Scientific publication on the nutritional value of du du du durian

It’s not very often that scientific articles about durian get published. The fruit is not the easiest subject to work with.

It’s glove-piercing thorns and distinct odor present some initial challenges. The fleshy interior goes through a change of state during ripening, from rubbery and unyielding to a slippery and flaccid yet flavorful fruit. Imagine opening 50 durians for research and resisting consuming them all… if I were behind the bench, I might be in the dangerous position of only doing research on the durians unworthy of consumption.

Several friends have asked me before if eating durian yields any benefit for health. Yes, I say. It contains a tremendous amount of fibre, protein and carbohydrates. Eating a whole durian is a meal. Just make sure you drink lots of water.

We can refer to the several publications on durian that have quantified these important nutritional constituents.

In this review article, the authors cite the proportions in the following order:

1) carbohydrates 27%

2) dietary fat 5.33%

3) fibres 3.1%

4) proteins 1.47%

Then there are the vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, vitamin A, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc etc.

I’m not sure how much of these minerals and vitamins is contained in durian (in terms of the RDA) but I wouldn’t recommend eating durian for every meal... mostly because very few people would want to hang out with you!

My recommendation is to have it seasonally and only pick the best, make each bite or lick count.

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Go…Go…Go.. Durian Omakase!

I love this wonderful marketing strategy by 99 Old Trees in Singapore. Durian omakase (colloquially termed Sukawa by 99 Old trees.. a very Singlish phrase) is such a fabulous idea… it means you show up and the vendor picks a variety of the best fruit for you to sample (in unlimited supply). A few innovative companies in Hong Kong (that are from KL) have started doing this at sit down events, but no one has thought to coin it an “omakase” as it’s much more of a durian tasting of different varietals than necessarily the BEST of each one.

Check out this article about what 99 Old Trees is doing and do watch that video with Genevieve Loh, she’s superbly funny πŸ˜†.

I really miss being in Malaysia for durian season… is anyone coming to HK from KL/SG and can bring some omakase up for me? I miss having other varietals. In HK they only bother bringing in Musang king and maybe black thorn. Sometimes the Musang king is only so-so. I miss a good Tekka!

Ps. For the foodie uninitiated (from Wikipedia): Omakase is the Japanese tradition of letting a chef choose your order. The word means “I will leave it to you.” It’s a fine tradition that gives the chef creative freedom and the customer a memorable dining experience. Any good chef is a creative individual. … Omakase lets the chef flex their culinary talents.

A FB friend just went to 99 Old Trees and reported a stellar experience. Find them off Little India at 46 Owen Rd, #01-277 Singapore, Near Pek Kio Food Centre. But you’d better call them first… after this promo, I wonder if there’ll be any Durians left! Durians usually arrive from malaysia in the afternoon so get your tummy ready after 6pm…

Tel: +65 98222495 book by noon I would imagine!

Love, Durians, Marriage

I’ve always thought it difficult when two people with very different views and tastes get married and live together for a long time. Does each person suppress their love and longing for their favourite food or item?

One of the most controversial foods between couples is probably durian. The spiky, smelly fruit can ignite passions and arguments, inspire love and hate, close doors in otherwise open homes.

I know of several halves (of a couple, not a durian) who forgo their love of durian to please their spouse or partner. Only relishing the fruit when the spouse is away. A different personality then emerges and congregates with other durian lovers, a brief but vibrant convivial session full of chatter, fragrance and licking of lips and fingers.

For me, I decided a long time ago that my long term partner must enjoy eating durian. They don’t need to enjoy discussing it, don’t need to know how to open it or identify it. Just being able to sit down and eat it with me is good enough. Why? Well, first because I like to have a few Durians and can’t finish them all on my own. Second, it’s always nice to have company at the table. Third, it’s helpful to have someone else around to snap a pic.

A while back, I came across this article about a durian seller looking for a spouse for his daughter. He had several criteria and I thought what he asked for wasn’t too unreasonable. Looks like his daughter has much selection work to do.

Thai durian seller looks for Chinese son-in-law on Facebook

Here’s an update on what happened after the news went viral.

Zero gravity durian

In the name of science, people are willing to do crazy experiments. Like crazy expensive experiments. Nothing is too much in the name of science.

The Thai space agency sent a vacuum packed package if Durians into space for a few minutes. Accompanying the Stinky orbiting astronaut were some packets of jasmine rice. (Here’s the article).

In fact, it’s so ridiculous a proposition that I wonder how they justified the cost. Well, here’s the rationale.

β€œIn the future we want astronauts to be able to eat Thai food,” said a spokesperson for Thailand’s Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA).

Is this Thai astronauts eating Thai food or other astronauts eating thai food? Weird. The thai food that springs to my mind isn’t a packet of dehydrated durian. More like a great phad thai, a som tum salad or a fabulous Tom yum soup.

Any other reason?

β€œWe want to see whether there are any physical changes after it returns to earth, for example it might get smaller, or cracked.”

Err ok... so you want to see if vacuum packaging works well in space or if freeze dried durian may dehydrate some more?

I just don’t get it. Let me know if you’ve heard the results.

When commercial crops clash with local tribes…

In a rather rural and remote part of Kelantan there’s a dispute over durian plantations… hopefully this is not going the way of palm oil. If it is, you should only buy fruits from old trees, except that there’s no real way to know.

Read about it here.

It not only affects the way of life of the indigenous people but I’m guessing also their livelihood.

Another sweet durian treat in Times Square, Causeway Bay

There is simply an infinite number of ways that you can conjure up a slightly different dessert using all the same ingredients. Agree?

Well I certainly thought so when I saw this.

A Danish Durian Bar.

No, no not a bar in Denmark… although that’s what initially popped into my mind. Were they eating these Danish bars in Denmark?

As it turns out, NO. Danish Bar is a Japanese bakery concept started by the Mermaid bakery.

They had all sorts of sweet and savoury flavors wrapped in a sort of crepe type exterior which looked partly crunchy and partly chewy… one had a D24 filling. Interesting. It looks a little lewd, (but I guess the sausage one is the most lewd) and I’m not sure you want to be seen eating it while walking around.

I plan to go and try it, though if you get there before me, let me know if the D24 is worth it. A Mao Shan Wang might have greater appeal.

Find it at the corner near the escalators by the City Super Food Court in Times Square, right by Mermaid Bakery.

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.