packaged durian going for about twice the price of Thai durian, and there’s the whole durian for those who want it super fresh.

    Durians packaged beautifully in sushi boxes at Sogo


    Each box contains between 4-5 seeds, all a rich golden yellow. How about the whole durians?

    Whole durians


    The whole durians were long stemmed and quite fresh looking, still unopened. Each about 2kg in weight and costing about HKD 600+ per fruit. 

    Here’s where to look for them in the supermarket.

    Where to find durians in sogo supermarket Causeway Bay


    Here are directions to Sogo if you’re new in town.


    Go by MTR, tram or bus.

    It’s on a major thoroughfare through Causeway Bay, you can’t miss it. Especially after they are done renovating in a year or two and will have a massive TV screen up for advertisements.