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.

Durians at GrandLucky (Update)

I can’t help surveying durians offered in the usual haunts, I think many of us durian fans are probably the same in that way ;).

At the GrandLucky Supermarket in Jakarta, they were offering both Thai and Medan Durians.

Medan Durians for Sale

Medan Durians for Sale

Medan durians featured in my last post, but in this post I’m just keeping a record of what was available and at what price (doesn’t the price fluctuate like crazy!). As you can see in the above sign, the Medan Durians were marked down 40% from their original price per kilo. It really doesn’t keep. On closer inspection of the fruits, you can see why.

Close up of the Medan Durians

Close up of the Medan Durians

Some of the fruits were already split open – which is an indicator of ripeness (or of drop damage)- and the fruit inside are exposed. The fruit guys have put rubber bands around the base of the fruit to prevent the skins from opening up completely, but this means that the fruit has to be eaten on that day otherwise it can’t be displayed for sale any longer. I noted the lack of durian fragrance from these Medan Durians as well. Perhaps this tree is related to the non-smelling trees in Chantanaburi.

While strolling the aisles, something else caught my eye.

Make Your Own Durian Ice Cream

Make Your Own Durian Ice Cream

A rather baffling and strangely unfortunate brand name, Pondan ( I’m not sure why they chose this. In Berhasa it is a derogatory adjective, you can google it). It is an Indonesian product from a company that makes mixes for puddings, cakes and ice cream. One of their flavors is the Durian flavored ice cream, each box for Rp. 14,900 (equivalent to USD1.50). I can’t imagine how this would compete with the various Durian Es sellers who peddle their carts on the street using fresh durian. Hmm. Or maybe they display the fresh durian and use this pre-mix instead. It would certainly be a lot cheaper but somehow doesn’t seem as appetizing.

Durian Ice Cream at Island Creamery

Our long hike concluded at Serene Center. Carrying the dynamic ZI as a 6.5Kg weight had SW covered in sweat. That meant that dinner had to be somewhere outdoors and conducive to three stinky people. We ate at Le Petit Cuisine for the first time. It was okay, the steak was sold out so SW had to settle for a veal tenderloin with some cream sauce and pasta. I had the cutlet and pasta and we shared a salad. After that, we proceeded to Island Creamery for dessert and since it was Father’s Day, they were giving away a free scoop of ice cream to all dads (how nice of them).

Island Creamery doesn’t do the usual flavors, everything is a bit localized. They don’t have chocolate, vanilla or strawberry per se but I’m pleased to report that they have durian flavor as a standard one now. I didn’t see it available in scoops in the display freezer, but they had tubs of it for sale as pints.

Durian Ice Cream at Island Creamery

Durian Ice Cream at Island Creamery

You can see all the other interesting flavors they have around the Durian ice cream…

 

Singapore Island Country Club (Bukit) – Durian on the Menu

Last weekend, we were invited to the Singapore Island Country Club (SICC) for lunch. We had a huge lunch consisting of the local favorites, mee rebus, chai tao kway, char kway teow, satay, hainan chicken rice, teochew beef noodles.. a lot for a party of five. Even though the restaurant was busy and almost bursting at its seams, the food was mediocre at best.

Durian on the SICC Menu

On the front page of the menu, I spied… Durian! I got so excited that I called the waiter over especially to check if they served fresh durian in the cafe? (really? could it be true?)

“Sorry miss, it’s not fresh durian, actually its durian ice-cream..” he said “Do you want?”

Ahhhhh, of course, it had to be. Upon closer inspection of the menu, I realized that there was a clue on the menu which I hadn’t noticed. I decided not to have any that day, but have a look at the menu and see if you can tell…

How the heaty Durian can cool you down…

Its just after Chinese New Year (2 weeks in the second half of Feb) and the weather is behaving a little weirder than usual but that’s not really unusual considering the weather patterns occurring around the world. In Malaysia and Singapore, it has been intermittently hot as hot can be and cool after a lashing tropical rain storm. I think it is as traumatic for humans as it is for plants.

During this hot hot weather, I’ve been going in short sleeves and always opting for a lighter outfit in anticipation of the sticky uncomfortable feeling that follows having been outside. I’ve also had more ice-cream cravings than usual, ordering a sorbet or an ice cream scoop at any opportunity. This blog entry is thus dedicated to durian ice cream.

Yes, I know that I’ve been a snob in previous posts and turned my nose up at durian derivatives, but in weather like this, eating the fruit is delicious, but eating the ice cream is unbeatable.

Durian malaysian ice cream

Malaysian Durian Potong Stick

First up, the humble Durian potong stick, which retails for less than RM 1.50 and comes in local flavors like corn, red bean, pandan and cendol. By far the most popular is the Durian I think as there weren’t as many in the freezer as the other flavors. You can find this at any of the local grocery stores (this one taken in Taman Megah) and its basically a popsicle which has a very light flavor and the texture of frozen water.

Ice cream flavors at Bangkok Airport

Durian ice cream for 99 Baht at Suvarnabhumi

At the Bangkok Airport, they tout home made ice cream at the Japanese restaurant where one scoop sets you back 99 Baht which is the equivalent of about USD 3. I think it’s a relatively big scoop though and the flavors do look refreshingly unique and fruity.

Next time I’m there, I’ll be giving the Durian or the Mangosteen ice cream a try.

Ice cream stand at Bangkok Airport

Local Flavored Ice Creams at Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok

Well after all this reviewing, I’m sure you’re wondering whether I’ve had any durian ice cream that I would bother eating myself and recommending to my Stinky Spike friends?

YES….!! I have to give a drool factor of MAXIMUM to the durian ice cream that I had in Singapore at a new-ish ice-creamery in Holland Village known as the “Daily Scoop”. The ice creams are all made fresh on site by the owner (lawyer turned entrepreneur). I have to credit this discovery to my mum who is very much into trying new things in the neighborhood. She said “Girls, let’s go try the ice cream in Holland Village, the Durian ice cream is really fantastic”. Well, that sold us (or me anyway, my sister just got dragged along). It’s a beautiful little ice cream shop with very simple but neat decor. Concrete floors, white-washed walls with funky chairs and simple tables for the quick bite or the longer sit and chat crowd.

The Daily Scoop Ice Cream Store in Holland Village Singapore

The Daily Scoop Ice Cream Shop in Holland Village

Holland Village has become quite hip and with the new MRT station opening up just around the corner, I can imagine that this part of town is going to get a lot more traffic.

The Daily Scoop has many local flavors and of course the usual favorites, Cendol, red bean, black sesame and DURIAN feature and are rated highly on the menu. Vanilla, chocolate and hazelnut are all on the menu too for those who want the more conventional.

Here’s the menu for the take-away tubs (we bought a tub of Durian-Durian to take away).

Take Away the Daily Scoop Flavors!

And finally, here’s a photo of the Durian ice cream. One scoop of Durian and one scoop of hazelnut s’il vous plait….. πŸ™‚

If you’re in Singapore on a hot day, I highly recommend that you give this joint a try.

2 scoops: Delicious Durian and Hazelnut