Margarine Durian, D88, Musang King @ Say Heng Durian Stall, USJ 14

Margarine Durians

I’ve never even heard of a Margarine Durian before so I was very intrigued when Lindsay told me about it. I thought it was a derivative of the Butter Durian or Susu Durian from Penang. She came down to KL just now and we headed to Say Heng to check out the Durian Margarine.

Say Heng USJ14

It was raining very heavily and we were sitting under a tarp beside the highway to try this.

Margarine Durian

The Margarine Durian went for RM 25 per kg. It has a thin stalk and rather slim spikes.

Durian Margarine

The flesh looks really good too. We got a couple of these, one of them was 0.7 kg and the other 1 kg so they’re quite small specimens.

Margarine

I liked the taste but it was completely overshadowed by:

D88 USJ

This D88 which Lindsay brought from Bentong! It was amazingly complex – very bitter and sweet, lots of stuff happening on your palate. I love rich and bitter durians like this. It’s perfection.

Young Musang King

They also had a very young Musang King. It looks really nice but the taste is a little one dimensional. It’s cloyingly sweet and I would have loved it if I had eaten it as the first durian, or if I wasn’t so full. I had a bit of trouble finishing it but when I think about it now, it’s actually not too bad.

Durians USJ14

Lindsay and Sasha (it’s a Russian abbreviation of Alexander, as I found out) came with loads of durians. They’re both vegan so this is all they eat. I joined them and ate it for dinner too, although I was slightly sick from so much durians at the end. Haha. They brought along heaps of durians in their car and she bought some at the stall too. It was good to catch up though and I really like eating durians so it’s all good. Thanks for all the durians Lindsay!

Penang Durian Trip 2016: Black Thorn, Hor Lor, Red Gold Dragon, Red Prawn

Durian Penang

It’s durian season in the best durian producing state in Malaysia! Yes, I’m talking about Penang. They have some of the highest quality durians around. My better half wanted to head up north to eat the King of Fruits so we made the trip over the weekend. We managed to eat four (4) different kinds of local durians at four different stalls scattered across the island state.

Black Thorn (Orchee, Duri Hitam)

Black Thorn Penang

This durian first came on the scene in late 2012. I was the first to blog about Black Thorn and couldn’t find any information except from what I was told by the durian sellers. This is an example of a durian marketed right, it has really blown up and name recognition and demand has spiked since its debut. It now goes for around RM 60 per kg in Penang and it’s one of the premium durians out there. I paid RM 77 for this 1.54 kg durian.

Ochee Durian

My better half has never had Black Thorn before. It was a little early in the season so I went fully expecting to be disappointed but was surprised to see a few stalls offering it it Balik Pulau. This one had two Black Thorn durians for RM 50/kg. I took the smaller one and it was a beautiful example! Black Thorn has a concave spikeless bottom with a black thorn sticking out (thus the name) and it’s very distinctive with a thick, round stem, longkang (drain) running down the middle like a Teka (Green Bamboo) and reddish orange fruit.

Duri Hitam

The Black Thorn we had was ultra creamy, sweet with a very mild bitter aftertaste. There’s almost no noticeable fibre component (unlike D2 Dato Nina durians) so it makes for good eating. These are organic durians with no pesticides and such so you can see a caterpillar trying to get at the flesh. Haha. Organic durians taste so much better. This is the second best durian we had in Penang. I like Black Thorn but if you want complexity in flavor, you can’t beat a Red Prawn.

Hor Lor (Labu)

Hor Lor

The name Hor Lor actually means “gourd” – so called coz it looks like a gourd. We had this in the middle of town, right beside Macalister Road. It’s RM 30 per kg, cost us RM 40 for this 1.3 kg durian.

Labu Durian

I like the shape of Hor Lor durians. The hourglass figure pleases my eyes as well as my sense of symmetry. The durian was slightly dry and one-dimensionally sweet. You’ll love Holo if you like sweet durians.

Hor Lor Durian

The seeds are small and flat too. Passable, but not the best.

