Don’t cha wish your durian was Musang king (sing along to Pussycat Dolls)

It’s typhoon season in Hong Kong. These few days the passing typhoon brought pelting rain that lasted hours, drenching everything but giving all the streets a much needed wash. The rain brought the temperature down a bit but it’ll be muggy again before long. 

Just a few days before Typhoon Merbok rolled into town, I set off on a short expedition to see if anyone in Wanchai was selling Musang King durians yet. 
A survey of all the fruit stalls in the Wanchai market yielded only Thai durians. Hmm…..πŸ€”

Ok how about we play Where’s Wally with durian. 


This fruit stall on Stone Nullah Lane often gets a lot of foot traffic. The lady who runs it is a bit fussy and unfriendly if you’re looking for small quantities. I’ve seen her break out in huge smiles only when clients come in to buy a box of expensive fruit.

At this stall the Thai Monthong (aka Golden Pillow) goes for $20 per pound.

The durians are way in the back. Did you spot them? Reveal reveal….


This next stall about halfway down Stone Nullah Lane also only had Thai durians for sale.


This stall is crazily well lit. It literally has hanging lights and down lights spaced barely a foot apart. I suppose it’s nice that you can really see the fruit. No need to guess and easier to see the fruit’s imperfections. They had the durians a little more towards the front.

At this stall the durians go for $15 per pound.

Did you see them? Reveal reveal…!


The Kai Bo food supermarket which opened about a year ago also tries its best to cater as a one stop shop to its clientele. Thai durians found here too.


This supermarket gets pretty busy during the day. It’s cheap. 

Here, these durians go for $14.8 per pound.

Do you see the durians? Reveal reveal!


Let’s have a close up shot eh.


I could almost feel myself falling into that Teochew trap of “bo hae her ma hor” (no prawn fish also can)… it was tempting to buy a thai durian just to have some. But no. It just wouldn’t do. I knew it wouldn’t satisfy me. It would probably make it worse.

So I continued with my little visual tour and durian window shopping. 

At the corner intersection of Cross Street, Wan Chai Road and Tai Wo Street, I stopped to see what durian activity there was.


Several cases has arrived and I went over to see the cargo. The uncle in charge was gloved up and very nimbly hauling out the durian and tapping them with his chopper. He was performing individual inspection of the fruit in each box.


I went in for a closer look. It was sent from OP Fruits Co, as a package of 6 Monthongs, “expor to the People’s Republic of China“.


At this stall, it was hands down the cheapest at $13 per pound. While I stood there, two Thai ladies cane up and bought a durian to go. 

The Thais have a formula for their durian producers. Stick with the productive fruit, ensure constant abundant supply to all overseas markets, dependable and consistent quality at a huge discount so that buying one is a simple decision making process. You simply know what you’re getting. And at that price, you can’t complain. 

I was sorely tempted but just knew it wouldn’t satisfy. Yup, I’m the delayed gratification type most of the time, though sometimes the impulse demon just overwhelms me. Not today demon, not today.

I can almost hear the refrain by Pussy cat Dolls ….

(Substituting girlfriend for durian)

Don’t cha wish your durian was hot like me

Don’t cha wish your durian was a Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

Don’t cha wish your durian was raw like me

Don’t cha wish your durian tastes like Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

The nangka tree off Sau Wa Fong

The other name for nangka is jackfruit. Perhaps you know it by that name? 

I was walking by Sau Wa Fong near Star street one recent weekend and spotted the jackfruit hanging off the very productive tree. Boy, did it look good. No, I’m not going to steal any. I don’t know who the tree belongs to and how it’s looked after. What I did do, was march down to the supermarket and buy myself a pack of Malaysian jackfruit. Yum yum, it was sweet, chewy and aromatic. 

What I did reflect on was that it would’ve been incredible to have a durian tree next to it. I don’t see why the durian tree can’t thrive here, especially with global warming… the winters have been getting shorter and milder. 

Anyone got a space for a durian tree on their doorstep? 

The Jackfruit hanging off the jackfruit tree

Durian deception: When a durian snack is not a durian snack

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 (θ‡ͺη„Ά). There’s a nice picture of a durian revealing its fantastic interior just by the cake. This was sold at Save More


Now let’s examine the ingredients.


Ok maybe that’s a little too small to read, but you can see the pictoral description on the back of the box. Zoom in a little will ya.


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.)


Nice packaging βœ… , pricing not exorbitant βœ… , good looking durian in the cover βœ… , from Malaysia βœ… . 

Now let’s flip it over and see what’s within.


Ok, so the ingredients are: Egg, Sugar, Wheat Flour, Rice flour, coconut milk, durian paste, durian flavour (flavour). 

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.


What? It’s worse than the egg rolls. It is only flavoured with durian…. hmm. Yet again, no declaration of E numbers that went into this.

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.


For those who are uninitiated in the ways of kaya, it’s largely made from coconut milk  but is often cooked with Pandan leaves to impart a fragrance to the runny texture.

