Road trips made fun!

Driving

I’ve always liked to go on road trips. It’s just the idea of heading out to someplace different and spending the night (or three) there, all the while enjoying the local quirks, culture and people that appeals to me. I’ve been doing this for a very long time, ever since I graduated from university and came back to Kuching to start-up a tech company.

Makeshift Bridge

The best thing about road trips is that a group of like-minded people can get together during the weekend and just go somewhere, anywhere. Part of the appeal is to explore and discover. I remember one of the early road trips where it took us two weeks (!!!) to find the place in question.

Annah Rais Hot Springs

The first time we set out, we totally missed our destination – the signage was close to non-existent and we got stuck on an unpaved muddy logging road, but still made the best of the experience. It’s the journey that matters right? We managed to reach Annah Rais Hot Springs the second time.

Grampians

I’ve had a love of road trips since I was a kid – my dad used to bring me around and I think the earliest documented road trip on my blog was to The Grampians in Victoria while I was studying in Melbourne. Yup, that was in 2002 and I still haven’t lost my passion for it.

I recently got a complete engine rejuvenation from Shell. My engine oil was switched to Shell Helix Ultra with PurePlus Technology – it’s a fully synthetic motor oil and the only motor oil in the market that has a base oil made from natural gas instead of the usual crude oil. It’s so pure that it cleanses your car from the inside out!

Shell Engine Rejuvenation

I have noticed a huge improvement in my mileage since the Shell Helix Ultra with PurePlus Technology. I hadn’t realized the two were connected! I always keep an eye on my odometer to see how I’m doing in the fuel department and was quite surprised to see an increase in my gas mileage. That translates to quite a lot of fuel savings!

I was quite curious as to how this works so I did a bit of Googling. It turns out that synthetic low viscosity motor oil have oil molecules of a small uniform size as compared to those of regular non-synthetic oils. This decreases friction and improves fuel economy. You can save up to 1-7% just by switching your stock motor oil to a fully synthetic brand.

Shell VPower Racing

Speaking of gas, I also got a full tank of Shell V-Power Racing with Friction Modification Technology. This isn’t the Shell V-Power 97 you see at Shell stations but a higher grade of fuel which allows the engine to turn more freely. I’ve missed this since I’ve used up my tank of Shell V-Power Racing and the gas station I usually go to doesn’t have it.

Raya Jam

The performance boost that I got while using it was quite remarkable – the engine really delivers more power to the wheels, in a measurable way. You can actually feel the car engine turning more freely and going faster, with more power whenever you step on the accelerator.

Stuck Car

My car is also less noisy now and I can feel a boost in power when I go up hills. I’ve actually gotten stuck on trucking roads before while going to Sekeping Serendah. It’s coz my car didn’t have the torque to power through certain areas and I’m sure if I try it again with my tank of Shell V-Power Racing, I’ll breeze through it with no problems.

Car Wash

It feels good to be able to drive with more power and at the same time reduce my gas mileage. Regardless of whether I’m making my way to a business meeting or going on a road trip, you just can’t beat better fuel economy and faster response while driving.

Durian Road Trip

I’ll be going to Penang this weekend to get some durians before the end of the season – and I’m sure I’ll have a great time with my newly rejuvenated engine. :)

A feast of kampung durians

Wild Durians

Kampung durians are the catch-all term for all non-cultivated durians. The word literally means “durians from the village”. These are generally not top shelf durian clones but backyard durians or wild durians from the jungle, thus “durian kampung”. It can also come from orchards which didn’t specifically breed a certain type of durian e.g. D24 or Musang King.

Village Durians

Selecting a kampong durian is always a bit like opening up a box of chocolates – you never know what you’re going to get. It’s usually sold in batch e.g. 2-5 for RM 10. These can range from cheap “4 for RM 10” deals to RM 10/kg (depending on quality).

Durian Kampong

I went for the bottom shelf durians this time, with an emphasis on strange or unusual ones and getting as wide a variety as I could.

Durian Kampung

For all I know some of these durians aren’t even durio zibethinus – it could be any other of the edible durian species. Lindsay from yearofthedurian.com has compiled an exhaustive list of edible durian species and it’s an interesting read for all durian enthusiasts.