Ang Kim Lin (Red Gold Dragon)

Ang Kim Lin

This is a rather unusual durian which we found at a random stall. It has 4 segments instead of the usual 5, which I found rather interesting. This is similar to Sarawak jungle durians – the green and soft spiked variety we call durian isu. The durian also had taste characteristics which was similar to durian isu, which startled me.

Red Gold Dragon

The Red Gold Dragon durian cost RM 25 per kg and was very hard to open due to the large amount of impenetrable skin at the seems. You have to slice into this durian and wedge it open, there’s no easy way to open it without a knife, even after it’s open. You know how you can just push down on the sides and it’ll peel away? Not this one…just look at the seemless middle.

Ang Kim

This durian was quite strong tasting in a green way, but not from being unripe. The flesh was quite soft and wet and comes off the flesh easily. It really tastes a lot like durian isu, but not as intense. This still had durio zibethinus characteristics. It’s an acquired taste. I’ll have to eat a lot more before I’ll start liking it, but I’m really glad I tasted it.

Red Prawn (Ang He, Udang Merah)

Red Prawn Durian

This is the best durian Penang has to offer. Some say Black Thorn has usurped the #1 spot but I’m sure most seasoned durian lovers would prefer the complexity of a Red Prawn. I certainly prefer a good Red Prawn to a Black Thorn durian. I spotted the dusty brown color and short spikes characteristic of a Red Prawn and asked how much it was. I got this durian for RM 84. It’s RM 50/kg and this is a 1.6 kg fruit.

Udang Merah Durian

It was perfect! The durian opened up to reveal beautiful salmon pink flesh and the crescent curve which contributed to its name. I’ve heard a lot of false etymologies concerning the name, the most plausible one is likely to be that its said to look like a red prawn by its side.

Ang He

This Red Prawn tasted really delicious, complex and bitter and sweet. It has so many levels of flavor going on. Delicious stuff! All the durians we had in Penang were super fresh too. They just fell from the tree the previous night, and the stalk shows no signs of cutting (unlike many durians you find in KL) nor were there split bottoms, indicating an old durian. It’s perfect, silky and smooth tasting heaven.

Penang Durian

We’ll love to go back for another feast later in the season when different durian varieties ripens!

Durian Hunting with Lindsay: Durian Kembong (Chanee) and Udang Merah

Lindsay

Lindsay is back in Malaysia! Well, at least she was yesterday, she’s since flown off to Bangkok for more durian adventures. I picked her up for some durian late afternoon and we headed down to Sri Hartamas to check out a stall that has been around for over a decade. We saw some durians for sale at another stall before this but they weren’t really good so we moved on.

Durian Truck

This one only had two types of durians – Durian Kembong and Udang Merah (Red Prawn/Ang Heh).

Durian Stall

Lindsay chose the durians – she’s way better in these things, having volunteered in durian farms and such.

Kembong Durians

The durians they sell as Durian Kembong (I’ve never heard of the name) is actually D123 Chanee according to Lindsay. I’m not sure if “kembong” (which means inflated) is local slang or some kind of identifier but it’s not in the list of durian clones.

Durian Kembong

D123 Chanee

This is a 1.7 kg beauty that Lindsay picked out. It costs RM 25/kg. The durian comes from Gerik in Perak.

Durian Kembong

The Durian Kembong flesh is a pleasing saffron color and the seed can be seen “peeking” out, much like a Chanee or Musang King. I thought it tasted quite nice – there was little to no fiber and there is a sheen of slippery flesh on top of the main bulk, which makes eating it a pleasure.

Kembong

The durian was mostly sweet, with hints of bitterness and overall a decent, if not exceptional, durian.

Udang Merah

Red Prawn

This Udang Merah comes from Gerik, Ipoh instead of Penang. It’s a small 900 gram fruit that was going for RM 28/kg.

Durian Udang Merah

This small durian only has a couple of seeds but it was awesome! The vivid golden bronze flesh looked beautiful and the intense flavor was spot on. I was very pleased with the taste – it was rich, flavorful and strong, everything I look for in a durian. Creamy and succulent, no complains about this one.

