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.

Advertisements

Latest durian prices at Sogo

Musang Kings or Mao Shan Wangs are back in season.

At Sogo they have the whole durians on sale but you can also buy them already in packets. Looks good.

You can see from the picture above, a packet with just one segment will set you back HKD 170-200. Worth it?

The whole durian is HKD 42 per 100 grams, that’s 420 per kg. So according to my exchange rate calculator that’s SGD 70 per kg. That’s RM 220 per kg. Aiyo ka gui bui sai jiak (translation from Teochew: ah too expensive cannot eat la).

Unless you’re not flying to Singapore or Malaysia for Christmas break then no choice if you’re desperate for a Musang king and at Sogo.

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 purée.

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.

Supermarket vs Fruit Vendor: The Musang King Durian challenge 

I have two friends here in Hong Kong who are self confessed durian addicts. As far as addictions go, being addicted to durian is probably one of the toughest. Why?

1) it’s seasonal, unless you accept Thai versions of durian.

2) everyone expects you to share. So no squirrelling it away to delve into piece by piece in privacy.

3) aroma. Even if you did eat it secretly, you can’t hide the scent in your breath and your  subsequent burp. 

Anyway, DC and AY love durian. They’ve told me so many times and keep a small stash of the stuff individually packed in heat sealed airtight bags in their freezer. But as the durian connoisseur knows, the flavours and texture of frozen durian seldom approach that of the naturally ripe, freshly chiselled open fruit at room temperature. It’s also the suspense of visualising the flesh as the thorny husk is prised apart. It’s just not the same appreciation when a clear plastic box is plonked down in front of you and you can see every seed you will eat all at once. The sound of crackling from the frozen plastic box also fails to stimulate. 

Alright. Enough waxing and whining. Let’s get down to business. 

DC and AY invited us over to their home for dinner. Naturally, we bring dessert. I just relished the opportunity to do the test I always wanted. Comparing a chain store purchased Musang King to one bought from a specialty fruit vendor. Are the durians at Park n Shop good enough? Do they preserve the freshness well on the shelf for several days? Is the price difference justifiable? Let’s find out.

The Great Musang King Challenge

I skipped over to the fruit vendor Fu Wing

“Gor gor mao san wang gei dor chin aah?” (approximate Cantonese sounds for how much is the durian?)

After weighing..

“Sei bat umm sap mun”

(HKD 450)

I paid it and asked him to put some cling film around it for me. He protested. “It will spoil”, “the heat will destroy the flesh”, “the water content will leak out of it”, “it will be too stuffy”. I told him I’d be back in half an hour for it and it didn’t matter as I was only taking it for a 25 minute journey. I just didn’t want it to stink out our Uber car.

After that I did a quick march to the supermarket. There were several mao san wang durians ALL wrapped up in cling film sitting in a plastic crate. I picked each one up carefully, observing the state of the stem, the colour of the husk, whether there was any detectable scent and if they felt equal in weight.

Weight wise, they all felt quite similar. This sorting had taken place upon supplier provision. There were colour variations, some husks more rust coloured, some very green. That generally indicates whether the fruit was exposed to the sun or not. The stems were all about two inches long and seemed relatively healthy, except for one which had split longitudinally, probably during handling. I couldn’t detect any scent, all the durian husks were intact and kept so by the tight cling film wrap.

I chose a green one with a good looking stem and felt firm within when I gave it a shake. HKD 350. That’s a whole 20% cheaper at the supermarket.

I popped it in a plastic bag and put it in my stroller bag. No sense letting everyone know I had bought a durian and I didn’t want to injure myself carrying it in my hands (yes, seriously). I also didn’t want Fu Wing to know I’d bought a durian from the supermarket… (I just wanted to ensure that they would not select differently).

Thus armed with two thorny fruits, we made our way over to DC & AY’s home.

“Happy Birthday!” I exclaimed when she opened the door.

“It’s not my birthday!” She replied.


I know that. But everyone needs an occasion for durian… more the reason for two (especially at this price).

After a bak kut teh dinner, AY placed both fruits on the table and deftly split them open. 


The aromas were immediately apparent and wafted throughout the house. I tried getting everyone present to do a blind taste test but no one agreed. Everyone said that visuals are part of the experience. Ok ok, point taken.


So what was the consensus?
Durian from Taste:


Bitter, sweet, smooth, creamy, just enough elasticity in the bite. Fragrance was rich and full, the seeds small and flat.

Durian from Fu Wing:


Sweet, smooth but a little too firm. Not ripe enough to present as really creamy. Fragrance was present but not tantalising, as expected from a fruit with more maturation to go.


We declare the Musang King Mao San Wang from Taste best value for money and the overall Winner!

Fresh Mao Shan Wangs spotted at Apita Supermarket 

“Have you been to Apita before? It’s where most Japanese people go to do their shopping.”

As I hadn’t, my neighbour EB suggested that we take a trip to Apita Supermarket in Tai Koo Shing.

I am full of praise for this supermarket located in the basement. Upon descending by escalator, the cavernous brightly lit space opens up on two sides. Turn left. Pick up a basket, pop it on the trolley. Wheel past bakery shop Panash and try not to stop because you’ll be overwhelmed to purchase a bread bun. Enter fresh foods area. 

Wide open aisles, neatly packed fresh produce greet you. All labelled in Chinese and English. I’d just finished inspecting the vegetables and saw the foreign fruit section. Sitting on its own little display crate were the prize. 

Durians at Apita Supermarket


The whole durians looked small-ish but good. The stems were on and I couldn’t detect any aromas. Price wise, it’s more expensive on a per kg/lb basis.


The packaged durian was double sealed. I was very impressed that I couldn’t detect a whiff of durian at all. The staff must have taken great care to ensure that no durian made contact with the exterior (not even transfer through gloves).


Then I saw this fantastic packaging display. Seriously, what artistic staff. To split the durian open perfectly in half, exposing the fleshy pellicles and balancing the other fruits on top without looking like it’s been mushed up? That is artistry.

And I couldn’t smell a thing. Just fantastic. Not even City Super does it like that.

This gets my vote for most eco-friendly packaging as there’s no excessive plastic surrounding it, just cling film. But you’ll need to carry it home very carefully so that you don’t end up with just durian pulp on top.  (Of course the best is you buy it in husk which doesn’t require any packaging at all but then you can’t visually inspect the fruit)

Frozen D24 durian mochi

What’s in a durian mochi?


They also had frozen durian mochis available but these are made from D24 so it’s a very different flavour. 

I didn’t buy any but I did have durians on the weekend. Read about my durian challenge in the next post.

Musang King 🐱⛰ 👑 Durian for sale at CitySuper, Times Square

If it’s at Taste, it’s also gotta be available at CitySuper. In I went to hunt down the durian in Causeway Bay.

It’s right at the front entrance, impossible to miss. Sitting high up on a display bench, whole durians sans cling film beckon. The packaged durians packed in impenetrable stiff plastic wrapping. Not a whiff of any aroma at all. 

Boxed durian for sale at CitySuper


But the colour looked good. 
And the price…? Well, expect to pay at least twice the price for this box of gold at CitySuper.

Durian Priced by weight at CitySuper


Mmm looks good….

Boxed Musang king at CitySuper


Pretty funny that they translate it literally as “durian meat“. I suppose “durian flesh” doesn’t sound much better.