RM 10 for 2

Jungle Durians

This batch is my most exciting find.

Starfruit Durian

I noticed a durian shaped like a starfruit (carambola) and wondered if it’s the same one that I met in 2012. It was called “five star durian” – a direct translation from “mm zhi guo” (which means five fingered durian).

Carambola Durian

The starfruit shaped durian tasted pretty good – the pale flesh was bittersweet and tender, it’s also very sticky, giving a distinctive aftertaste. Each of the five (5) segments have seeds and flesh inside, which was a little surprising considering its size.

Five Finger Durian

The other durian from this category has a yellow husk and opened up to rather wet flesh with a slight fermented aftertaste and a REALLY STRONG ODOR. It tasted better when chilled in the fridge for a few hours but eating it requires you to really love durians – it tasted very *intense*. It’s like the Limburger of durians!

Limberger Durian

Interestingly, my better half had tasted Limberger cheese when we went to Germany last year and she couldn’t stand it. She couldn’t stand this either. The taste is really breathtaking, in more ways than one – my breath smelled like death for 48 hours after eating this one and I’ve eaten a lot of durians, never to this effect.

RM 10 for 3

Backyard Durians

These are the RM 10 for 3 durians. Basically you can pick any three (3) durians for RM 10. These kampong durians are generally smaller in size and I have opened all of them to do a rudimentary check.

Kampong Durians

The first durian was wetter than usual, and very bitter. The second one was slightly sweet and tasted quite nice. The third one had a segment that was spoiled but otherwise tasted fine as well.

Durio Zibethinus

All three tasted very different and I thought that was part of the appeal of having a kampung durian degustation, although none yielded much meat. You’ll get better value for money if you just go for the regular durian clones but this was more for experience.

RM 10 per durian

RM10 Durian

This is a larger durian, it weighed in at 1.5 kg and was supposed to go for RM 10/kg but I just picked it out of a basket so they gave me a discount. Unfortunately, the flesh was inedible – it has not yet ripened.

Inedible Durian

I did take a few bites but it was like eating pure starch. The best analogy I can give is if you ate plantains raw vs a Cavendish banana.

Kampung Durians

I thought our kampong durian day went rather well. The biggest one was a dud but the five finger durian more than made up for it. I was also very happy with my “Limburger durian” – the profane smelling yellow husked beauty. It’s a very good find indeed, this must be what some people mean when they say they prefer kampung durians due to the extra strong aroma and taste. :)

Sang Har Mee @ Restaurant Green View, SS2

Green View Sang Har Mee

I was craving for some sang har mee (生虾面) over the weekend and decided to pop back to an old favorite to eat it. Restaurant Green View has been serving their famous sang har mee (big head prawn noodles) near SS2 (technically Jalan 19) for quite a long time, using the same big head prawns we use in our big head prawn noodles in Sibu but served Cantonese style with crispy noodles.

Big Head Prawn

The price of sang har mee is based on the weight of the prawn. It’s a seasonal, fluctuating price but it has increased over the years to a staggering RM 200/kg. There were three (3) other couples there, all eating sang har mee and we put in an order for 2 pax. Each person is allocated one (1) big head prawn so this is a double portion.

Big Head Prawn Noodles

Behold! The big head prawns were medium sized that day, one slightly bigger than the other. The appeal of big head prawns is due to the roe in the large head of the prawn – it seeps out when it’s cooked, blending into the gravy to turn it into a rich and prawny treat.

Freshwater Big Head Prawn

I like how they cooked the freshwater big head prawns just right so it’s still juicy. The prawns are HUGE too – the meat is equivalent to a slipper lobster or Moreton Bay Bug and the size of the prawn is bigger than my hand!

Sang Har Mee

The only downside is that they use a different serving platter for the 2 pax sang har mee, which is a bit too shallow, so the gravy goes into the crispy noodles and renders it slightly soggy. We should have ordered 1 plate of sang har mee for 1 pax EACH so the serving bowl is slightly curved up and the crispy noodles will remain crispy.