Udang Merah

It’s a good thing that we opened this as our second durian and not the first, or the Durian Kembong would have fared poorly in comparison. Haha. The total came up to RM 65. This stall also sells tempoyak (fermented durian paste) made from lower quality durians they couldn’t sell.

HB Lindsay

It was good to meet up again Lindsay! I really had fun talking to you. Sorry I had to run off so quickly after the durians. Catch up soon when you’re back! BTW, if you guys are interested in durians, Lindsay is running a durian tour in Bangkok from 25th May to 3rd June. You can surf over to her blog to register – she responds promptly (better than I do with my emails anyway) and the tours are open to all. It’ll be fun if you want to learn more about durians.

Durian Chanee

See ya when you’re back and have fun in Thailand! :)

20 photos from my trip to Kapit

Kapit Boat

I went to Kapit a while back for a 2D/1N stay. Kapit is a town 3 hours from Sibu by express boat. There is no other way to reach it – you can’t drive there and you can’t fly in either, the river is the only route.

Sibu Kapit

This is a uniquely Sarawakian feature, there are a lot of random towns that is connected only via Rejang River and lacks the proper highways or road connections to civilization.

Express Boat View

The funny thing is that you have to fill in a form detailing your name and IC number so they know who’s on board. This didn’t exist before, it was the high profile express boat capsizes and accidents resulting in multiple deaths that initiated it.

Live Chicken

I meant human deaths, not livestock. ;) You can find lots of interesting cargo onboard, including live chicken!

Kapit Sibu Express

Interestingly, they don’t overload the express boats anymore too. This makes it a lot safer compared to previous journeys. Previously, there would be people *on top* of the boat, hanging on to the side rails.

Kapit Jetty

We arrived in Kapit 3 hours later and had to disembark.

Sarawak Express Boat

You do this by walking along the side of the express boat. I’m used to it coz I’ve done it when I was a kid, but new people might find this disconcerting since the river is just beside you.

Kapit Town Square

Kapit is a very small town. You can walk around town in a matter of minutes and that’s what we did. We passed by Kapit Town Square on the way to our hotel.

Star Hill Inn

We stayed at Star Hill Inn, one of the best hotels there.

Kapit Hotel

I took a room and my bro Eddy took another room.

Kapit Shoplots

The hotel is in a shoplot, as you can see from the view.

Kapit Roti Canai Goreng

One of the highlights of the trip was eating roti canai goreng. This is a distinctive Kapit invention, they literally fry the roti canai inside a wok of boiling hot oil. Ingenious, and very tasty too.

Kapit Fair

We managed to have some time off the next day and went to see what was going on in Kapit Town Square. It turns out there’s a lot of games of chance, like an indoor funfair of sorts.

Fun Fair Games

I took a spin as well. You pay RM 1 for a can of soft drink and put it at a color of your choice. You get a 1 in 6 chance of winning equal odds e.g. you win 2 cans if you wager 2 cans.

Fun Fair

This works by throwing a tennis ball into a receptacle with 6 possible colors which matches the one on the table. You get unlimited tries, there’s no penalty if you miss or if the ball bounces back up. You simply try again until you get the ball into a color square.

Kapit Gambling

Behold! These are the high rollers of Kapit! smirk

High Rollers

Seriously though, these whales are betting cartons of 24 cans at once. We thought that was quite funny.

Durian Isu

I also managed to get some wild jungle durians to bring home. This is a native durian called durian isu. It’s very different from regular durians, it only has 4 segments. I’ll do a comprehensive review during the weekend.

Maggi Instant Noodles

We had a quick lunch of Maggi instant noodles at the wharf the next day before we departed…

Kapit Wharf

…and caught the afternoon express boat back. It was a really fun overnight trip with my bro Eddy. I haven’t been to Kapit in such a long time!

A local durian stall on the road to Bintangor

Durian Sarawak

Sarawak (or at least Borneo) is said to be the home of the largest variety of durians in the world. My better half came to visit with the kids and her parents and I drove them to the rural town of Bintangor.

Bintagor Durian

We had just seen durians in the local Sibu market the morning before and I expected a few homegrown stalls to be selling the wonderful fruit.

