Don’t cha wish your durian was Musang king (sing along to Pussycat Dolls)

It’s typhoon season in Hong Kong. These few days the passing typhoon brought pelting rain that lasted hours, drenching everything but giving all the streets a much needed wash. The rain brought the temperature down a bit but it’ll be muggy again before long. 

Just a few days before Typhoon Merbok rolled into town, I set off on a short expedition to see if anyone in Wanchai was selling Musang King durians yet. 
A survey of all the fruit stalls in the Wanchai market yielded only Thai durians. Hmm…..🤔

Ok how about we play Where’s Wally with durian. 


This fruit stall on Stone Nullah Lane often gets a lot of foot traffic. The lady who runs it is a bit fussy and unfriendly if you’re looking for small quantities. I’ve seen her break out in huge smiles only when clients come in to buy a box of expensive fruit.

At this stall the Thai Monthong (aka Golden Pillow) goes for $20 per pound.

The durians are way in the back. Did you spot them? Reveal reveal….


This next stall about halfway down Stone Nullah Lane also only had Thai durians for sale.


This stall is crazily well lit. It literally has hanging lights and down lights spaced barely a foot apart. I suppose it’s nice that you can really see the fruit. No need to guess and easier to see the fruit’s imperfections. They had the durians a little more towards the front.

At this stall the durians go for $15 per pound.

Did you see them? Reveal reveal…!


The Kai Bo food supermarket which opened about a year ago also tries its best to cater as a one stop shop to its clientele. Thai durians found here too.


This supermarket gets pretty busy during the day. It’s cheap. 

Here, these durians go for $14.8 per pound.

Do you see the durians? Reveal reveal!


Let’s have a close up shot eh.


I could almost feel myself falling into that Teochew trap of “bo hae her ma hor” (no prawn fish also can)… it was tempting to buy a thai durian just to have some. But no. It just wouldn’t do. I knew it wouldn’t satisfy me. It would probably make it worse.

So I continued with my little visual tour and durian window shopping. 

At the corner intersection of Cross Street, Wan Chai Road and Tai Wo Street, I stopped to see what durian activity there was.


Several cases has arrived and I went over to see the cargo. The uncle in charge was gloved up and very nimbly hauling out the durian and tapping them with his chopper. He was performing individual inspection of the fruit in each box.


I went in for a closer look. It was sent from OP Fruits Co, as a package of 6 Monthongs, “expor to the People’s Republic of China“.


At this stall, it was hands down the cheapest at $13 per pound. While I stood there, two Thai ladies cane up and bought a durian to go. 

The Thais have a formula for their durian producers. Stick with the productive fruit, ensure constant abundant supply to all overseas markets, dependable and consistent quality at a huge discount so that buying one is a simple decision making process. You simply know what you’re getting. And at that price, you can’t complain. 

I was sorely tempted but just knew it wouldn’t satisfy. Yup, I’m the delayed gratification type most of the time, though sometimes the impulse demon just overwhelms me. Not today demon, not today.

I can almost hear the refrain by Pussy cat Dolls ….

(Substituting girlfriend for durian)

Don’t cha wish your durian was hot like me

Don’t cha wish your durian was a Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

Don’t cha wish your durian was raw like me

Don’t cha wish your durian tastes like Musang king 

Don’t cha

Don’t cha

A splendid durian for San Francisco friends

SM & MM informed us about their visit to Hong Kong for a short trip of two days we were extremely excited. I inquired whether there was anything that they wanted me to purchase in advance.

MM said she wanted my help to get some creams for her (cheaper here than US) and some Si Chuan tofu which I introduced her to last time she was here. What else?

  
So it was an All Caps emphatic YES to durian

I’ve been walking past our durian seller daily and noticed a constant display of durian. Curious, I thought as it is now off peak for all durians, including our favourite Mao Shan Wang

The boss’s wife revealed to me that they have a special arrangement with two farms in Pahang who send them whatever falls from their trees, and now was the best time to eat it as it was at its most flavourful. I was a little suspicious but this fruit seller does get the best fruit in all of WanChai, durian included. 

Now MM’s visit presented the most wonderful opportunity to buy one to try. Due to its price, our little household will only buy it as a treat ;).