Prawn Roe Gravy

On the plus side, this gives us a lot of the big head prawn roe-infused gravy, but if you like crispy noodles, be sure to make two individual orders instead of one order for two. The price is the same anyway, since it’s calculated by weight.

Sang Har Noodles

This plate of giant freshwater prawn noodles cost us RM 118! It has 590 grams of big head prawns at RM 200 per kg but it’s worth it coz the sang har mee tasted delicious!

Cut Fruits

They also serve a complimentary plate of cut fruits for dessert (papaya and watermelon on a bed of ice) if you order the sang har mee.

Green View Restaurant

The total bill inclusive of drinks was RM 137.55 for the both of us, which is about the same price we’ll pay if we ate at a café so it’s not too bad. I love sang har mee and even though the price has gone up almost exponentially over the years, Green View Restaurant still cooks up a decent plate of big head prawn noodles.

Restaurant Green View

Restaurant Green View
8, Jalan 19/3,
Petaling Jaya, Selangor

D24 Durian Types: Sultan, Super D24, Highland D24

D24 Durian

The D24 Durian used to be the most popular and in-demand durian before the advent of D175/Red Prawn/Ang Heh and later D197/Musang King/Raja Kunyit. It’s still the favorite of many people, but has lost some of its star appeal since it’s so common now (and I predict the same would happen to Musang King in the future – a glut).

D24 Sultan Durians

However, it’s still a very good and well-rounded durian – bitter to bittersweet, fleshy and creamy and strong smelling. There are various “subtypes” of the D24 durian – regular D24, Super D24, and XO, in increasing price.

Durian D24

Highland D24 is another subtype (although I don’t know what differentiates it from Super D24) coming from a higher altitude and older trees.

Durian Seller

I’ve eaten a lot of D24 durians this season, primarily coz my better half likes it. They’re from various sources, old trees (Super D24/Highland D24) to ones of unknown provenance like this uncle selling D24 durians from the boot of his car.

D24 Durian Weight

I found his stall while driving and he’s selling them for RM 10/kg and says it’s from his own orchard.

D24 Highland Durians

I selected one myself from his basket and chose the one with the most D24 characteristics:

D24 Durian Bottom

This one is green with a flat round spot in the bottom of the fruit…

D24 Durian Characteristics

…and has a classic crown with spikes growing over the short stem.

D24 Sultan

It turns out to be quite good but he has never revealed where his orchard was. It’s also a steal at RM 10/kg for this sort of quality.

Super D24 Durian

I’ve also gone for the “RM 20 for 3” deals which is a mixture of smaller fruits of D24 Sultan, Highland D24 and Super D24.

Super D24

There’s also a couple of Durian Jantung fruits in here, which I suspect is a type of D24. I could be totally wrong on this account though, since the seeds in a Durian Jantung is small and vestigial, totally unlike any other D24 variants.

D24 Jantung

It is interesting though, to see the progression in tastes and preference – back in the days, D24 durians was the popular choice, and although it has been eclipsed by other durians now, it’s still a good choice if you want a classic and delicious durian with no frills.

Yeast Bistronomy @ Mid Valley Megamall, KL

Yeast KL

Yeast Bistronomy started out in the prestigious Jalan Telawi 2 address in Bangsar but expanded to Mid Valley Megamall earlier this year. I go to Mid Valley quite often during the weekdays but I seldom see people inside except for the odd couple or so enjoying a glass of wine. It’s part bistro, part bakery and part café and it really is owned by a French.

Yeast Bistronomy

Yeast is actually more of a boulangerie but they also serve a small selection of hot plates, just like some of its French counterparts. We were there over the weekend and was surprised to see quite a lot of people inside. They also have an al fresco area at the pavilion type extensions you see in the F&B outlets on the same frontage between Mid Valley and The Gardens.

Croissant au Jambon et au Fromage (RM 26)

Croissant Jambon Fromage

This is a ham and cheese croissant (which they swapped with a delicious herb loaf baked in-house coz they ran out of croissants) with a side of green salad and fries. I thought the use of this bread tastes much better than a croissant (although they have different textures) and the ham (real ham, not turkey ham or nonsense like that) and cheese combo was very comforting.