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.

πŸ±πŸ±πŸ±πŸ±πŸ€ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈπŸ€ΈπŸ»β€β™‚οΈ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.

Packaged durian cake from Thailand

In the basement supermarket Jason’s in Mongkok’s Langham Place, the only durian related item available was this.


I thought the location was a little strange. These durian cakes were on a shelf next to other dried fruit products like raisins, dried strawberries and blueberries, even apple purΓ©e.

Well I suppose if you’re looking for dried fruit it could also mean you’re looking for durian :).

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.

Direct from Pahang: where to find Musang King all year round in Hong Kong

I was at the “Wan Chai- Shibuya style” crossing, waiting to get to the other side of Hennessy Road. My eagle eyes and super sharp durian radar are always on “search mode” (sort of like the Terminator or Robocop, maybe like the spaceship scanners in the Matrix). What was that on the other side of the six lane road??


You can’t go wrong with a name like that. No mincing of words, no mystery, no guessing. A shop called Musang King must be all about the King, only the King and nothing else. Right?

I popped in for a look. 

It was a small shop (replaced the Ice.licious whimsical popsicle store), just wide enough to fit the freezers and fridges, leaving enough room for clients to get in there, buy and leave. It’s not a cafe and there’s no reason to hang around. On the day I went, there were three female staff on duty. It seemed a little excessive given that XTC makes do with one given a similar space and set up. Perhaps it’s just temporary staff for the opening sales… they may be expecting hoards of people.


Everything was in the fridge. It was Glass panelled so that you can see what’s for sale and how much for. There was an interesting array of durian derived sweet and savouries, ranging from durian filled baos (buns), durian pizza (uh huh) and durian crepes and assorted tarts.


The Durian Musang king ice cream sticks were particularly appealing to me.. it was a sweltering hot day and I salivated at the thought of a cold Musang king. 


There was also packaged frozen D24 durian for sale and frozen whole durians, both D24 and Musang Kings.

On the counter next to the fridges sat a heated display unit with some puff pastries. 

I asked the staff where the products were made, in malaysia or here?



All in Malaysia
, came the reply (according to their FB page, they’re located in Raub, Pahang). Except for these in the heated display unit. These, she gestured, were made by us here.

I made up my mind to try a durian popsicle. Attempting to help myself, I tugged at the freezer door handle. 


To my surprise, I couldn’t open the door. That’s when I realised it was locked! Hmm. Was it to prevent thieves from running off with a few boxes of delicious, expensive biomaterial or just to prevent the temperature fluctuations from repeated door opening and closing? 

One of the ladies saw what I was trying to do and sprung into action.

“What are you trying to get?” She asked

Durian ice cream” was my reply.

“You want one or one box?” 

Just one please, if it’s good I’ll come back for more.” 

She went behind the little counter and pulled my requested popsicle out of another freezer. 

Eating it now or later?

Now I said.

She tore the box open for me and cut the top of the plastic packaging so that I could hold on to the stick.


I slipped it out of the packaging and walked out into the street with it. What great free advertising for the shop.


The ice cream was smooth and well emulsified. It had a nice bite to it and melted smoothly in the mouth. Texture 8/10. Taste wise, it was very sweet with no hint of bitter. 6/10.. 


It was all done by the time I reached Johnston road. The burp that made itself known came about 20 minutes later with the very distinct digested durian aroma. 7.5/10. 

I guess these durian popsicles are made in big batches but how much more interesting would it be if you could select a bitter popsicle?

This shop that started in the autumn of last year only does frozen stuff, most practical cold chain from Malaysia I suppose. They are now actively distributing to China. Its ok for a popsicle but if you prefer fresh fruit, you’ll just have to wait until durian season (starting soon).

Find Pahang Musang King at 263 Hennessy Road, Wan Chai. About 7 minute walk from the MTR station or 4 minutes walk from the Fleming/Burrows Tram stop.

Pahang Musang King, Hennessy Road, Wan Chai


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Hong Kong’s crazy durian chefs

How creative can one get with durian? Given the addictive nature and general lack of fruits for most of the year, I guess some restaurant chefs must think there’s a crowd that’s willing to pay for eating it in a variety of ways. 

My question to the chefs is this. When cooking up a “durian-inspired” fusion dish, do you seek to enhance or dampen the durian flavour? 

I suspect that any “cooking process” actually destroys the delicate aromas of the durian. But if the fruit isn’t so good then maybe it’s not a bad thing..

Thai Yuen : durian curry fried crabs, durian cheese baked big-head shrimp, durian cheese deep-fried spring roll and Thai durian fried rice. (Uses Monthong)

Honeymoon Dessert: durian pizza, durian milkshake, durian pancake, durian shaved ice with black glutinous rice.

Musang King: sells the frozen Musang kings at -18 degrees C. Also sells pulp for dessert creation.

Fisher & Farmer: Durian chicken pot. (Uses Monthong)