5 exotic tropical fruit sandwiches

tropical sandwiches

I call this the Silat Buah Edition of my continuing bread story! smirk

1. Mangosteen sandwiches

mangosteens

It’s the season for mangosteens now. Mangosteens season is the end of the year and the smaller ones do not have seeds, making it perfect for sandwiches!

mangosteen sandwiches

It’s a refreshing experiment but to be honest, not all that good.

2. Starfruit sandwiches

starfruit

I saw this jar of local government FAMA produced belimbing (starfruit) jam on sale once and bought a tub of it. I then sauntered over to the fruits section and got myself 3 starfruits.

I decided to slather the starfruit jam and then cut starfruit slices on top of it to make a starfruit sandwich with real fruit.

starfruit sandwich

I had to choke it down – the jam is crappy and almost inedible, full of sugar and a weird flavoring that has little to do with starfruit. Another one of my failed experiments. I still can’t bring myself to eat the jam – it’s still sitting in the fridge after another try on it’s own. Vile stuff.

3. Jackfruit sandwiches

jackfruit

You can get the fresh ones at SS2 night market. I found it much better than the ones at the local hypermarket. It’s one of the more expensive fruits around at over RM 9 / kg. I just slid the fruit between bread since it’s quite flavorful by itself.

jackfruit sandwiches

It should probably be noted that seeds should be taken out before inserting into bread. It’s pretty good – especially when paired with cream cheese spread!

4. Durian sandwiches

durian

It might be heresy to some to use the precious durian as a sandwich filling. It’s expensive (recently bought a Holo durian for RM 33 with less than 10 seeds, costing over RM 3 each) so I used the more common D24 strain (RM 6 / kg) for this experiment.

I thought since it works so well with glutinous rice (seriously, durian and mangoes are perfect with glutinous rice) I reckon it might be okay with bread.

durian sandwiches

Nope, I still consider it a waste – I had to use about 4 seeds to gather enough flesh for a sandwich – it’s good, but durians deserve better treatment.

5. Jambu sandwiches

jambu

I saw this juicy local fruit at RM 8 / kg from a local roadside stand and it turned out to be one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever made! :)

fruit sandwiches

The secret is chunky peanut butter.

Jambu with chunky peanut butter has a very complex texture – the pure water squirting out of the fruit, the stickiness of peanut butter and the chewiness of bread. The flavor profile is amazing too – kinda like eating an apple with peanut butter (used to do that as a kid).

This is the tropical version – salty and buttery and sweet with refreshing bursts.

I did a lot of tongue-in-cheek sandwiches for fun but this…

jambu sandwiches

…this is the eureka moment, I discovered something I’ll really continue eating. It’s truly a great fruit sandwich! :)

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. :)

Donald’s Durian SS2

durians

Durian runtuh!

durians water

It’s durian season again. :)

donalds durian ss2

I went to Donald’s Durian which is just beside SS2 durian over the weekend to binge on the King of Fruits. The price has gone up since I last went – it’s now RM 10 for the durian buffet…but there’s heaps of people even at midnight!

ss2 durians

You don’t get the good durians like Musang King/Raja Kunyit/D197 at that price though – it’s sold separately, was quoted RM 22/kg here which is quite cheap. Musang King apparently means Elvis Presley, an interesting name to call a strain.

eating durians

The RM 10 durian buffet is everywhere in SS2 now and you can eat to your hearts content on various lower grade durians. It’s a very good deal, and you get tissues and water to go with it. ;)

selecting durian

There’s a lot of the common but relatively premium D24, D101 and Holo/Labu/D163 durians for sale too. Funny thing was, we almost forgot to pay, we were leaving and then I suddenly remembered that we haven’t paid and went back to do so. No one stopped us, probably coz of the crowd. Heh.

eating durian

I’m looking for Durian Botak (D172) and the Sarawakian durian called Kepala Babi (D170) – anyone seen them around? :)

