Durian buffet: Eat until you pengsan

Translation. Pengsan= Drop.

Eat until you drop. Buuurrrp.

What’s not to love about durian buffets? Imagine, getting to eat variations of the same thing… what if it were a cheese buffet or a pork cutlet buffet. Do you think it would inspire the same fervor and enthusiasm? I’ve been to cheese and wine tastings before, it’s usually limited to a small amount of cheese and just one glass of wine per bottle. Yawn. Boring.

So I’ve been to a few durian buffets but this one was different.

The durian buffet organized by the Wanchai road shop ηŒ«ε±±ζ—Ί was held at The Hub just off the main pedestrian bridge linking the MTR station to the Immigration building. I was a little late to the party.

Wow. Everyone was already seated and there wasn’t a seat to spare. Hmm πŸ€” (wondering whether I could get a seat).

I spied a nice lady in white wandering around the entrance with a tag and proceeded to ask if she was Carol.

Oh no no I’m not Carol, (she’s Carmen) Carol is somewhere in the back getting the durians ready, you can go have a look.”

Okay… off I go to the back. There was no shortage of things to see.

Firstly, you see what hybrids they’re serving. Here you can admire the different shapes, spikes and forms of the durian husk.

Then, a table full of gift suggestions. Want to send a fresh fruit hamper with a fresh durian? They’ve got you covered. (Let me know if you need special gloves for opening them, I can sort you out.)

And if you’re not into fresh and prefer durian in its other forms… well you won’t be disappointed either.

Durian chocolate, crisps, coffee.. I think those possibilities are endless.. but that’s if you’re just into the flavor. Which I think is sort of missing the point… there’s just so much more to the fruit.

What’s really nice is that they bothered with mangosteens. Very thoughtful to include the queen of fruits. It’s the yang to the durian’s ying.. helps to balance out the heatiness of durians.. or so the chinese saying goes. Mangosteen is an equally difficult fruit. It spoils easily, the juices stain everything it contacts with and the worst part? It’s often full of large black ants. They hide under those beguiling green sepals and spill out once you’ve disturbed their hiding place. I hope the Hub fumigated after the event or some residents are going to massively complain.

After the Queen here come the Kings!

All these are for sale of course. What about the buffet?

Nice. I liked that they used black serving plates. Good contrast.

I finally found Carol who was really busy getting the servers to do the serving. I decided to introduce myself to the boss dressed in white, Jessie. After some discussion with her, I was ushered over to a seat and assigned with my tray.

How exciting! I couldn’t wait to catch up. Everyone else had already demolished their tray and were onto their second round.

Note the banana leaf underneath the durian. Great idea to make it authentic Malaysian style πŸ‘πŸ‘! The organizers also strung up Malaysian flags and had coconut water and bottled water on the tables. This was well thought through.

While people were eating, on stage there was a running commentary about different types of durian, what they look like, their flavors etc.

Mark, the durian supplier from Malaysia was up there to provide his expertise on durian cultivars in Cantonese. (Note, I did speed the video up 2x to save some time. Mark doesn’t really sound like a cartoon character! :))

Was anyone actually listening? Yes and No. I think most people there were durian enthusiasts and they knew what they were there to eat. They were just tucking into every serving. But it was good to have running commentary, definitely makes it more lively.

In the paper cup provided for each person was a plastic glove. Almost everyone I saw on the room had used one. That’s how I know they are from Hong Kong. Everyone here has been conditioned to be hygiene obsessed. So they’ll wash their hands, then put on the glove to eat.

As my faithful blog readers know, that is just not the way I like it. I want to feel the durian flesh on my fingertips. I want to hold it with my pincer-like grip and know the size of the seed. Most importantly, when you use your bare hands, the chances of it slipping and popping onto your shirt or lap is much reduced. Well, that’s just my opinion. Use your gloves if you want πŸ˜‰.

I was quite impressed with the graphics, -nicely done- explaining the various states in peninsular Malaysia and where durians are grown (yes, virtually all have durian).

I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get more of the Musang king or the ι‡‘εŒ…which I was rather taken with. Instead it was the much less flavorful D24 that made the rounds and I noticed that many of these were left wasted on plates. Perhaps the organizers should note this and ask what their audience would like more of… we could hold up a sign saying “more ι‡‘εŒ…over here please”

Soon after, the packaged samples came out… first the durian ice cream. It came out already in balls with a serving spoon. Not bad but not everyone could be bothered.