Borneo Durian Stall

I wasn’t disappointed – one wooden structure on the road leading to Bintangor had a few cars pulled up and browsing the durians on offer. Her dad (who is also a passionate durian lover like me) wanted to see what the local durians were like so we also joined the fray.

Durians

This man was literally selling durians out from his van. He’s local and says the durian trees were grown by his father. He looks to be in his early 40’s so that says a lot about the age of the durian trees – it’s a lot more mature than most of the cultivars you get in Peninsula Malaysia.

Borneo Durian

The price was RM 100 for 10 durians or RM 15/durian, which is slightly more expensive than the prices we get in KL.

Durian Stem

Keep in mind that these are local Borneo durian species instead of special cultivars and no one really knows what the species is but it tastes quite good. The walls of the fruit was thick and the stem is relatively long and slim like a D158/Ganyao durian. It had the characteristic frayed look of a durian that dropped naturally too.

Durian Flesh

The flesh is creamy and sweet with almost no bitter notes. Significantly, the odor wasn’t very strong too, but that didn’t affect the taste much. The small fruits bore about 7-8 seeds which we all shared. My dear loved the durian coz it didn’t have much fiber, unlike some cultivars like D2 durian.

Durian Us

My better half took this photo of us – she didn’t want her parents to appear on the blog so she asked me to put in her head instead. Haha. I forgot to take a photo with her inside coz my hands were dirty.

Sarawak Durian

It turns out that this was the *only* durian stall around so it’s a good thing we managed to try some during the bridge season. I’ll be back!

Huge 5.4 kg Durian from Sang Lee, Pahang

Largest 54kg Durian

I was craving for durians late at night and went to check out one of the “posher” durian stalls near my place. It’s called Kota Durian Red Carpet, named for the red carpets on the floor, I presume. I’ve actually been here with my better half before but we didn’t see anything interesting (besides the dubious A24 and B24 durians, which they claim are better grades of D24).

Sang Lee Durian

However, this time I spotted a HUGE durian among the pile labelled as “Durian Pahang Sang Lee”. Sang Lee is a place near Raub, Pahang which is famous for their durians. These were selling for RM 12/kg and are supposedly durian kampong. It’s slightly more expensive than the RM 10/kg regular durian kampong in the other mound.

Durian Monthong

I was quite surprised at the size of the durian – it weighed in at a staggering 5.4 kg! That comes up to RM 65 for the durian, but since it was almost 1 am, I managed to convince them to let it go at RM 40. The durian was opened up and I saw the flesh was reasonably decent, although in such a gigantic durian, there’s bound to be irregularities.

Huge Durian

I suspect this durian is really a D159/Monthong/Bantal Emas that has been chucked into the pile since Monthong Durians generally don’t sell well in the local market. Yup, that makes it the bigger brother of the frozen durians you’ll find in Asian groceries abroad – Monthong has less odor and the flesh is inoffensive to first-timers. However, this isn’t a pure bred Thailand Monthong durian but the D159 Golden Pillow cultivar planted locally which is a colossal 4-6 kg beast.

Monthong Seeds

The 5.4 kg durian had so much flesh that I found that I could only eat two rows before I was full to the point of being stuffed! It took me 24 hours to finish the entire durian – eating it for every single meal. The flesh was sweet but mostly tasteless – fluffy like a soft marshmallow (it’s almost like eating foam) and very filling since the seeds are quite small.

Monthong Durian

It took a lot of effort to finish the durian and although I can’t say it tasted very good, the distinct lack of a odor and the relatively bland taste of the flesh together with the size makes me believe this is a D159 Monthong. It’s unusual to find durians of this size and it’s certainly one of the more interesting durians I’ve eaten this year. :)

Goldfish (Kim Hu) Durian

Goldfish Durian

Goldfish Durian is known locally as “kim hu” in Penang. Kim Hu is the Hokkien word for Goldfish. I have no idea why this durian is called Goldfish, maybe due to its large and round shape. smirk I had wanted to eat this right after the Susu Durian but was too full so I came back later at night with my better half and the kids.

