First proper Mao Shan Wang this August 2016

Hooray!!! Oh how I’ve missed eating good durian.

After what seemed to be an eternal time waiting for the right time to purchase a good Mao Shan Wang durian, we finally took the plunge last Sunday. 

I’ve been scoping out the market daily and the supermarkets too. City Super sells the pricier stuff (labelled Cat Mountain King) for between 400-900 HKD per fruit (smaller cheaper ones weigh around 1.3Kg), that started about two weeks ago. 

August 1st, Causeway Bay City Super. Durians on sale


When Malaysian durians finally hit the shelves at the Taste supermarket, it was a clear indication that the season had really begun. 

August 12th, durian on sale at Taste


The packets in the supermarket are nothing great though, often slightly too ripe and already a little molested in the packaging stages. 

In the Wan Chai indoor fresh fruit market, the stall blaring pop hits (on your left as you enter the doors from Queens Road East) had two on display in their refrigerated shelf. 

“The smaller one is 390, the larger one 500” came the response to my inquiry. We decided to take the larger one hoping to satisfy the cravings of three people. Mind you, large isn’t very large, the durian weighed less than 2.3 Kg for sure. 

Here we go….


I asked the fruit sellers to cut the durian for me for easy opening, we wanted to take it with its shell on to avoid damage and keep the aromas in. 


The durian flesh was a delightfully bright yet rich yellow, reminds me of the intense shade of sunflower petals. The whiff I had confirmed that it was worth paying for. 


As we opened the entire durian fruit, I was pleased to see that there were no signs of dry edges or fruit that was also too wet. It was a durian in more or less perfect condition. 


There were some stringy textures but that’s quite normal. Overall the flesh was smooth and silky though there were some interesting taste variations from pellicle to pellicle… One particular pellicle was a bit more bitter than the others… But not in a bad way.


I was also pleased to see that the flesh was well filled out in the pellicle and that every segment was equally inviting. No disappointments on fruit opening. 


The misshapened seeds characteristic of the Mao Shan Wang were larger than I had hoped  but that’s not something that I can complain about. 
FYI, also in season at City Super are the insanely large and inordinately expensive watermelons… Which also come in cube shapes!

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“Agrotainment”, KenDurian: Durian fiesta in Dataran Merdeka

Malaysians are generally very good at coining new terms, and the ministers of state transmit these through mainstream media. So now, apart from “sportstainment”, “edutainment”, we now have “agrotainment“.

 Pretty silly as my toddler would say. 

Anyway, this article reports that the durian fest held at Dataran Merdeka was such a huge success that it might be held every last weekend of July. From the video, it looked like a very civilised affair, with a tent, tables with table cloths, chairs and plates. People are seen selecting their durians and packing them into plastic containers. I’m not sure whether it was mostly kampung durians and those of less popular breeds… Most of the best durians are often exported to the highest bidders around the region.

Of course, this could also be the situation in the VIP tent where the minister was given the tasting tour… Perhaps everyone else was shunted outside.

If you were there, please let me know what you thought of it since this is now thought of and promoted as a national event…!

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.

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…! 

The size of Malaysian durians vs Japanese watermelons

We went in to Sogo Causeway Bay on the weekend (yeah, crazy idea right), to look for some outdoor gear. Well, that was what I intended anyway. SW led me into the basement.

“Err… Shouldn’t we be heading upstairs?”

“No,” he said “it’s all downstairs”.

Not wanting to argue on the escalator, we proceeded down two floors.

“Surely the sports attire isn’t in the supermarket?” I inquired.

“Oh, oh I thought we were going to look for noodles.”

Different planets? Definitely.

Anyway, a meander around the fruit section yielded some useful information on where Japanese people go for their durian fix.

Here’s one guy getting the assistant to open it for him. I noticed that he bought two. Does it seem a lot?

Not if you consider the size of each fruit. Positively teeny weeny from a Malaysian perspective. It was a kilo or less I reckon. At 150 HKD a fruit that probably yields no more than 5 seeds, it’s pricey but knowing Sogo, they probably select the better quality stuff.

They also sell it pre-packed if you’re risk averse. At least those clear windows let you see what you’re buying but those plastic shells prevent the compulsive “finger-pressing” that afflicts all fruit wrapped in simple pliable “Glad” wrap.

So, the price of the ones in the pack are pretty similar to each whole fruit. I would hesitate a guess that each whole fruit yields one and a half of these boxes.

The stems look good and the fruit looks fresh and fungus free. If you are in Causeway Bay and urgently need to bring a Malaysian/Singaporean durian fanatic friend a fruity gift, this might be the one to get.

Beside the durians, they had this fantastically huge watermelon. It could be a prize winner in fruit competitions. I remember at Ocean Park they sold King Watermelons, perfectly round, they are cut in half and sold as a cooling treat. I didn’t note where they are from.

Durian mystery at Taste

I was shocked. How could ALL of those packets have disappeared off the shelves in such a short space of time?

I saw a lady stacking the cool shelves nearby and thought I’d ask.

“No more, no more durians” she said in cantonese. Then gesturing, she said “it’s all there, whatever you see is all there.”

Hmm. Unconvinced, I did another sweep.

Aha there they were, discreetly placed with the chilled packed fruit.

Excited and gleefully, I left with one packet. It was marked down half price as it was very ripe.

Looks pretty good right.

ZI couldn’t resist trying to stick her finger in it.

The durian was quite satisfactory, rich, smooth and slightly fermented taste.What a bargain at the supermarket.