Then the durian mochis. These were straight out of the freezer but had a bit of condensation at the side. I found these to be too chewy. Not my thing.

But Z was into the durian cheesecake. Not that it had a strong durian flavor to it, that’s probably why she could stay to pick at it until it was mostly gone.

I had been persuading her to try some durians with me but to no avail. Basic rule of parenting, pick your battles. I figured this wasn’t one I needed to win. She could see how much fun I was having, so I’ll just stay optimistic.

To amp up the fun, the organizers had a lucky draw to win durians and a little contest to test the knowledge of the participants. The winners got to take home a whole durian each.

Everyone was encouraged to buy some durian on the way out to take home and autograph their big durian wall.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting Jessie and Benny’s team and commend them on the expert organization of the event. Jessie and Benny run a successful seafood export business and started this business due to their own passion for durian. A tip for the owners….I asked several participants how they came to know of it… were they clients of the durian shop like I was?

No… they all knew about it through Facebook groups and love going to durian buffets! These were the serial durian buffet goers (SDBFG).

More on the SDBFGs in another blogpost.

If you’re in the city and craving some durian, these guys will sort you out. The service is a little gruff but I think the quality may be more reliable than other stalls as they fly the durians in fresh daily. And if you’re too tired to head out… call them they deliver!

Open 10am to 10pm. Call to pre-order at +852 9171 3882.

Ps. At the conclusion of the event, they announced a buy 3 get 1 free promotion. I bought 2 ι‡‘εŒ…, 1ηŒ«ε±±ηŽ‹ and 1D101. Shared with PB who was a very happy chick.

Here’s the cute assistant courier.

Advertisements

Chinese New Year Durian Festivities

How could we return to Singapore and not have durians

It is off peak and durians are frighteningly expensive for the quality that is available. So……

First up, durian mochi dessert at a chinese restaurant after a fantastic Chinese New Year feast. Round smooth pale balls of fragrant pleasure…, aaaaah.

image
The inside looks and pretty much IS the real thing…

image
After the mochi (only one each), we had chinese oranges, pineapple tarts and fruits. But the durian mochi was hands down the best.

And they are available at the Jade Seafood restaurant in Forum Galleria pretty much all year round.

A nod to durians at the new Singapore National Art Gallery

The new National Gallery is an impressive  space. No expense has been spared architecturally and on interior decoration to make it a contemporary museum that could be in New York, London or Paris. I thought it bore some striking similarities to the Art Institute in Chicago, lighting and displays were light, airy. 

  
Equally thoughtful was the devotion of the basement to a children’s art expression and play area. There were rooms for colouring, sticking, constructing and of course, running around. The multimedia room was a real hit… Who at any age can resist colouring in an animal of your choice, then hitting submit to “send” it to the large wall screen to see it come alive and animatedly walk around in a virtual jungle? Delightful and so versatile. 

  
Then there’s the durians. Not vying for attention with the animals but just hanging there in the background.

  
Adorable toucans, squirrels play among the durian trees buffeted by palm fronds, orchid and anthuriums. I love the tropical theme. Well done Kathryn and team!

Durian dessert shop on Sharp Street East

We planned to have dessert at Cao Song last Sunday. Until we saw the queue. Forget it, I said to our little group of six, we weren’t going to hang around for an hour on a pavement barely shoulder width wide. Not with three kids in tow.

The next dessert shop in the street was Dessert Playground. It was deserted, not a single customer… definitely a bad sign. Well, we needed somewhere to sit so we took the plunge. A rather confusing menu was presented.

  
Oddly enough, this fluorescent lit shop with bright green awnings had a list of chinese desserts but seemed to specialise in durian derived desserts. There was a lot to choose from.

Everyone else went for the chinese desserts or the western cakes… I ordered the Mau Sang Wang ice stick for HKD 68 (D24 version costs HKD 38).

  
The ice cream was edible, suitably creamy without any artificial under or overtones. It was well made without a high water content so you don’t get that brittle ice texture where it all comes apart with each bite. Downside was that it was smaller than I expected and the presentation on an ugly plastic plate was disappointing.

All the other desserts ordered, chocolate cake, coconut pho, the chinese soups were just awful and quite inedible. They tasted straight out of a packet. 

Verdict: great for groups needing a place for a rest as it’s almost always empty (I think I’ll remember it as desert playground). Get a durian ice cream or a drink, all other desserts are poor quality.