Need more fries / alcohol milkshakes @ Tom’s Too / Maple Leaf

fries

I’m not a huge fan of fries. I used to love them but somewhere along the line I stopped craving for it. However I had fries with a burger at Tom’s Too and it was surprisingly delicious! They salted the fries so much that it was saturated with sodium. *clicks on Like

toms too

Tom’s Too is the sister outlet of the renowned Tom’s in Jalan Padungan.

toms too sibu

I asked the waiter for a recommendation and he enthusiastically prescribed the Chicken Burger (RM 12.90). I thought they were well known for their beef ones and I said so but he was so adamant about the awesomeness of the chicken burger that I went with it.

chicken burger

It’s made with an entire chicken thigh and is deep fried with perfection. The chicken has a very smoky, burnt BBQ flavor which is actually quite good. If you like your food salty and packed full of sodium you’re going to love this.

maple leaf cafe

I also headed down to Maple Leaf Fusion Cafe last night to catch up with Francine. I’ve known her since 1998 and I had drinks with her at Tom’s Too, er…too. I didn’t know where Maple Leaf was at that time and she told me it’s…just around the corner. smirk

giant volcano lava

They’re apparently famous for their Giant Volcano Lava drinks, which is a huge 1 liter (or close enough) thick concoction. I had the Chocolate Lava (RM 11.90) which the waitress recommended.

midori milkshake

It just so happens that yesterday night was the introduction of their new line of Alcohol Milkshakes. They had Kahlua, Irish Cream and Midori. I went with the Midori Milk Shake (RM 26). We both assumed that its been on the menu for ages but the waitress told us it just debuted yesterday.

maple leaf

I didn’t think much of it though – it’s overpriced and there’s not enough alcohol in it – you can taste it, but you certainly can’t feel it. It’s paying cocktail prices for a milkshake. Granted, it was a very good milkshake, but as an alcohol milkshake, it needs a bit of price tweaking.

deep fried durian

The highlight of the night was the Fried Durian Cake (RM 12.90). Divine! It’s made with a crispy jala-like pastry that’s deep fried with a rich durian flesh filling.

durian cake

It’s a good thing Francine doesn’t like durian so I ate it all. There are six pieces and each bite was like a taste of heaven – it’s fluffy and light, with a creamy durian center that oozes out. It’s…perfection. :D

Durian SS2 – All you can eat!

durian ss2

Durian runtuh! It’s durian season! There’s a famous durian buffet in the PJ area which spawned multiple competitors…er, inspired by their business model. The original durian buffet (to the best of my knowledge) is SS2 Durian, and they even have their own website! I was out drinking with Angela yesterday when I suddenly had a hankering for the King of Fruits.

durian ss2 pack

There’s this urban legend which effectively proclaims “Thou shall not mix durians with alcohol”. Unfortunately, Angela is a staunch supporter of this doctrine and was a bit apprehensive about indulging in the creamy stuff after drinking. Personally, I have no compulsion against consuming supposedly taboo food combinations. In fact, I kinda thrive on disproving urban myths. ;)

durian ss2 cutting

One thing about www.durianss2.com is that the durian buffet is only open on weekdays from Monday to Friday. You’ll have to order a la carte from their rather impressive portfolio during weekends. They have a lot of weird and wonderful durian strains ranging from the premium Raya Kunyit to the common DX varients (D2, D24, D7 etc the last of which always reminds me of a certain police department).

durian ss2 smell

Durian SS2 usually have their racks filled with the thorny fruits whenever I drive past the stall. We went quite late last night so most of the offerings were gone. However, they have Styrofoam packs for RM 20 and plastic packs for RM 25 which contains a selection of different durians. We got the slightly higher priced plastic pack and it didn’t disappoint!

durian ss2 flesh

The durian flesh is pungent and sweet, with a slightly bitter aftertaste, just the way I like it. Angela also partook in the durians despite her initial misgivings. Durian SS2 provides wash basins, water, and makeshift tables and chairs so you can eat your durian in relative comfort.

durian ss2 us 

However, Angela tells me the Proper Way (TM) to enjoy durians is by squatting down, Ah Beng style. ;)

durian ss2 coconut 

The place also sells coconut water, which is supposed to have a “cooling effect” to counter the “heaty effect” of durians. I’m not sure if I believe any of this (a polite way of saying Hogwash!) but I must say coconut water goes well with durians.

