Last few spots on Lindsay’s durian tour for 2017

According to the Star newspaper in Malaysia, numbers of durians are down but the number of durian consumers are up. So this year we’ll be experiencing a price squeeze for durian… again. 

Durian orchard tours snapped up

For those making the annual pilgrimage to Penang for durian tasting, you’d best hurry as the bookings have been made by many others. 

Lindsay Gasik’s Bao Sheng durian farm tour in Penang is probably best to go with if you want an English speaking guide. 

If you prefer a more chinese D-I-Y experience which is less luxe (possibly no air conditioning and definitely no swimming pool) and more rural (ie harder to get to) you can check out this list of durian orchards by Jojo or give Fook Gor a call to confirm that they haven’t exported the best ones to KL…

Penang Men’s Kitchen Cafe

I used to travel to Penang for work related meetings, usually planning them to coincide with the possibility of eating good food, and when in season,the best durian.

Now it seems that durian is available all year round in various desserts. I suspect that the durian fruit pulp industry is a getting larger than the fresh fruit distribution network. Certainly that is what is being reported (Durian exports to China Fruitful).

Mens Kitchen in Penang is one of the cafes making their own durian derived desserts.

I’ve not tried it yet but it all looks pretty good. 

Here are some other bloggers who’ve written up about it.

Steven Goh – nice review on the durian derivatives and other food served in the cafe. He also explains the meaning behind the name.

And 

Gibson – nice photos of all the food, and nice photos on the interesting drinks.. I’m keen to try the Doraemon.. how creative! 

Durian makes for black, thorny politics

News from Malaysia has been diabolical recently and so it shouldn’t have surprised me to see this latest news from the Penang assembly.

Essentially, these backbenchers (perhaps the same everywhere) are lobbying any idea around to raise extra funding for their district or constituency without considering if it really would bring extra income over a longer term. The initial spend from the government would line the pockets of local contractors to construct ostentatious structures and allow the parcelling off of land for purposes dubious at best. Thereafter, projects are often abandoned or poorly maintained, becoming a national embarrassment. 

The backbencher identified a rice museum (an independent review of it here) and a pineapple museum (see a review of it here) as a justification for launching a durian museum. They would be best advised to conduct their research on the number of annual visitors and what their feedback is. Better yet, put the vote online and see what people think public funds should be spent on. The rice museum’s main attraction is a painting panorama by North Korean artists (what?!) and the pineapple cultivation equipment looks like something any gardening amateur could have at home.

If a durian museum was indeed needed and profitable (pineapple museum charge is RM 2, the rice museum is RM 3), Balik Pulau’s private durian industry would’ve gathered together to launch one. That clearly is not what durian lovers are looking for. 

Balik Pulau organizes durian carnivals and exports durian all over the world. They provide farm tours and have websites that feature all the hybrids. 

We don’t need a building full of fake fruit. We just want the real thing, grown well, less expensively if possible, and a decent place to eat it. Anything else and especially if government run is just a stupid idea. 

Jack and Jill went up the Hill……(Penang Hill that is)

My friend Jack, his wife and baby (neither of them are named Jill actually), went for a long weekend trip to visit relatives in Penang.

Of course it is Durian season and in a fit of being completely Kay-poh (busybody in dialect) I messaged them to ask how the durian consumption was going. They sent me these photos to “give me an idea” of the Penang durian makan fest that was happening while they messaged me.

Mmmmm, I could almost smell it and taste it. Here are the photos of the smorgasbord….. unedited.

A Whole Cempadak

A Whole Cempadak

Okay okay, that’s not durian I hear you say…!

Here we go… all this durian below for only 4 people. Well, it is the season and they do have excellent durian kakis (friends) who place the order ahead of time. Jack and his wife are one of the most organized durian consumers I know…. they planned this trip a year in advance.