Durian Goldfish

The Goldfish Durian is a big fruit with a short, thick stubby stem that weighed in at 2.4 kg. It was slightly cheaper at RM 16/kg so this one cost RM 38 (RM 46 inclusive of a bunch of rambutans). The durian tasted sweet to bittersweet and the flesh was nicely wrinkly with completely no fiber. The skin just comes off and it was very, very creamy.

Kim Hu Durian

I had specifically come to Penang for these varieties and wanted to have Ling Fong Jiao, 604, 600 durians etc but they’re all early season durians and Susu Durian, D15 Durian and Ganja Durians are the late season durians that were left. Most of the varieties here are available in George Town and meant for local consumption only. I was quite pleased at the chance of being able to sample the Kim Hoo Durian (Goldfish Durian). It was good – although the kids wouldn’t touch it, my dear liked it too. :)

Durian Susu (Milk Durian) in Penang – it really tastes like milk!

Susu Durian

Susu Durian! This literally means “Milk Durian” (Susu is the Malay word for milk) and it was one of the durians on my To Eat list in Penang. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this durian and couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

Susu Durian Penang

However, I was a little wary about the durians I came across since they all didn’t have a stem. This is usually a VERY BAD sign – especially since all three (3) of the Susu Durians were missing their stem. The likelihood of all 3 falling on the stem (it happens, but rarely) is quite small so a durian missing its stem can mean a range of nefarious things – it was cut before it was ripe or a chemical agents were used to induce ripening.

Durian Susu

Nevertheless, since I’ve never had a Susu Durian before and this was the only stall carrying it, I took a chance. I really wanted to try the famous (among durian connoisseurs) Susu Durian. The husk can range from green to yellow and doesn’t seem to indicate ripeness, I chose my own for this one. This cost RM 18/kg and weighed in at 1.7 kg for a total of RM 31 for the durian.

Susu Penang

The Susu Durian was slightly overripe in some places, slightly under in some places and absolutely perfect in some. I want to emphasize the slightly bit – the over/under is barely noticeable, it just so happens that I was alone and had this durian to myself so I could think and savor at the same time. This could be due to its unusual shape or to possible abovementioned roguish intervention. I can’t really tell, to be honest.

Durian Milk

Amazingly, it has several different tastes in the durian – one segment was bittersweet to bitter and one *perfect* segment was intensely sweet, with only sweet tones and that one smelled and tasted remarkably like milk (which, I gather, is why it got the name). The flesh really tasted so much like cow’s milk that I was quite taken aback. A very nice durian, among the best I ate this year.

Milk Durian

There’s little to no fibre in the Milk Durian and the snow white flesh rates as one of the creamiest durian I ever had, in the literal sense. It’s as creamy as a good Black Thorn with some of the stickiness you’ll find in a Ganja Durian (also known as D158 Ganyao/Kan Yao/Tangkai Panjang). I highly recommend a Penang Susu Durian if you come across one. :)

Twin Report: D15 Durian and Ganja Durian (D158/Ganyao) from Penang

Durian Ganja

I had the chance to eat two unique Penang-bred durians when I was there last week. This is where I had the D15 Durian (known locally as chap goh hor – a Hokkien word meaning “Number 15 durian”) and Ganja Durian. The latter is actually the D158 clone and originated from Thailand, where it is known as Ganyao/Kan Yao. However, all the durians here are planted locally in Georgetown – these are true Penang durians.

Yen Penang

We were at the Gurney Drive hawker centre and I saw a durian stall owned by the friendly Yen. She had two types of durian on display – the D15 durian and the D158 durian and I wanted to eat both so I got one of each. They’ve both very different in terms of taste and texture, I personally preferred the Ganja durian more.

D15 Durian

D15 Durian

This is an odd shaped durian – as you can see from the photos, they’re very asymmetrical with a dusty yellow husk.

Penang 15 Durian

The D15 Durian goes for RM 18/kg and the fruit I chose weighed 2.1 kg. That comes up to a total of RM 38.