So on a Saturday evening, after we had spent much of the day walking and enjoying the rare, fine sunshine,  I returned to the fruit shop at 6.30pm to collect the durian I had asked them to reserve earlier. 

The boss pulled it out of the polystyrene box and presented it to me. 

“Lots of flesh this one” he said.

“You sure it’s good?” I asked.

“Definitely good. Guaranteed it’s good!” He confirmed very confidently. 

He popped it on the weighing machine. It was 3.1Kg. “400” he said. “Special price.”

So the deal was struck and he asked whether we wanted it opened and boxed, or we could take it in the shell which would be better.

  
After some deliberation, we decided in shell was probably fine. As long as he did the initial split for us. He left the rubber band on the end and wrapped it carefully in the spongy packaging material then popped it into a little bag. It seemed smaller once I had it in my hands, but well, good durian often feels that way.

I left it at home on the dining table and proceeded out to dinner. During dinner, we intentionally ate a little less to save room for durian.

Here are some photos of our delicious fruit when opened.

   
 You can see that it was a beautifully symmetrical fruit shell, all the better for good fruit contained within. The flesh was a lovely golden yellow and was the perfect texture, not wet and not too dry.

My first bite revealed a slightly fermented champagney sort of flavour which was interesting. The second seed I had from the other side of the shell was of a different taste altogether, more nutty, less of the fermented taste. Isn’t it interesting that the flavours in one fruit can vary so much. It’s nice to be able to discern these flavours, as opposed to eating items made with durian paste, which while tasty, are uniform and not tempting enough for the second dose.

  
We thoroughly enjoyed this durian, eating roughly 4-5 seeds between us before we declared that we could eat no more. 

Worth it? 

YES!

(And so much more pleasurable eating with friends)

Can Durian Cure Infertility?

All good things come in pairs?

All good things come in pairs?

Hmm. Infertility is one of those subjects that is taboo and sensitive in every culture. No one wants to admit that they are infertile for any reason and most go to great lengths to demonstrate that they can have children by having as many as possible (note that this is actually different from the demonstration of virility, although it should ultimately be linked to the same outcome).

Does Durian have a role to play in this? Well, I was quite surprised to read in an article that in Tamil Nadu (one of India’s largest states, or maybe it is the largest), the locals there think so.

*Credit for the picture here to Dr. Leslie Tay from ieatishootipost

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Ooty: The extended durian fruiting season at the horticulture farm (GHF) on the Burliar slopes comes as a major surprise for horticulturalists. The durian season usually runs between mid-July and mid-September, but this year the extended season has been witnessing good yields.

A durian fetches as much as Rs 600 per kg as barren couples try their luck through this fruit, which is said to help in providing help in tackling infertility problems. Call it magic or miracle, the rare fruit durian is much sought after by childless couples.

Saying that it is surprising to note that the durian season is extending beyond September, M. Pragasam, assistant director of horticulture (farms), said that this year the department had to call for a second auction in the month of October as there has been a good yield this month too.

While the government has earned additional income through durian, the reasons for the extended season may be the good rainfall in September and the delayed fertilisation in parts of the trees, he said.

“Even though there is no scientific evidence till date to speak for that this fruit solves the infertility problems, it is widely believed from ancient times that it cures the problems related to infertility and helps women to conceive.

Hence the demand is high for this fruit among childless couples. Quite a few couples who were blessed with a child after consuming durian in the past informed us over phone and letters about this miracle fruit. So, the demand for this fruit is always there” he pointed out.

V.J. Babu, who won the bid in October to harvest durian fruits at GHF in Burliar, said there are about 34 durian trees in GHF which continue to bear fruit. “Only when the fully matured fruit falls down do we pick it up and bring it for sale. We expect around 700 fruits this season. The demand is still there and those who want to buy this fruit mostly come to the venue to buy them” he said.

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Does Durian consumption make you feel like pro-creating? Usually after eating a huge durian feast, they fall asleep and that’s when the pro-creation happens, thus linking it to fertility. Hmm. (A huge protein intake would do the same but there are lots of vegetarians there so perhaps durians are a substitute).