durian ss2 wash

However, there’s one piece of traditional advice which might be true…washing your hands with the durian husk does seem to subjectively reduce the lingering smell of durians on your fingers. Ask for one at the counter and see if it works. It did for me. :)

durian ss2 packing

The King is not dead…he just set up a stall in SS2. Hail to the King of Fruits, baby! ;)

Shanghai 10 @ Sungai Wang Plaza

shanghai10

Shanghai 10 is a Hong Kong style eating establishment located at Sungai Wang Plaza. There was a promoter passing out 10% discount vouchers at the escalators so we decided to check the place out. The full color brochure is printed with tantalizing photos of the dishes, some of which were quite unique.

shanghai10 interior

Shanghai10 is a direct English translation of the Chinese name, which actually means “Shanghai Sky”. 10 and “tien” (sky) is phonetically similar. The interior of the place is plastered with ancient Chinese scrolls and paintings – all in a contiguous length covering the perimeter of the enclosure, which is pretty impressive.

shanghai10 drinks

The place is packed with patrons having brunch and we got ourselves a seat and decided to binge a little since we were famished from not having breakfast. My girlfriend went for the Iced Honey Lemon Jasmine Tea (RM 3.20) and I ordered Guinness Stout (RM 10.80) that still came in the old skool cans containing the proper 8% alcohol. ;)

shanghai10 shark fin

Double Boiled Seafood Soup Dumplings with Shark Fin (RM 12)
This is one of the signature soups of the place. It’s served with a rather generous portion of shark fin on top of the soup, which contains fish maw, crab sticks and several huge peeled prawns. The broth is hearty and delicious, especially with a dash of pepper after the shark fin has been consumed.

shanghai10 montage

Shanghai Special Fried Bean Sheet (RM 7.80)
This tasted really good, with generous portions of seafood. I love the fried bean sheet and was enthusing about it to my girlfriend. We don’t get that over here in Sarawak. The texture and size of the bean sheet is really nice.
Kei Chi Fried Rice (RM 5.80)
Kei Chi is the red bead thing that always goes into double boiled chicken soup. I don’t know what it’s called in English but its supposed help you with your eyesight. *shrugs* I didn’t find this dish particularly interesting.
Shanghai Double Boiled Soup Dumplings (RM 6.90)
This is the famous “xiao long pau” (small dragon buns) which is made with the chicken broth still inside the paper-thin wrap. Shanghai 10 does a good version of this. It’s topped with fish roe – a very nice touch.
Shanghai 10 Jade Shrimp Dumplings (RM 4.20)
This is the Shanghai 10 signature version of the popular dim sum. The har kaw comes with a huge, succulent prawn inside and it’s juicy and tender. Nice!

shanghai10 dragon

The Shanghai Double Boiled Soup Dumplings is supposed to be pierced first to let the chicken broth drain out before consuming. The ritual has a pragmatic rationale – the soup is scalding hot, as Doris found out when she accidentally scalded her tongue on it. Probably ruined her taste buds for the day, that. ;)

shanghai10 avocado

This is the house specialty dessert – Avocado with Kataifi (RM 5.20). It’s a Greek dessert originating from the Middle East, where it is known as Kanafeh. The crispy exterior of the Kataifi in Shanghai 10 goes well with the avocado paste inside. It’s a bit too oily for our tastes though.

shanghai10 durian

The other dessert we ordered is the Durian Pancake (RM 4.80). This dessert is served cold and comes in a durian skin wrap and a filling made of fresh durians. It’s absolutely fabulous! The sinfully delicious dessert is creamy and rich, and it comes highly recommended from me. :)

shanghai10 end

Shanghai 10 is an agreeable dining experience for shopping mall standards. The bill came up to RM 62.80 for the two of us, after the 10% discount voucher that was passed to us at the elevator. I highly recommend it for the durian pancake. It’s heavenly!

(pun not intended)