Caffe Vergnano Cappuccino (RM 12)

Caffe Vergnano Cappuccino

This is quite unusual. Yeast only uses Caffe Vergnano 1882 and all orders are *Double Shots* – that means you’re getting two (2) espressos in each order, not for the faint-hearted or caffeine intolerant. This is a very popular brand of coffee that is made by Italians in London and have even received praise from Gordon Ramsay.

Escargots à la Bourguignonne (RM 25)

Escargots a la Bourguignonne

Snails! Who doesn’t love escargots? I’m a huge fan of them and there’s nothing quite like eating this dish in a Paris bistro, it’s as common as French Onion Soup (with a croute covering the entire top). The ones at Yeast don’t come with the shell of the snail but in most restaurants, the shells are decorative anyway, escargots comes in huge cans for restaurants, unless you’re eating in a Michelin star restaurant.

Valrhona Chocolate Chaud (RM 16)

Valrhona Chocolate Chaud

We actually didn’t see this in the menu at first and when I perused it the second time I knew I had to order it for my dear. She quite liked it, although it wasn’t as thick as the one we had in Paris. Valrhona is a very popular brand of chocolate for cooking in France, we stocked up with a lot of their single origin 70 gram bars a while back.

Yeast Bistronomy KL

Yeast serves decent food and very reasonable prices, especially for their wonderful coffee. The bill came up to RM 83.75 for the two of us. The best thing about Yeast is that they don’t charge 10% service charge, it’s the standard 6% GST only and this is advertised quite prominently at their outlet in Mid Valley. It’s a nice place to go for a quick bite to eat in the afternoon if you’re into French casual.

Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar @ The Gardens, Mid-Valley KL

Sage Fine Dining KL

My better half booked us dinner at one of the best restaurants in KL during our weekend staycation at St Giles The Gardens. Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar isn’t directly affiliated with St Giles The Gardens but you can make reservations though them. They have a degustation menu (RM 398 per pax) and a gourmet menu (RM 298 per pax) when the chef is in but we were told Chef Daniel was in Sydney during the weekend.

Sage Restaurant Wine Bar

Sage KL serves a fusion of French and Japanese cuisine, and we saw a lot of interesting dishes on their website. I was quite surprised to see a lot of couples dining there. Most of the seats are for two, with several table arrangements for 4 pax in the middle. It has a view of KL for the tables flanking the restaurant and a view of the open kitchen for the tables in the center, where the chef would be working.

Sage Restaurant KL

The service was very attentive and patient, and we went for the Sage Menu (RM 218 per pax) which was the only option available. This allows you one (1) choice each of Appetizer, Main Course, and Dessert from their a la carte menu. It’s essentially a 3-Course menu with Chef’s Appetizer and an Amuse Bouche.

Amuse Bouche

Sage Amuse Bouche

This was an interesting combination of diced salmon (raw) with macerated tomatoes and a citrus base. I thought it was decent enough, we actually thought the “Chef’s Appetizer” was the amuse-bouche but it turned out to be something else entirely.

Chef’s Appetizer

Grilled Scallops with Peaches and Walnut Sauce

Grilled Scallops with Peaches

Amazing! To be honest, I was mildly disappointed by the amuse-bouche, it tasted good but it didn’t have the “Wow Factor”. This had it in spades. The scallops were grilled to perfection and we each had two (2) large medallions. It was paired with unpeeled slices of peach (which my dear thought was apples) and walnuts, which was genius – the peaches provide a sweet and slightly acidic element while the toasted walnuts mixed in a textural element.

Vieux Chateau des Templiers

I also had a glass of Vieux Château des Templiers, Pomerol (RM 65 per glass). It’s a 2007 vintage French wine. The wine list is quite comprehensive but they only sell by the bottle or half bottle. This is one of two red wines they sell by the glass – they also have 2 types of whites, for RM 62 and RM 65. It’s quite good, with depth and a nose of dark berries.

