Sometimes a durian biscuit will just have to do

This durian season in Hong Kong has been meagre. July flew by with very few durians from Malaysia on display or sale. (Thai durians are omnipresent but what’s the fun in that.) I heard that durian is going for SGD 100 per kilo from my mother. Can it be true? 

Tellingly, my friend DW on his trips to KL and Singapore has had few opportunities to indulge in his favourite fruit. 

So how have we survived???!!!!

DW brought back some durian biscuits from Durian Durian in KL. In chinese these are 香餅, which aren’t exactly biscuits in the English sense nor are they cakes. I guess the closest thing is maybe a flaky jam tart… but it’s filled with durian instead of berry based jam. Anyway for the purpose of this blog, they are biscuits.

It really wasn’t bad. Here’s the tub.


The biscuits  inside are individually wrapped. So they are protected from bumps and won’t flake all over.


Here’s the advice on the back of the tub to warm it up if you have kept it for a while. I didn’t do this though and it tasted fine.


It tasted good. There was a nice durian aroma and aftertaste, I think I burped durian for a few hours later. It tasted more of rich D24 blended with maybe D101 than Musang king though. You can see the nicely baked layers and the durian paste oozing out…


It was all gone, flakes and all, in 2 minutes. 

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.

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)

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.

Updated post to the City Super milkshake

A friend, BY is a durian fan here in HK and after she saw the last post, she decided to give it a try. Twice.

Her opinion:

It was ok. I’m not sure what durian they used. It was frozen from a box that resembled durian ice cream. I asked but the guy didn’t know. Second time around, I asked him to add more of the durian which he did. The flavour was stronger and better.

Tip:

So if you’re going to make it worth your trip to get it, try asking for another scoop of durian in your milkshake ;).

Drink a durian milkshake at City Super in Times Square, Causeway Bay

My friend JC and I frequent the City Super food court every week. We’re there at least once a week, having a meal or a drink, catching up while the toddlers are in playgroup. 

The two stalls that took over the one juice stall was a great makeover. One stall does juices and is charmingly called the Juicery (owned by Honeymoon Dessert next door), while the other sells fresh fruit lollies. Mind you I have yet to see anyone buying a fruit lolly. 

I ordered a peach and lemon juice on the recommendation of the staff, he told me that it had way more “zing” than the peach with soda water. It certainly came with bits of lemon zest which added a nice texture to the drink.

Along the mock lineup of drinks, I noticed that they had durian milkshake. How could they not. 


Retailing at 36 HKD per cup, it is certainly one of the pricier drinks on offer. 

I haven’t asked the staff for more information on it yet.., such as what sort of durian they use, whether it’s fresh or pulped or the essence of, and how much of it is really durian

I’ll update this post once I’ve ascertained it but if you have tried it, let me know.