Durian D15

It has a tapering shape that goes from wide to narrow, like the top half of an hourglass. The thickness of the husk and the middle is noteworthy, as it makes it easy to recognize the D15 durian. The flesh is a pleasant orange hue the locals call ang bak (not to be confused with the durian, the term means red flesh).

D15 Penang

The taste of the durian is slightly bitter, with almost no fibre. The top part of the fruit (the widest section) yielded rather delicious flesh but the bottom part is too narrow and the seeds from there were mostly hard and inedible. This isn’t the same durian as Green Skin 15, which seems to be a variant or hybrid of D145 Green Skin. The D15 Durian is a decent late season durian that’s still available end of July/early August.

Ganja Durian (D158/Ganyao/Kan Yao/Tangkai Panjang)

D158 Ganyao

This strangely named durian actually means cannabis. The Sanskrit word ganja is local slang for weed and it’s said that this durian got its name from the addictive properties of its flesh. smirk I, for one, can attest to the awesomeness of this particular durian strain. It’s also RM 18/kg but heavier at 2.5 kg for RM 45.

Long Stem Durian

It’s quite likely that the Ganja Durian got its name from a mispronunciation of the original Thailand name for it – Ganyao or Kan Yao. Ganja is the same durian as Ganyao in Thailand but this is planted in Penang. It’s the D158 durian clone and you’ll recognize it straight away due to the extraordinarily long stem. The stem of this durian is easily more than 6 inches long and sticks out like a sore thumb.

Ganyao Durian

You can see the stem jut out longer than the actual durian in a lot of cases. The round nature of the durian and the large fruit makes it easy to identify as a D158 durian. It’s almost shaped like a heart – not the anatomical organ but the simplified <3 shape with two equal parts. It has golden white flesh with red seeds (!).

Red Seed Durian

I love the taste of the Ganja Durian. The flesh is sweet and very, very sticky – like peanut butter. It’s the first time I’ve ever had such a sticky durian, and the texture lingers in your mouth for a long time before it gets swallowed, again like PB.

D158 Durian

My better half though it was very fibrous but I really don’t think its fiber in the traditional sense when describing durians. It’s more like a matrix that’s spaced out so thinly that it holds the sticky flesh together. I don’t know if that makes sense but one thing’s for sure – there’s A LOT of flesh with a relatively small seed.

Kan Yao Durian

The Ganja Durian from Penang is soooo good it’s one of the best durians I’ve ever had. I’ll rate the D158 durian higher than Black Thorn or Musang King. There’s so much sticky flesh that I was happily eating each fluffy, pillow-like seed until I was licking my fingers. Highly recommended end-of-season durian, it truly deserves the name of Ganja.

D88 Durian

D88

I’ve had quite a few D88 Durians this season, but none as good as the one I just ate. I was actually planning to buy the large 2-3 kg D24 Durian that Ah Seng has but he told me proudly about having to fight for a basket of D88 Durians in Bentong this morning.

Durian D88

He’s usually a rather reserved (but friendly) old man but his *animated* recounting of the beautiful D88 durians he had to physically scrum for really made me laugh. I saw an Indian lady who went for one of the D88 durians and the gorgeous golden grenade sized perfect flesh made me hanker for my own.

D88 Durian Flesh

Thus, I chose a nice 1.9 kg D88 Durian for myself. They were selling for RM 10/kg so this one cost RM 19. I had just eaten a RM 20 Durian Jantung yesterday from another stall in SS6 which was quite old and felt slightly disappointed. Not this one, the D88 I had today was perfection in a durian!

D88 Durian

There were only about 8 seeds in total in the large D88 durian but it filled up almost 1 1/2 Styrofoam boxes! One section was so big it almost took up an entire box by itself. The flesh was bitter, with lots of fibre, just the thing I needed coz I didn’t have lunch today so I was quite hungry.

D88 Durians

I ate the entire D88 durian by myself and was so full I don’t feel like eating dinner anymore. Haha. The D88 durian has a high flesh-to-seed ratio and the bittersweet fibrous texture came with an almost alcoholic aftertaste, kinda like XO durians.

D88 Durian Seed

I like D88 Durians but I’ve never had such a perfect specimen…until today. Exquisite! :)

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