Appetizer

Feuillete of Anago with Foie Gras and Cèpes Mushroom Veloute

Anago with Foie Gras and Cepes Mushroom

Anago is a salt water eel (vs unagi, which is a fresh water eel) and it’s cooked just the way I like it. There’s also a generous slab of foie gras on the plate, which I ate smeared on top of the freshly baked bread that was put in front of us during the start of the dining session. The cèpes mushrooms were wonderful! I gave my dear a taste and she really liked the mushrooms too. The feuillete pastry is under everything, it’s de-constructed so they can put more anago and foie gras inside (plus it looks better). Very well thought-out dish. I was very happy with my pick.

Warm Capellini Pasta with Trio of Seafood and Seven Flavor Chilli Pepper

Capellini Pasta with Trio of Seafood

This was my dear’s choice. She gave me a taste just after I had my first mouthful and the strong flavors overwhelmed my palate! I couldn’t eat any more if I were to enjoy my milder and creamier starter. It is very yummy though – the perfect starter, if you think about it. The chillis makes your mouth water and want more and the juicy large king prawns and scallops sealed the deal. It’s quite unfortunate that they ran out of Maine lobsters that night so there’s only two types of seafood inside. This was conveyed to us before we ordered but my better half still wanted this as a contrast to my dish so they gave her more prawns.

Main Course

Wasabi Crusted Wagyu Cheek with Flat Beans and Carrot Puree

Wasabi Crusted Wagyu Cheek

Flawless! I loved the freshly grated wasabi crust on my tender Waygu Beef Cheek. The beef cheek was so perfectly cooked that I can slice through it like a hot knife through butter! There’s plenty of fat and collagen inside and this was such a rich main that I had problems finishing it. The carrot puree was slightly too wet according to my partner, but I liked everything on the dish. I just wish there was more wasabi to cut through the richness of the Wagyu cheek – the saving grace was my glass of red wine, or else I’ll wouldn’t be able to finish it.

Confit of Ikejime Sea Grouper with Abalone and Iwanori Butter Sauce

Ikejime Sea Grouper with Abalone

My better half had this for her main. It’s quite ingenious, except a bit on the small side for a main dish portion. The abalone is sliced and scattered on top of the sea grouper fillet and it tasted quite good to me. Ikejime is actually a method of paralyzing fish to maintain its freshness, which originated in Japan. A spike is inserted into the hind brain, causing immediate brain death and preventing reflex action like muscle movement which would consume ATP and produce lactic acid to make the fish sour.

Dessert

Classic Crepe Suzette with Orange Segment and Grand Marnier Ice Cream

Crepe Suzette with Grand Marnier

My better half chose this for her dessert. The Grand Marnier ice cream is delightful – it actually tasted like Grand Marnier! However, the crepe suzette was disappointing. She did not even finish it and I was too full to finish it for her. I thought the Soufflé of the Day (which is also made with Grand Marnier) would have been a better choice.

Fresh Berries with Champagne Sabayon and Vanilla Ice Cream

Fresh Berries with Champagne Sabayon

I liked the vanilla ice cream, which is made with real vanilla pods. The fresh berries were altogether too sour and the champagne sabayon made it even more so. It’s a very tart dish and while it looks slightly more appealing than my partner’s choice, I had trouble finishing it too and left the rest uneaten. The dessert were the only disappointments during our visit.

Sage KL

We were also served a choice of tea, coffee or hot chocolate and petit fours (chocolate and nougat dusted with cacao powder) were presented to us at the end of the meal. The service was flawless, the food was well thought out and executed, and we had a delicious dinner at Sage. However, the only downside were the desserts – both of our desserts failed to impress and we were left wanting.

Petit Four

Nevertheless, we had a great night and we enjoyed most of the food that was served here. The bill came up to RM 535++ for the both of us, inclusive of a bottle of Sole Sparkling Water and my glass of wine (which was charged separately). Thanks for the wonderful dinner, dear! <3 It was a great experience and I can see why Sage Restaurant & Wine Bar is consistently voted as one of the best restaurants in KL.

6 things we did during our Raya staycation

1. Had dinner at one of the best restaurants in KL

Sage KL

My better half surprised me with this treat. It’s actually the second most expensive meal we’ve ever had in KL (the first being the Michelin star Le Gavroche chef who came to town) but I thought it was worth it. Delicious appetizers and mains – thanks for booking us dinner at Sage dear.

