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. :)

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.

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.

5 of the best durians this season: Musang King (D197), Green Skin (D145), Tembaga (D118), XO, D7

1. Musang King (Mao Shan Wang/D197/Raja Kunyit)

Musang King

This beauty is from a very old tree. That’s important as older trees produce a more complex flavor profile, often described as chocolate. Like all Musang King, this durian has absurdly creamy and sticky flesh that coats the mouth with intense sticky bittersweet goodness.

D197 Musang King

The characteristic saffron like flesh is wrinkled and you can see the seeds peeking through the skin. It’s very flavorful and not for the faint hearted – the concentrated flavors of the durian lingers long and the seeds are flat and tiny.

Raja Kunyit

I got this for RM 25/kg at a new stall I discovered. It has a lot of unusual durians e.g. Durian Tembaga but their smaller selection of Musang Kings are surprisingly good grade. Me and my better half totally devoured this 1.3 kg fruit and left two seeds for her dad. It’s RM 32 for just a few seeds but definitely worth the price. I’ll go back to this stall again.

2. Green Skin (D145)

Green Skin

This is a good example of Green Skin Durian. It’s shaped like a melon and has bright green skin (thus the name). It’s designated as D145 and other popular names include Cheh Poay, Cheh Kak, Durian Hijau and Tuan Mek Hijau/Berserah. It has creamy yellow flesh which is slightly dry (in a good way). This particular Green Skin only had 4 sections, each having two (2) very uniform seeds for a total of 8.

Cheh Poay

I got this for RM 15/kg at a new shop I discovered near SS6. This particular specimen weighed 1.4 kg which comes up to a total of RM 21. Green Skin is a Penang durian (cheh poay literally means green skin in Hokkien) and this place specializes in bringing down durians from the northern states (while others do Pahang, Johor etc).

Green Skin Durian

I think a lot of new durian connoisseurs would love Green Skin – it tastes a lot like Mas Selangor. The flesh is ultra creamy and very, very sweet with little to no fibre. It’s just pure sugary goodness that melts in your mouth, and there’s a lot of flesh. Yum.

3. Durian Tembaga (D118)

Durian Tembaga

I’ve never had this durian before but I know it’s very popular in Indonesia. Durian Tembaga is called such due to the color of the flesh. Tembaga means copper. It has a strange shape with five (5) distinctive sides.

Tembaga Durian

I wanted to try something different and this seller came up with three (3) durian tembaga he was keeping for another buyer (who didn’t turn up). I ended up buying one at RM 18/kg (bargained down from RM 20/kg).

Tembaga

Durian Tembaga is an official clone (D118) but you hardly ever see it around coz it’s one of those lesser known cultivars. That means it doesn’t have the “brand power” of something like Black Thorn, Musang King or Red Prawn (Ang Heh).

D118 Durian Tembaga

That doesn’t mean it’s not good though, if you like thick fleshed durians with a rich and bittersweet profile, you’ll love Durian Tembaga. This durian breed isn’t small though, it’s a medium to large sized fruit – the one I selected weighed 2.7 kg and cost me RM 48. The seeds are small and flat though.

4. Sweet XO

XO Durians

I thought this was a rather weird experience. I bought an starfruit shaped XO and it tasted sweet with little of the alcoholic aftertaste you usually associate with an XO durian. It still tasted good and it was cheap at RM 12/kg and I just assumed it was from a younger tree.

Durians XO

XO Durians are one of the larger species out there – this one weighs 3.3 kg and came up to RM 40. I asked my dear if she tasted an alcoholic aftertaste and she did so maybe it’s me who has a left-of-center palate. I tasted bittersweet notes where she tasted sweet on more than one occasion too.

5. D7 Durian

Durian D7

D7 is a very old durian clone. It was officially registered in 1934, before there was even a Malaysia, which makes it among the first batch of registered durian cultivars. However, throughout the ensuring 81 years, it has waned in popularity (at least among the mass market) which is a bit of a shame. There were only 2 when I went yesterday.

D7 Green Skin Durian

The D7 durian is recognizable from the yellow shell and spikes of the fruit. This is in complete contrast with the Green Skin Durian (which I bought at the same stall). BTW, the color does not denote ripeness, it’s just a breeding characteristic. It’s sold at RM 15/kg for this 1.2 kg fruit. It’s a steal at RM 18.

D7 Durian

It’s very tasty and the seeds are beautiful and appealing, with the flesh pulling back from the seeds slightly. D7 durians tastes slightly moist (not the bad kind of wet like old durians, it just has more moisture than the dry durians) and bittersweet. It’s a great durian for the price.

