Durian appreciation session @ Durian King TTDI

Durian-Sampler

Durian King TTDI partnered up with Fave to do a durian appreciation session last weekend with a flight of different durians. Yes, I’m calling it a flight, an appropriately atas word, like how high end artisanal coffee like to call their samplers “flights”. Hehe. I like the concept though, I believe this is the first time it’s been done in Malaysia.

Fave-Durian

There was a demonstration on how to open durians and how to tell a Musang King apart from the other cultivars. I already know this but I still picked up a few interesting things. Apparently if you hit a durian, it simulates it falling naturally and starts the ripening process. This is supposed to happen in a matter of seconds, so this is why you see some durian sellers smacking the side of a durian with the flat part of their parang before opening it!

D24-Durian-Cendol

The course reminded me of fine dining, and they had nice tablecloths and menus to complete the illusion too. The starter was Durian Cendol, one of the popular items Durian King sells. It’s usually RM 15 for this beauty topped with two D24 durians. I love how they use palm sugar from Sarawak instead of gula Melaka. It’s basically the same thing but we call this “gula apong” back home and it has a nice charred caramelized taste that goes very well with the cendol. Decadent. I’ll be back to eat this again.

Durian-Flight

Then came the selection (flight?) of durians. It’s neatly arranged from mild to intense, so I started out with the Durian Jantung. This is what Chinese call XO durian. It’s pretty good but I was blown away by the next two – one of my favorite cultivars of durian is D2 (Dato Nina) and this was a perfect specimen. Fruity flavors with a fibrous pulp. I also loved the Tekka (what we call chu kiok), it was intensely sweet and creamy. Musang King was the last and the best – very bittersweet and strongly flavored to bring a nice end to things. It’s an excellent way for people to eat a variety of good durian cultivars.

D24-Durian-Ice-Cream

There was also dessert after that, a collaboration between Inside Scoop (who makes ice cream) and Durian King to produce a D24 durian ice cream. It’s delicious! Creamy, cold, with clear notes of the durian shining though. I was actually quite full at this point coz the two girls opposite me couldn’t finish their durians so I helped them wallop it.

Durian-King

Fave is an app which gives you deals and discounts but it also has an epayment option where you can use their FavePay to pay for purchases using your phone. I’ve been using it since I found out about it. They have a wide range of partners but I usually just go to llao llao, Auntie Anne’s and Cinnabon to satisfy my sweet tooth.

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.

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