Durian at Cengkareng Airport, Jakarta part 1

On our most recent expedition to Jakarta to investigate and inspect AR’s new property, I looked all around the roads we travelled for fresh durian but didn’t see any.

It wasn’t until I got to the airport for my flight (which was severely delayed) that I perused the shops and found some durian related items. It does look like the Indonesians are finally catching the durian commercial bandwagon and starting to process them into something other than dol-dol or frying them in nasty looking orange oil.

After verifying that the plane would eventually leave from that gate, I wandered off to explore the various shops in the terminal. This shop was nearest my gate in the “D” section.

photo 4

Looks like the usual spread of chocolates and packaged snacks.

photo 1

Then I came across these. What were they? Chocolates, Dol-dol or something else entirely? It’s called Choco-Dol and comes with different fillings…. one of which is durian. Hmmm.

Here’s a close up.

photo 3

I am not sure whether it is from the town of Garut in Java, near Bandung. Probably.

How much is it?

photo 2

Rp 12,000. That’s about 1.50 USD. It’s about the same price as a Magnum ice cream stick. I haven’t tried this dol-derivative but think I would rather have a Magnum.

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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.

A taste of Durians from Medan

After all this time that I’ve been visiting Jakarta, I’ve seen local Indonesian durians for sale (usually from Medan) but never bought any to try. Well, that all changed last week when I decided to take the plunge for the first time.

I was out to buy some peaches for a friend at the Total Fruit Store in Jalan Wolter Monginsidi and of course the display caught my eye.

Monthong and Medan Durians for Sale at the Total Buah Segar

Monthong and Medan Durians for Sale at the Total Buah Segar

We are definitely already in the midst of durian season and I’ve been eyeing the Monthong durians for sale at the GrandLucky but succeeded in holding off my purchase as it just doesn’t smell or look as good as the ones we get in KL.

But durian deprivation finally got a hold of me and I thought a good way to get rid of the craving would be to try something new. I had to take a closer look.

Small Medan Durian Fruits

Small Medan Durian Fruits

OK, not too unfriendly pricing. The one on the left is equivalent to 5.6 uSD and the one on the right is 6.3 USD. Not too bad I guess. I contemplated for a short while and picked up the one on the left because the fruit didn’t look quite as “squashed” from handling and packaging. It’s a pity that it’s just labelled as “Durian Medan”. It’s as if there is just one type… which would seem very unusual to me. Perhaps there just isn’t the breeding and cultivation industry as there is in Malaysia.

We attended a dinner that evening so we didn’t end up consuming it on the same day. I stuck it in the freezer for another evening. We didn’t wait too long.

Here’s a picture of the durian post thaw:

Nice Color

Nice Color

Color looked great but what was disappointing was the lack of the usual durian aromas which are so important to kick the saliva glands and neural connections into overdrive. Oh well, we’ll give it a try anyway.

Saving the Durian for last

Saving the Durian for last

Durians should always be eaten last or solo among fruits. The taste is usually overwhelming and even the best ripe Californian peaches and grapes will be bland compared to it.

So the taste test.

MMMmmmmm Durian....

MMMmmmmm Durian….

Verdict

Aroma: C

Flavor: C

Color (vs expectation): B-

Texture: B

Size of seed: Large (compared to pellicle)

Overall rating: C

I thought it was generally lousy compared to Malaysian durians but am open to re-rating if I get a better sample. No wonder Indonesians fly in to KL to eat durians.

 

 

 

 

Durian Petit Pot Dessert

At lunch in Koi’s in Kemang (round the corner of Faris Durians mobile stall), I looked over the dessert menu to see if anything caught my eye.

Koi’s dessert menu

And there it was… “Durian Cooked in a Jar”. I simply had to try it.

Durian Petit Pot

It was indeed served in a glass jar, with a serving of vanilla ice-cream on the side.

Durian Petit Pot 2

And it was delicious. Light, fluffy and creamy. With a slight honey-ish syrup at the bottom. SW shared it with me and said it was like a flan. Dips of durian with vanilla. I’m not usually into derivatives but this was nicely done and neither extremely hot nor cold. I think it might be Monthong though.

Stinky Spikes investigates Total Fruit Shop in Jalan Walter Monginsidi

One evening as we were planning on our usual Korean haunt for excellent barbeque cuisine, we got the taxi to drop us off at the fruit mart so that we could have a look around prior to dinner (may I say to everyone that this is not a good idea because if you’re hungry you’ll want to buy everything in sight).

CG had told us that this mart was a durian seller in the neighborhood, stocking durians usually of any varieties from all over so of course, Stinky Spikes had to go do some research on where this was a myth or truth. So we went.

First thing you see when you enter the store is the large poster hailing durian lovers to enter and expect.

Big Durian Poster upon entry

Of course, by looking at the poster the durians from Malaysia are indeed the best (or maybe anything that is imported is better?). And they are advertising the “Musang King” which is the mau sang wang…. wow.

So I wandered around the shop looking for it but all I found in the back cool section was this:

Not very many – only 4 left and all wrapped up in cling film

Hmm. Not a lot and quite disappointing. I looked to the left – Iranian dates in huge 5Kg boxes. To the right, cut fruit. Hmm. Ok fine, what type is it and how much does it cost?