Black Thorn durians – more expensive than Musang King!

black thorn durians

I just came back from a Black Thorn durian session with Poey. I’ve been eagerly awaiting to taste this particular durian since I inquired about it. It’s much more expensive than Musang King (currently going for an average of RM 22 / kg), which is an overrated culvitar IMHO.

new black thorn durian

It’s not easy to get either. I dropped by several times and the only stall that sells it says they don’t have stock and I finally got the guy’s number so I can call and check if they have it before I drive over.

black thorn durian

The banner advertising the Black Thorn durian says that it won some kind of award in 2012, which is probably their justification for the high price. The Chinese words seem to translate literally – hei tze (black thorn).

black thorn size

The NEW Black Thorn durian goes for RM 30 / kg. The price didn’t budge until I asked the dude if I can get a lowered price if I come today. He offered it at RM 25 / kg.

durian black thorn

Note that only three (3) durians in the topmost row in the display picture are Black Thorn, the others are just chucked there. The interesting thing I noticed about Black Thorn durian is that it has a flat bottom, much like Musang King:

how to tell black thorn durian

There are no thorns at the end of the durian (opposite from the stalk). This particular durian cultivar originates from Penang and another interesting quality that distinguishes it besides the flat bottom is the presence of a longkang (drain) like Teka durians, except this looks more…er, anatomical in nature. smirk

black thorn characteristics

Black Thorn pretty much tastes like advertised – the durian flesh is a bright hue of orange, a color some people like and feel is more palatable. It starts out sweet and has a bitter end note, like XO durians – just as intense but not quite so long lasting. It’s creamy and sticky – the flesh comes off the seed well.

poey hb

It also has little to no fiber, which is a plus point…it makes the durian coat the palate easily and overwhelm it it does – this is a very rich durian, make no mistake about it.

hei chi durians

It’s a medium to large sized durian (ours is almost 3 kg) and the others are pretty much in the same weight league. It was sold for RM 65 for this 2.6 kg durian.

black thorn durian flesh

However, there are abundant seeds inside – counted 14 seeds and despite having medium seeds (I don’t call that small seeds, misleading advertising) it does have a lot of flesh on it – quality flesh to boot.

hb black thorn

I’ll rate this as a not very complex durian flavor wise but it’s a good, rich and satisfying one. It’s the *KING* of the King of Fruits, price-wise at least. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the price though, but definitely a must try for all durian fans. :D

Durian Degustation – 5 great late season durians!

1. D160 / Teka / Green Bamboo

durian teka

This is a rather distinctive durian that is easily identifiable from the “longkang” (drain) running down the middle of the fruit. It was purchased for RM 15 / kg and the fruits are normally medium sized. This particular durian weighs 2.1 kg – about the average for this cultivar, making it over RM 30.

green bamboo durian

There are only 10 seeds in the durian, which translates to about RM 3 per seed. The seeds are tooth shaped – these come from Pahang and there are regional differences when planted in different locations.

teka durian

The Teka in the market now are delicious sweet to bittersweet specimens, but rather expensive – the original listed price is RM 18 / kg. It does have a very high flesh to seed ratio though.

2. Udang Merah / Red Prawn / Ang Heh

ang heh pahang

Look at the unique shape of the durian! It’s a star-shaped durian with 5 sides like a durian I came across not too long ago. These are not the original Balik Papan, Penang Red Prawn durians but cultivars that has been transplanted in…Pahang.

pahang udang merah

It’s where we get most of our durians here. The flesh is orange to reddish, the distinctive color that gives the durian it’s name.

red prawn pahang

I got it at a great time – RM 11 / kg and it’s absolutely fabulous with tiny seeds. These Pahang Ang Heh really tastes good but the drops are irregular so it’s hard to come by.

red prawn pahang durians

I’ve only had it three times this season.

3. Mas Selangor

mas selangor durian

This is a popular durian – sweet and creamy. The 1.6 kg fruit we chose is sold at RM 14 / kg. There’s only five (5) seeds inside so that works out to about RM 4.50 per seed.

mas selangor

It’s not a durian with a very complex flavor profile.

durian mas selangor

I reckon the Mas Selangor breed is more for the times when you just want a classic, fleshy, sweet durian. :)

4. D163 / Holo / Hor Lor

holo durian

This is named after a gourd – the words “hor lor” actually means water gourd. It’s a Northern durian but the ones we get are from Pahang. It’s listed as RM 15 / kg but managed to get it at RM 14 / kg. It’s also a medium sized fruit, got a 2kg + durian for RM 33.

horlor durian

Holo is great for those people who likes a dry, bittersweet, creamy and sticky durian with medium seeds that coats the palate and tongue like nothing else. Highly recommended.