2. Watched Ant-Man

Ant-Man

I’ve been wanting to watch Ant-Man for a long time. We even had passes to the premiere screening but missed it coz I thought it was the next day. Thus, I got ourselves Premier Class tickets (RM 63) at The Gardens to go watch the movie. I had actually wanted Gold Class but my dear thought it was too expensive. It used to cost RM 40 per pax but that’s the price of Premier Class now – Gold Class is double.

GSC Premier Class

It’s still quite an exclusive viewing experience though – the seats are all couple seats, which you can remove the middle partition so you can snuggle up together. That’s actually a *necessity* since the air-conditioning was so cold everyone in the Premier Class cinema was shivering. It’s still better than watching it in their regular cinemas though, this is a more intimate environment where no one talks loudly or uses their mobile phones – the higher ticket prices weeds out most badly behaved cinema goers. Ant-Man was awesome, a nice conclusion to Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

3. Ate escargots and drank Valrhona hot chocolate

Yeast Mid-Valley

We had lunch at a Parisian style bistro/bakery which also serves wine. I had Escargots a la Bourguignonne while my dear had a ham and cheese croissant (Croissant au Jambon et au Fromage). This was our lunch the day we checked in, she also had a Valrhona hot chocolate – we bought a lot of the famous French chocolate a while back, it’s not for kids, their single origin stuff is utterly bitter, in a good way.

4. Walked around the mall

Lifejuice Gardens

We loaded up with fresh cold pressed juice before spending most of the day walking around the mall. My dear wanted to get a clutch bag and we went to most of the stores in The Gardens and Mid-Valley but couldn’t find one that she wanted. I was secretly observing at what kind of bags she was looking at so I could KIV for our anniversary. smirk

Lifejuice

The Sun Kissed Stress Reliever (RM 13) is a mixture of ginger, red apple, pineapple, orange, carrot and grapefruit in a glass bottle. I liked the Nutty Professor Energy Booster (hazelnut, almond, cashew, soy milk, raw cacao, Medjool dates) and 50 Shades of Grey Stamina Booster (Earl Grey team hazelnut, Himalayan salt, coconut, agave necter) too.

5. Chilled in our hotel room

St Giles Gardens

I booked a room as St Giles The Gardens, the best hotel among the 3 at Mid-Valley. I also considered Pullman Bangsar (which has a shuttle service to Mid-Valley) but ultimately wanted to stay at Mid-Valley itself since we were out almost the entire day!

6. Had a hearty breakfast

Antipodean

This was at Antipodean, which my better half wanted to try. It was decent and cheap (relatively) fare but not as good as their original Bangsar Telawi II outlet, probably due to the huge crowd here. We had to wait five (5) minutes in queue while we got seated and that’s considered a very quick seating. The service was good though and I quite liked my order of Eggs Marlborough with Salmon.

I think we spent only 10 hours or so total in our room but it was fun and we got to spend the time with each other during our staycation. :)

Our Hari Raya Aidilfitri Staycation @ St Giles The Gardens

The Gardens Hotel

I decided to surprise my better half with a night at a local hotel during the long holiday weekend. Yup, it’s our biannual staycation, where we spend a night (or two) at a KL or PJ hotel and chill, eat and shop. My better half suggested Mid Valley this time but I don’t really like Cititel Hotel (although it’s the cheapest option, the rooms reek of cigarette smoke).

MidValley Gardens

Thus, it’s down to St Giles Boulevard or St Giles The Gardens. The latter is slightly more grand, a step up in both standards and price so I splurged a little and went for that. The rooms are significantly larger than St Giles Boulevard (27 sq m) and make the ones at Cititel Mid Valley (18 sq m) look almost like closets. smirk

St Giles The Gardens

All three hotels are managed by the same people – it’s supposed to be for different segments of the market with St Giles The Gardens as the premier choice, with larger rooms (38 sq m). I paid USD 116.26 (RM 442.35 per night) for our room and thought I overpaid coz I forgot to switch the currency to MYR. It turns out that MYR was even more expensive at RM 452 so it’s a good thing I have a PayPal account with USD inside.