Penang Durian by the Tub

Penang Durian by the Tub

These are 3 or 4 liter tubs…. Jack started eating at 8 in the evening and at 11pm was still going strong to finish the lot…

Fruit Cousins in Season: Durian and Cempadak

Fruit Cousins in Season: Durian and Cempadak

And the usual smaller 500ml tubs plus the cempadaks….

How many Cempadaks can Jack eat?

How many Cempadaks can Jack eat?

Seriously, I think my friend could be a contestant for a “Who can eat the most durians” competition, like the crazy coney island hot dog competitions in New York. It’s more healthy than hot dogs too (none of those awful processed meats and preservatives) and guaranteed to pass through the system without causing constipation!

Way to go Jack!

 

*Sadly, they couldn’t bring any durian back for me. I did get a small pack of cempadak though but it’s not the same is it.*

 

 

Durian Fest & Food Fair in Penang 2012

Announcement to all Durian Fans – The latest Durian Fest in Penang is on again. Details are as in the picture below. Penang durians are great in variety and full in flavor, if you haven’t been to Penang for durians before, I do recommend a trip to try.

(happened across it in this month’s Jetstar magazine – they seem to advertise specifically to Singaporeans to plan their trip there)

Durian Food Fair in Penang

Durian Booklet produced by the Penang Tourism Board

Parental Unit M today asked me over lunch if I had seen the different types of delicious durians in Penang. She doesn’t know I have this blog (at least I think she doesn’t know) and I replied that I had indeed tasted many different types of Penang durian and knew their flavors and some of their names.

She received this brochure by email from a friend and was rather inspired to make a trip to Penang to sample the ones mentioned. I said that it would only be right to attempt this during peak season, July through to September and not before (if we want to sample the range). And ideally, it would be 3 trips, one per month, because like the stock market, you just can’t time it to get everything you want.

Anyway, I thought it would be nice to make the brochure available on this site, since I haven’t come across it on my travels and you’re very welcome to view it and let me know what you think of their durian depictions, durian poetry and other snippets of weird and wonderful information.DurianBooklet

Durian Stall Competition in Penang

If you recall my previous post on the durian stall we went to in Jalan Macalister (or Lorong Susu to be precise), you’ll remember how much I enjoyed the wonderful flavors of the  durian from Penang hybrids and old trees. If you’re in the business world, it shouldn’t surprise you that no one ever lets a good thing stay on its own.

Durian Stall one lane down from Lorong Susu

A competitor-truck-stall opened up on the next street, just far enough that you can’t quite see, yet close enough that it is less than 20 paces if you want to get there (unlike the chendol stalls along Jalan Penang, which are literally opposite each other, now that is cut throat competition). So on our second visit there, I saw the competitors and thought I’d go have a look at their wares on display and how it compares.

Firstly, the stall was very well lit with lots of fluorescent light tubes. This is generally a good thing as people can see your display, but the display isn’t what I would say is overwhelming or spilling over with durians. It looked a bit sparse actually, like they were trying to place them evenly along the racks to make the racks look full. Stringing them up provides a good effect, but if you can look at the vendor through the fruit, it just means that they don’t have that many for you to choose from.

Not that many strung up for sale

The tables and stools for eat-in clients were places alongside under a shady but uneven tree-lined path outside a beer-garden/ market sort of joint. Quite a good location as the joint looked quiet or closed during the day, leaving them full use of the space. Not many clients, but then again, maybe they catch the spill overs later in the day, especially when the other stall sells out and goes home first.

If you have a durian craving, you have a choice! I have no idea what this stall is like, but Ah Teik serves us pretty well, so unless he’s closed one day, then we might have the chance to sample the fruits of the other stall.

Here are a few pictures from the Lorong Susu stall that we went to again…

Lorong Susu Durian Stall

Ah Teik opening the durians

And some of the durian we had….

Butter, Milk, Black Thorn, Red Prawn Durian Cornucopia

Butter, Milk, Red Prawns and Black Thorns

And I leave you with a seriously yummy one… the rest is up to your imagination, or better, go give it a try.

Love it when flesh falls off the seed