5. Kan Yao (D158)

durian kan yao

This is an absolute bargain at RM 6 / kg. I had a 2.1 kg fruit for just RM 12. The Kan Yao we get here is also from Pahang and it’s bitter to bittersweet, just the way I like it.

kanyao durian

The seeds are large but with the low price it’s a good buy, and the season has just about ended so if you see any, I’ll go for it. :D

Starfruit shaped Five Star Durian and late season XO

five star durian

This is a rather distinctively shaped durian with 5 sides, like a starfruit (carambola). The seller told me it’s called “Five Star Durian”, he translated it from “mm zhi gor” (five seed fruit?). I found it rather intriguing and wanted to buy it but unfortunately it’s not for sale coz it’s unripe. I was told it’s popular in Gopeng, Perak.

It’s a huge one, this durian – 4-6 kilograms.

xo durians

I got some XO durians instead. It’s the end of the season for XO. I opened 3, and bought two. You can actually return durians you don’t like it after it’s opened. I found one too dry and replaced it. I was a little dubious about the third one and was asked to taste it.

xo durian flesh

Free tastes are common and even if it doesn’t go into the scales, they don’t actually lose from it. Durian flesh is very light compared to the husk, which is the heavy part. of the durian. XO durians are bitter and it’s one of my default buys. It has loose flesh that slides right off the seed – it’s runny and creamy with medium large seeds and little fiber.

durian xo

There is said to be an “alcoholic smell” to XO durians. That’s not right, it shouldn’t smell like ethanol, that would indicate fermentation (meaning it’s rotting). It’s more like an aftertaste – it just stays put on a bit longer, a mild alcohol-like lingering note.

durians xo

Note that this is from an ex-alcoholic with no problems with drinking neat 40% spirits straight from the bottle so my description on this may deviate (quite) far from the norm of the population bell curve especially those who thinks Islay single malts are horrendous. smirk

xo durian

I was quoted RM 12 / kg as the end of season price (as opposed to RM 8 / kg last week) – asked for RM 10 / kg and got it. I bought 2 durians for 3.2 kilograms total. It got rounded up to 3 kgs so that’s RM 30 for a few pieces. XO is one of the more expensive durian clones.

xo seed

It’s good though. It’s very bitter and there’s really nothing mystical about this – it’s named XO (after the extra old designation for cognac) but it’s not alcoholic (unless you ferment it). I can best describe it as you having a BITTER aftertaste in your mouth at the back of your tongue even hours after eating it.

XO durian season is over so if you want some late season ones, better get it now. It’s delicious! :)

Durian jantung (heart shaped durian) – genuine species or description?

jantung durian

I was trawling the SS2 durian spots the other day, asking around for something a little different. I wanted to sample something other than the usual Musang King/D24/XO/D101 etc. The usual suspects, in other words.

durian jantung weight

One seller told me about durian jantung. I asked around a few shops in the area – some of them carry it, some doesn’t. It would seem that “durian jantung” literally means “heart shaped durian”. Not heart as in <3heart as in the organ in your body that’s prone to cardiac arrests.

unique durian

What no one could tell me is whether this is a genuine species (it doesn’t have a D-X classification, but neither does multiple other good durians) or just a type (e.g. shape) of durian.

durian jantung thorns

Durian jantung is a really interesting durian – I was quoted RM 12 / kg which is a little on the high side of things. I bargained down to RM 10 / kg and that was the minimum price they’ll let it go…and with good reason.

two seed durian

It doesn’t look like much. I bought a 1.6 kg heart shaped durian that when opened produced only two (2) seeds!

heart durians

I was surprised. That works out to RM 8 per seed!

durian jantung outer

I was told that durian jantung usually only has 2 seeds due to the unusual shape, but those are huge seeds and I wasn’t disappointed.

durian jantung flesh

Imagine a piece of durian the size of:

  • A hand grenade
  • A large lemon
  • A mouse (the large old office ones with exactly the same size and mass)
  • An adult human fist

…and now imagine it FULL OF DURIAN FLESH!

durian jantung

There’s only a tiny seed inside.

durian jantung segment
Start eating…

durian jantung seed
…and after a whole lotta durian, ends with small seed

durian jantung eat

It’s maybe 1/30 the size of the flesh. It’s absolute value for money, RM 8 buys you a gigantic fist sized hunk of light fibrous, sweet to slightly bitter-sweet, semi-alcoholic, and slightly wet durian flesh.

durian jantung seeds

It’s perfection.

durian heart

Durian jantung is my new favorite durian.

durian jantung size

I paid RM 16 for the entire 1.6 kg durian which produced just 2 seeds but the flesh is equal to many other popular strains and it tastes fabulous!

