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. 

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“Agrotainment”, KenDurian: Durian fiesta in Dataran Merdeka

Malaysians are generally very good at coining new terms, and the ministers of state transmit these through mainstream media. So now, apart from “sportstainment”, “edutainment”, we now have “agrotainment“.

 Pretty silly as my toddler would say. 

Anyway, this article reports that the durian fest held at Dataran Merdeka was such a huge success that it might be held every last weekend of July. From the video, it looked like a very civilised affair, with a tent, tables with table cloths, chairs and plates. People are seen selecting their durians and packing them into plastic containers. I’m not sure whether it was mostly kampung durians and those of less popular breeds… Most of the best durians are often exported to the highest bidders around the region.

Of course, this could also be the situation in the VIP tent where the minister was given the tasting tour… Perhaps everyone else was shunted outside.

If you were there, please let me know what you thought of it since this is now thought of and promoted as a national event…!

Do you like Cendol and Durian? Feel like splurging on calories this Ramadan?

Cendol durian reigns supreme 

If anyone is visiting greater KL and feeling like they just need one bowl of a good durian dessert, this might be a place to hit. It’s far out and I’ve not been there myself so I can’t vouch for it, but the contributor of the article seems to be raving about it. 

According to the article, Durian Cendol is the star attraction here. They offer both durian tembaga (D118, see description here) from Thailand and, when in season, the Musang King. RM 15 per bowl gets a portion of Cendol with perhaps one or two seeds of durian flesh. Of course the sweetness of the Santan and the smoothness of Cendol can be absolutely addictive. (Quick mention for best Cendol in Penang, without durian but totally delicious on a hot sunny afternoon. Fantastic post lunch treat, as long as you don’t overstuff yourself with Kway teow!).

Worth it? If anybody tries, please let me know 🙂

If you’re celebrating Ramadan, do check out the additional stalls they’ve added during this festive season.

Here are some maps to give you a perspective of where the stall is (I’ve done a gradual zoom in)… You’ll definitely need a car and I reckon it’ll take you at least 1.5 hours to get there from KLCC excluding peak hour traffic.

Kuala Lumpur Durian Stalls in SS2 Relocated to Jalan Harapan, Section 19

It was only a matter of time before this durian stall relocation happened. The durian stalls were in a prime location in Seapark. 

I saw this article in the news recently that the city council has finally decided to house the durian vendors (who took up precious parking lots) to a more permanent location. The “uproar” as stated in the news was due to the lack of parking spaces at the new location, and the lack of space for tables and stools for clients who wish to consume on the spot.

   

   
This article highlights some of the complaints… In summary, poor construction quality, lack of considerate vendor space, seating area, parking space for visitors, toilets etc etc. Traffic queues caused major congestions along the major road linking Section 19 to SS2. This road is already heavily used in the best of days. 

The councils response was that these were meant to be stalls and that if business was that good, they should open a proper shop. 

Frankly, I’m both surprised and disappointed with the council’s response. After all, they supply the permits and presumably charge for it. Did they not survey the human traffic to the stalls? See how much seating area would be required for each stall? How many cars would visit during peak season? 

The previous location was great as both tourists and locals could have dinner in the neighborhood and walk to the stalls for dessert. Seating areas were separated from the main road by a divider and a drain. 

From the description in the article, it sounds like the present area in Section 19 is literally a stall facing the main road so cars would occupy the road in order to park right next to the stalls. A nearby unlit lot was deemed too dangerous by a customer (yes, sad state of KL life now) to park the car and walk over.

An idea for the council could have been to provide more public car park space by lighting up and improving the unlit space. These would serve the nearby restaurants and encourage other businesses to consider the area attractive. Then, as durian is a seasonal and mostly a night time affair, rent the lots at night to these vendors with strict conditions to clear up every night. Alternatively, the stalls could be built near the parking lots with a toilet (though I tremble to think of the state of a public toilet in KL…). Charge the vendors more if their stalls but give them an adequate facility if the idea is to retain them in the neighborhood.

Well, city planning is unfortunately not a priority in Malaysia and this is just one example.

