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 (自然). 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 ✅ , pricing not exorbitant ✅ , good looking durian in the cover ✅ , from Malaysia ✅ . 

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.

🐱🐱🐱🐱🤸🏻‍♂️🤸🏻‍♂️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.

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Durian snacks and kaya available at Save More in Wan Chai Market

On my recent trip to Save More to buy Nescafé 3 in 1 mix coffee, I had a bit of time to browse around. I was quite surprised to find a few packaged durian snacks for sale. Or maybe I shouldn’t be…as Philippinos do love durian and this is a shop that they frequent. 

Well here goes…

First up, durian white coffee from Ipoh, this is promoted as a 4 in 1!! 


It’s cheap, but I’m just not sure whether you’d enjoy waking up to a durian coffee every morning… Hmm…

Next up the same brand of durian kaya I saw in the coconut shop, Homei (which, in Cantonese means fragrant).


The bottle is a more manageable size, it’s half the volume for over half the price. (Bigger bottles are $30). Note that it’s very high in sugar, eat sparingly 🙂

Then this durian filled sandwich cookie called Durian Chaplet. $18 for a box. Also available in pineapple flavour.

The competitor would be durian cream biscuits in a flexible packaging which is $15 per pack.


If you need to pick any of these up, you can get them at Save More in Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai market.

Durian Kaya and durian coated crackers sold in Hong Kong

Walking on Hennessy Road in the direction from Wan chai MTR towards Causeway Bay is always quite an unpleasant experience. It’s usually crowded full of people queuing for buses and waiting at busy intersections to cross the road, bus fumes and general noise from the sheer volume of buses that ply the street. 

On a Saturday or Sunday morning however, it can be a bit more pleasant. 


Along the stretch of Hennessy (walking in direction of traffic) between Fleming and Stewart intersections, a few new shops have opened to sell a variety of groceries. 

The first one I came across was a shop called A CAP coconuts specialising in coconut based products. This is unlike the fresh coconut shop in Wan chai market. 


This shop sells more processed coconut based products, ranging from coconut oils for consumption to skin products and drinks.
It was here that I spied this…


Oooh kaya. I have a bottle that my mum

Just brought up for me, but that’s the best Singaporean pandan Kiliney road kopitiam kaya… 

This stuff was probably made from processed pulp that didn’t make the cut for consumption in its natural state. I turned the bottle around to look at the details.


Well it doesn’t say Mao Shan Wang… So how good could it be?? When I finish my kaya at home, perhaps I’ll come back for this.

A few shops down the street, another snack shop selling cheap tidbits of all sorts had this durian crispy cake.


I’m not terribly impressed with the packaging and wonder who’s buying?!