Golden Swallow durian with unusual dual seed configuration

Has anyone heard of a Golden Swallow durian?

golden swallow durian segment

I was out getting some durians when I came across this stall explaining the virtues of this particular strain of durian to an elderly lady. He didn’t pay much attention to me as he made his pitch – it’s called Golden Swallow (jin yan zi) and it’s very popular in Singapore.

golden swallow durians

This Golden Swallow durian sounds a little like Golden Phoenix to me (except the latter is called jin feng) and apparently just a few of these babies drop in the orchards each day. The durian seller only had two and the lady bought one of them.

golden phoenix durian

I was intrigued when he opened it up – the flesh looks really good – yellow with a reddish hue and I asked the durian seller how much it was. He quoted me a price of RM 8 / kg which is about the same price as XO strain is right about now.

golden swallow durian spikes

He started doing his pitch again, this time to me, and I told him I heard what he said to the lady. I was more interested in the origins of the Golden Swallow – the dude, named Ah Ti, usually operates out of SS3 in Petaling Jaya and they have their own orchard, from which comes this new durian.

Well, it’s new to me coz I haven’t had it before.

golden swallow durian

I told him I wanted two but he said he only had one left after selling the other to the lady and opened it up for my inspection. It looks good and I haven’t had a Golden Swallow durian before so I bought the one that was left. It’s 1.7 kg but the guy gave me a discount and sold it at 1.5 kg – RM 14.

tiny seed

Golden Swallow taste notes:

  • Bitter to slightly bitter-sweet
  • Wet/runny/watery
  • Little to no fiber – very creamy
  • Pungent with lots of fresh
  • Unusual dual configuration seeds

durian flesh

Eating the durian:

large seed durian

First, a large seed…

bite

Followed by a tiny one…

eat

It’s the same large-tiny arrangement throughout the segment!

seed

The dual configuration seeds is perhaps the most telling aspect of the Golden Swallow. It looks like this:

golden swallow seeds

It’s remarkably consistent! There’s 4 whole segments and it produced:

Huge seed – tiny seed
Huge seed – tiny seed
Huge seed – tiny seed
Huge seed

jin yan zi

I think I might have accidentally eaten that last tiny seed. It’s smaller than my fingernail! I got the person to write down the name in Chinese for me on the box and I got his number so he can tell me when there’s a fall in his orchard.

golden swallow durian flesh

I reckon this Golden Swallow durian is absolute value for money if you like durians with the taste notes above. It also has a characteristic huge-tiny seed configuration that’s consistent throughout the entire durian. It’s always in a pair – each segment will have one large seed and one tiny one, the size of my fingernail.

jing yan zhi

I can see why it’s called Golden Swallow if the seed configuration is that unique.

Has anyone heard of this strain/cultivar? It’s called Golden Swallow and I think the most distinctive part about it is the seeds. Just look at the tiny-large seed consistency in one segment below! It also has wrinkly skin that barely holds in the deliciously bitter creamy flesh inside.

durian seeds

I would definitely buy it again – it’s cheap right now at RM 8 / kg and a truly remarkable durian!

The famous Red Prawn (Ang Heh) durian at Balik Pulau, Penang

red prawn durian

This should be called The Hunt for Red October Prawn. Red Prawn or Udang Merah is known locally in Hokkien as “Ang Heh” – it’s a breed of durian only available in Penang – there’s too much local demand (and exports to countries like Singapore I imagine) for it to come down to Klang Valley.

Thus, after 4 meals before 12 pm we finally drove to Balik Pulau (it’s where the orchards for Ang Heh are) where I ran down to stall after stall only to be told the same thing:

There are no Red Prawn durians. The season just ended.

One stall sold his *very last* Red Prawn durian to a customer just before we came.

balik pulau durian stall

I had almost given up at this point when the next stall claimed to have Red Prawn. In fact, there were 4 of these luscious durians.

red prawn penang

Red Prawn is characterized by it’s red colored flesh and small seeds. It’s not bright red like the Sarawakian local ones, although some can have an orange hue, with just a tinge of red, or striped. I paid RM 45 for one durian – it’s RM 25/kg after a bit of bargaining.

ang heh durian

The durian only had 5 seeds!!!

red prawn

That works out to about RM 10 per seed. It was delicious though, definitely worth it for durian lovers. :)

Suanie got another one to take away, this has more seeds and it’s heavier, cost RM 50. There’s also various other Penang-only durians on offer – you can listen to the proprietor talking about it.

Koh Tsu Koon durian

Koh Tsu Koon is also another famous durian strain but I couldn’t afford to part with another RM 50 for a tiny durian, despite it being famed for having miniscule or no seeds at all, which is a running joke about the ex-Penang CM.

udang merah

All in all, it was a good durian hunt – I got to eat Red Prawn and even though it wasn’t as red as what I tasted on a previous excursion, it’s good. It tastes like Red Prawn.

durian udang merah

Sarawak also has a bright red colored durian (as does Penang, which has several). Red Prawn is pretty good, and at that price point, a bargain compared to overrated durian strains like Musang King.

eating red prawn durian

We sapu-ed two out of the four Red Prawn durians left – it was the end of season for that strain, D15 is still going strong though. :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...