The nangka tree off Sau Wa Fong

The other name for nangka is jackfruit. Perhaps you know it by that name? 

I was walking by Sau Wa Fong near Star street one recent weekend and spotted the jackfruit hanging off the very productive tree. Boy, did it look good. No, I’m not going to steal any. I don’t know who the tree belongs to and how it’s looked after. What I did do, was march down to the supermarket and buy myself a pack of Malaysian jackfruit. Yum yum, it was sweet, chewy and aromatic. 

What I did reflect on was that it would’ve been incredible to have a durian tree next to it. I don’t see why the durian tree can’t thrive here, especially with global warming… the winters have been getting shorter and milder. 

Anyone got a space for a durian tree on their doorstep? 

The Jackfruit hanging off the jackfruit tree

Durian Potong Sticks

Perusing the frozen section at Taste

I have been resisting an urge to eat cheesecake for the last few days. It’s an active resistance, where I seek it out and then tell myself I shouldn’t eat it and leave the shop. Yeah what is wrong with me?! 

So there I was looking at the frozen cheesecakes…when eeeeek stop. Potong stick? Do they have durian flavour? Zoom in for close inspection. Yes!


Wow I was beside myself with excitement. Thing is I just went for a dental appointment today to fix my filling. My left lower jaw and cheek was completely numb. I had absolutely no intention of dribbling my durian Potong stick all over the floor. 

Oh why do they bring in the frozen stuff at winter time? It’s now sweater weather here in Hong Kong. Well, that doesn’t stop me. I will buy it tomorrow. 

First proper Mao Shan Wang this August 2016

Hooray!!! Oh how I’ve missed eating good durian.

After what seemed to be an eternal time waiting for the right time to purchase a good Mao Shan Wang durian, we finally took the plunge last Sunday. 

I’ve been scoping out the market daily and the supermarkets too. City Super sells the pricier stuff (labelled Cat Mountain King) for between 400-900 HKD per fruit (smaller cheaper ones weigh around 1.3Kg), that started about two weeks ago. 

August 1st, Causeway Bay City Super. Durians on sale


When Malaysian durians finally hit the shelves at the Taste supermarket, it was a clear indication that the season had really begun. 

August 12th, durian on sale at Taste


The packets in the supermarket are nothing great though, often slightly too ripe and already a little molested in the packaging stages. 

In the Wan Chai indoor fresh fruit market, the stall blaring pop hits (on your left as you enter the doors from Queens Road East) had two on display in their refrigerated shelf. 

“The smaller one is 390, the larger one 500” came the response to my inquiry. We decided to take the larger one hoping to satisfy the cravings of three people. Mind you, large isn’t very large, the durian weighed less than 2.3 Kg for sure. 

Here we go….


I asked the fruit sellers to cut the durian for me for easy opening, we wanted to take it with its shell on to avoid damage and keep the aromas in. 


The durian flesh was a delightfully bright yet rich yellow, reminds me of the intense shade of sunflower petals. The whiff I had confirmed that it was worth paying for. 


As we opened the entire durian fruit, I was pleased to see that there were no signs of dry edges or fruit that was also too wet. It was a durian in more or less perfect condition. 


There were some stringy textures but that’s quite normal. Overall the flesh was smooth and silky though there were some interesting taste variations from pellicle to pellicle… One particular pellicle was a bit more bitter than the others… But not in a bad way.


I was also pleased to see that the flesh was well filled out in the pellicle and that every segment was equally inviting. No disappointments on fruit opening. 


The misshapened seeds characteristic of the Mao Shan Wang were larger than I had hoped  but that’s not something that I can complain about. 
FYI, also in season at City Super are the insanely large and inordinately expensive watermelons… Which also come in cube shapes!

Durian snacks and kaya available at Save More in Wan Chai Market

On my recent trip to Save More to buy Nescafé 3 in 1 mix coffee, I had a bit of time to browse around. I was quite surprised to find a few packaged durian snacks for sale. Or maybe I shouldn’t be…as Philippinos do love durian and this is a shop that they frequent. 

Well here goes…

First up, durian white coffee from Ipoh, this is promoted as a 4 in 1!! 


It’s cheap, but I’m just not sure whether you’d enjoy waking up to a durian coffee every morning… Hmm…

Next up the same brand of durian kaya I saw in the coconut shop, Homei (which, in Cantonese means fragrant).


The bottle is a more manageable size, it’s half the volume for over half the price. (Bigger bottles are $30). Note that it’s very high in sugar, eat sparingly 🙂

Then this durian filled sandwich cookie called Durian Chaplet. $18 for a box. Also available in pineapple flavour.

The competitor would be durian cream biscuits in a flexible packaging which is $15 per pack.


If you need to pick any of these up, you can get them at Save More in Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai market.

Durian Kaya and durian coated crackers sold in Hong Kong

Walking on Hennessy Road in the direction from Wan chai MTR towards Causeway Bay is always quite an unpleasant experience. It’s usually crowded full of people queuing for buses and waiting at busy intersections to cross the road, bus fumes and general noise from the sheer volume of buses that ply the street. 

On a Saturday or Sunday morning however, it can be a bit more pleasant. 


Along the stretch of Hennessy (walking in direction of traffic) between Fleming and Stewart intersections, a few new shops have opened to sell a variety of groceries. 

The first one I came across was a shop called A CAP coconuts specialising in coconut based products. This is unlike the fresh coconut shop in Wan chai market. 


This shop sells more processed coconut based products, ranging from coconut oils for consumption to skin products and drinks.
It was here that I spied this…


Oooh kaya. I have a bottle that my mum

Just brought up for me, but that’s the best Singaporean pandan Kiliney road kopitiam kaya… 

This stuff was probably made from processed pulp that didn’t make the cut for consumption in its natural state. I turned the bottle around to look at the details.


Well it doesn’t say Mao Shan Wang… So how good could it be?? When I finish my kaya at home, perhaps I’ll come back for this.

A few shops down the street, another snack shop selling cheap tidbits of all sorts had this durian crispy cake.


I’m not terribly impressed with the packaging and wonder who’s buying?!

Durian mochis from a famous mochi chain in Wan Chai

Since the last entry about the new durian dessert shop on Queen’s Road East, I’ve always noticed a steady stream of clientele throughout the day buying mochis of various flavours. 

The shop appears to be doing well.

A friend, DC, came by Wan Chai yesterday  to say hello. She brought me the mochis as a gift, saying that these mochis were super famous and delicious. 

  
They were very soft, these mochis, not too sticky and had the texture of mildly chewy marshmallows. 

  
The durian filling in the mochi was smooth and without a trace of fiber. It tasted like durian that was blended. The aroma was mild, the flavour palate was also mild. 

  
The peanut mochi was more intense in flavour. It was more textured with the crunchiness of the peanut and the sugar.

Overall, I’d say it’s worth a try but durian-wise it’s not going to satisfy your cravings. 🙂

Thanks DC for our desserts, they kept us full for the rest of the day and we didn’t even need dinner.

If you need a mochi, look for the shop at the corner of Swatow street and Queen’s Road East. 

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)