I couldn’t find a map of the new stall location but I made my best guess on this map. The area has changed a lot since I was last there.

Relocation of durian stalls from SS2 to Section 19

Affected stalls include Donald’s durian which has been reviewed on this blog before.

If you’ve been there recently, please let me know if the articles reflecting the concerns of the vendors are legitimate.

Grab your Free Durian in KL Dec 14-15

Oh I wish I was back in KL for this! Attention all durian lovers in Malaysia!!

Free durian in Taman Tun December 11-12.

Free durian in Imbi December 14-15.

7pm onwards.

An article announcing a new durian shop opening in Bukit Bintang is giving away a free durian to every group of 3. 
Will it be a success? As long as the fruits are good, it’s guaranteed. And one palm sized durian isn’t going to satiate so everyone will buy their own. It’s more like buy two get one free 🙂 great marketing ploy.

The previous event sounds like it was off to a good start, according to this blogger

Where is the one in KL?

   
 So if you’re in KL next Monday or Tuesday check it out and let me know what you thought of the much hyped “oh chee”. If you’re late, you’ll end up with a Musang king or d24 which still isn’t bad.

Mr Eric aka Durian King, I’ll be back over Christmas please save some for me…! 

After Dinner Durian in Kuala Lumpur

On a recent trip to KL, I invited AC over for dinner. It had rained in the afternoon and we wanted to stay home to avoid the traffic at rush hour. She said that she would love to come over for dinner and exclaimed “I haven’t eaten durian since the last time you were here! I will go buy some as dessert.”

I wasn’t sure if she would, as she would have had to brave the traffic all the way to Jalan Imbi and back. Well, as sure as my salmon was in the oven and baking for dinner, AC turned up with the durian dessert. Initially we left the trademark rose red plastic bag on the table and didn’t want to touch it until after we had our dinner (you will soon see why this plan worked).

Right after we ate our dinner, I was pretty excited to get started on the dessert.

Go on mum” I said, “let’s open the durians!

My mum was a bit surprised that I had space for durians after the big meal, but as I have maintained for years, dessert compartments do not overlap with main dinner compartments.

Air sealed durian packaging

Air sealed durian packaging

 

So here’s why I could have my durians post dinner instead of having it as an appetizer. It was air sealed and there was no smell! So one of my main senses was deprived and hence… less temptation. AC told me that the Jalan Imbi durian uncle was rather proud of his new packaging, specifically pointing it out to her when she bought it. He told her that this way, no smell gets into the car. I suspect that this also serves the hordes of chinese tourists who want to bring some back to their hotel room or their home country via their luggage. They usually descend on his stall by coach loads and like a swarm of locusts, consume all the durian in sight.

Mum got a pair of scissors and exposed the wonderful durian fragrance which permeated the entire room.

Mao Shan Wang in March

Mao Shan Wang in March

And here is the first packet. Looking pretty good and tasting rich, smooth and creamy like a brut champagne.

MSW box 2

MSW box 2

The next box was equally delicious but had a different taste (one box contains fruit from one durian). It was a little softer, more pliant and a little watery. It had stronger bitter undertones and less of the sweetness. The thing about durian is that you can’t ever find fruits to compare which have the same texture but different tastes or the same taste but different textures. That is one of the wonderful surprises that durian has to offer. This is true even of fruit from the same tree.

Here is the final evidence.

Seeds of the Mao Shan Wang

Seeds of the Mao Shan Wang

The seeds are classically mis-shapened and small, most of Mao Shan Wang is the satisfying taste of sunshine.

Durian Chocolate Fix at Just Heavenly, Pavilion KL

If you must have durian off season, you might as well indulge yourself with a little chocolate too.

Just Heavenly doesn’t pretend. It’s completely chocolate covered, you can’t even see the durian. It’s also got an extra layer of glass over it (its also in the cake chiller display) as its such valuable stinky stuff.

As Malaysians always say “it’s a bit expensive”, at RM11.90 per piece. I didn’t buy it so I can’t tell you if it’s good.