XO clearly stated

Well, it’s definitely NOT a mau sang wang or a Musang King. But hey XO’s are sometimes pretty good too. A taste of slightly fermented fine wine with a bitter tinge. Ok fine, how much does it cost?

That’s a total of about USD 12 per durian (and they were kind of small)

So for these durians under a kilo in weight, you would expect to be setback by around USD 12+. Is it worth it? I guess if you have a craving XO’s are much cheaper in Malaysia and not forgetting that once you remove the husk and extract the fruit, there’s probably not much in there which can be seriously disappointing.

On my next slow and winding path around to explore the rest of the shop, I found this:

Durian Potong Sticks at the Jalan Walter Monginsidi shop

Halal durian potong sticks for Rs 6,000 (that’s less than USD 1). Of course they come in all sorts of flavors but how are the durian ones faring in sales?

Durian Potong Sticks are popular!

Looks like it’s doing well and I think this would be the cheaper alternative to buying the durian if you just need to get rid of the flavor craving.

When I asked the guys at the counter why there was no Musang King, the response was a big smile saying “but we have XO”. “Durian Musang arrives by flight shipment next week, you can come back then”.

So I guess similar to my arrangements in Malaysia, you just have to have contacts with the fruit men to tell you when those fruits will arrive.

The main question is, will they arrive ripened or unripened? And what would you pay for it?

End of primary investigation by Stinky Spikes 

 

 

 

 

Durians for sale in Kemang, Jakarta

Durian Stall in Kemang, Jakarta

While walking around hot and dusty Kemang, I spied a little mobile truck stall parked on a the corner of a petrol station selling durians. I  had to pause to peruse the wares.

Charmingly named  Faris Durians, it was clear upon closer inspection that they were undeniably from Thailand.

Then I asked about the Medan durians and whether there was a difference? The seller smiled and said it depends on taste (polite way of maybe saying yes, the Medan ones are not very good…). It was clear that the Medan ones were smaller than the Thai ones, and for sure he’d want to sell the imported stuff first.

Faris Durians: Monthong and Medan

Durians in Jakarta Supermarkets

GrandLucky Supermarket - Durian for sale

On a durian hunting outing during the weekend in Jakarta, Stinky Spikes spotted 2 supermarkets selling durian. In South Jakarta, 2 supermarkets have durian for sale. At GrandLucky, the durian aromas wafts towards you as you walk towards the fruit and vegetable section. The durians are from Thailand and were still in their shells and some of them were already split and open. And there was just one packet of durian for sale.

At thirty two thousand rupiah (RM 11), the durian looked quite ripe and soft, almost mushy. We think that this packet was left out for everyone to see what the quality, color and texture is like. This packet has probably u

ndergone severe molestation by all sort of fingers poking it to see whether the flesh yields. Poor packet. I think it is destined to become pulp and mushed up for a puff, pancake or dodol. If you’re there at GrandLucky and have a craving, you can find this whole crate at the back near the fresh fruit section. Quite surprisingly though, you can’t smell it until you’re almost 5 feet or less away from the entire crate. The reason I suppose, is that all the durians are still in their shells or husks, so the smells are contained and also keeps the fruit relatively fresh. The downside of this though, is that you have no idea what the fruit inside looks like or tastes like until you purchase it. Since Thailand has managed to achieve food SOP consistency, perhaps this isn’t as big a gamble as one might think.

Durian at Grandlucky from Thailand

 

All the durians looked to be of even size and very even coloring. I would estimate the weight of each to be between 2-3 Kilos.

It’s so funny that each of them had a red sticker around the evenly cut stems, with the telephone number and email address of the Thai company selling them.  I suppose it might be because it is direct sourcing from the plantation or agent.

Then we went to Lotte supermarket and while browsing around , discovered that they had a crate of durian too. It must be the Thais getting very savvy at exporting their fruit overseas. Similarly to GrandLucky, they also had the durians in their shells, although there were a few more packets on display. These durians looked a little darker (just slightly) in the shade of their husk and didn’t have a red sticker but a green sticker instead.

Thai Durian on display at the Jakarta Lotte Mart

And, like the ones at GrandLucky, exuded no smell at all. I began to wonder if they were all the new species from Chantanaburi. There is no way that any respectable supermarket in Malaysia would have local durians displayed thus because it would just stink out the entire area.

The durians were quite inexpensive. This 2.28Kg durian costs only 54 thousand rupiah, which roughly translates as 6 USD or less than 25 Ringgit. I can’t say about the quality though because we didn’t buy any (was not going home yet). And they had this one on display cut open so that shoppers could also see the nice golden pillow texture of the Thai durian. Notice that the husk is quite golden in color. Definitely genetically selected. These durians at the lotte were going for about 10% less than those at GrandLucky.

Whole Durians for sale at Lotte Mart, Jakarta

If anyone decides to fulfil a craving in the city, you know where you can get imported Thai durian. I am waiting to try the local durian selection to compare it with Malaysia’s wonderfully tasty species.