St Giles The Gardens Rooms

I almost went for the 72 sq m 1 bedroom suite which is about RM 80 more but I ended up going for a deluxe room instead and the extra cash went towards a single glass of wine (more on that later).

St Giles The Gardens Us

It was a lot of fun, we crammed all the things couples do into a 24 hour period – ate at a restaurant rated as one of the best in KL, watched a movie we’ve missed and enjoyed each other’s company. It was a great and relaxing staycation, plus we managed to stay within the budget of RM 1,500 for everything – can’t wait to do it again! :)

I’ll write more soon.

Double Feature: D18 and D2 (Dato Nina) Durians

Dato Nina

I was searching for Tai Yuen durians over the weekend and drove to Donald’s Durian new Section 19 place (which is just around the corner from their old SS2 stall). I haven’t been here in a while coz their old place was so huge that all the interaction was with their hired workers, some of whom couldn’t explain the different durians properly and just wanted to get the sale done.

Donalds Durian Section 19

That was in the past though – there’s no such problem now, their latest location is smaller and the owners and key people are all there at your disposal. I met Cindy (who somehow recognized me from my blog) and she told me all I wanted to know about their durians. Unfortunately, the Tai Yuen durians were all sold out.

Donalds Durian

I was told that the Johor durians season is ebbing right now (though it might start again) so all the durians are from Pahang. The service is extremely friendly and knowledgeable – two things I look for in a durian stall. It also helps that their goods are very fresh due to the high turnover and all the durians just fell and came from the orchards on the very same day.

D18 Durian

D18

This D18 Durian is a slightly bitter durian with large seeds and very little flesh. I haven’t eaten it in a very long time and I wanted my better half to try it too. The durian is almost perfectly round with a very thick skin. There were only 4 locules in my Durian D-18 with 2 pods each (one had 3). That comes up to just 9 seeds and flesh from one 1.4 kg durian.

D18 Durian

Furthermore, the flesh surrounding the seeds is extremely thin. This isn’t a meaty durian, you eat it for the taste.

Durian D18

The large seed combined with the meagre flesh doesn’t make this a very popular durian clone but I was after the less popular ones this weekend, to introduce to my dear the sheer variety that durians exhibit and the extreme difference between the various clones and cultivars.

D18 Durian Flesh

The D18 Durian is good for what it is – a simple durian from the older days with very little (albeit tasty) bitter and fibreless flesh and large seeds. I’ll call the flesh on the seeds more like a coating than flesh per se. Haha. I love the characteristic wrinkly skin of the D18 though. It’s a bit of a curiosity and I highly recommend it if you haven’t tried it before.

D18 Durians

It won’t be the cheapest durian out there since the total amount of flesh you can get from one would barely make you satiated, much less full. The D18 Durian’s weight mostly comes from the large seeds and thick skin. It’s is listed at RM 17/kg so this fruit cost RM 24, but if you’re a true durian fan, you’ll want to get your hands on one just to see what it’s like.

D2 Durian (Dato’ Nina)

D2 Durian

Cindy recommended their D2 Durian. This is commonly known as Dato’ Nina and she told me they just came from the orchard in Pahang today. I opened one to try and it blew me away.

Durian D2

I was amazed! I instantly felt ecstatic when I tasted the D2 Durian – it’s like a drug! The combination of fat and sugar (which supposedly doesn’t exist in nature) elevated my mood so much I thought I had accidentally ingested a controlled substance. smirk The Dato Nina was rich, creamy bittersweet goodness and the fiber makes you chew and extract more flavor out of the flesh with every mouthful.

Cindy

It was so good that I immediately got another D2 Durian coz I knew 1 would not be enough.

D2 Durians

That’s the difference between fresh, top quality durians – it makes you want more. It was going for RM 16/kg and the first durian weighed 1.5 kg (RM 24) while the second came in at 1.7 kg (RM 27).

D2 Dato Nina

I’ve eaten so much fibreless durians this season (Musang King etc) that I’ve almost forgotten what a good fibrous durian can taste like. It can be even more flavorful since the fiber forces you to munch more and each time your molars masticate the durian flesh, the strong notes of D2 comes through with every bite.

Dato Nina Durian

I can see why the more fibrous durians like D160 (Teka / Green Bamboo) has their own cult following. Dato Nina was one of the earliest registered clones (1934) and she’s not showing any signs of her age. It’s shaped like a kidney, very odd and distinctive so it’s quite easy to recognize. The D2 durian is also very, very hard to open unless you’re an expert. Even the staff had some problems and expended a lot of effort opening the two D2 durians I chose, but easily cracked open the D18.

D2 Seeds

The D2 durian looks like a messy slop of pulp but nothing could be further from the truth. The seeds from this Dato Nina is shrunken and vestigial, which is why the durian flesh doesn’t “hold its shape” and flops around. You get a whole lot of flesh around a tiny and flat little finger sized seed. There’s also a larger shark teeth shaped seed, which can be found around 1/4 of the time, while the rest are tiny seeds or no seeds. It’s quite unusual.

D2 Durian Flesh

While I’ll normally wolf down durians, the D2 Durian forces you to ponder over it, to take your time and appreciate all the subtle and not-so-subtle nuances and savour every delicious mouthful. Just as I thought no more taste can be extracted anymore, another chew to attempt to get through the fibrous flesh proved me wrong and engulfed my palate with a deluge of more wonderful flavors and aromas from the Dato Nina.

D2 D18 Durians

I’m converted – a good Dato Nina freshly fallen from the orchard can be better than most of the more famous branded durians. My better half didn’t like the fibrous nature so much though so YMMV. Personally, I’ll go back to Donald’s Durian again just to eat their wonderfully sourced D2 durians coz we finished the last of it a few hours ago.

Restaurant Hock Kee Ulu Yam Loh Mee

Ulu Yam Lor Mee

My better half had to do some work related banking near my place yesterday so we decided to meet up for lunch. She wanted to eat pan mee and told me so and I reluctantly agreed. Haha. I’m not a huge fan of pan mee but I’ll go along with my dear coz I know how much she likes it.

Hock Kee Ulu Yam Loh Mee

We had a bit of a problem finding parking in the notorious Jalan PJU 5/4 (Dataran Sunway) area so I left my car quite a distance from the pan mee shop. While walking there, we spotted this place – Restaurant Hock Kee Ulu Yam Loh Mee and she decided to eat here instead. I suspect it’s partly coz she knew I didn’t like pan mee but she insisted she liked loh mee as well.

Hock Kee Loh Mee

We ordered the flagship Ulu Yam Loh Mee as well as the recommended Homemade Hokkien Mee. I’ve actually been to Ulu Yam to eat their loh mee (not at the original stall though – we got lost) and had the fabulous Hennessy loh mee in Setapak so I have a benchmark to compare this against.

Ulu Yam Loh Mee (RM 6.50 / RM 12 / RM 16)

Ulu Yam Loh Mee

There are three sizes and the personal one is RM 6.50 and comes in a generous bowl filled with black and starchy egg drop soup and the thick loh mee noodles. This is a different implementation from Sarawak’s loh mee (ours is sweet) and there’s lots of pork meat and pork crackling (!!!) inside for texture.

I really liked the acidic notes, it’s quite appetizing and after a generous dousing of vinegar, the bowl really shines.

Homemade Hokkien Mee (RM 6.50 / RM 12 / RM 16)

Homemade Hokkien Mee

This is not their speciality and they mixed the pork crackling into the Hokkien Mee instead of sprinkling it on top so it loses a lot of the crunchiness. It’s pretty decent but pales in comparison with Damansara Uptown Hokkien Mee (which is just behind this outlet). That’s the one I usually go to. It’s serviceable though for a working day lunch.

Ulu Yam Us

Restaurant Hock Kee Ulu Yam Loh Mee also has the intriguing sounding Claypot Noodles with Yam (no relation to Ulu Yam, which is a town in Selangor famous for their loh mee) but they don’t have personal sizes so I’ll love to go back and try it. However, from the two dishes we tried, we’ll definitely recommend the signature Ulu Yam Loh Mee but not the Hokkien Mee.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...