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. :)

The new KFC Masak Merah Rice Wrap!

KFC Masak Merah

I really love Mission style burritos – a large flour tortilla wrap with rice and a protein inside. I usually can’t finish it in one sitting so it’s good to have as a “backup” meal later in the day too. KFC has been selling wraps for a long time and it’s becoming more and more popular since it’s a wholesome and satisfying meal.

KFC Wrap

I tried the new KFC Masak Merah Rice Wrap the other day – it’s packaged in a convenient casing, you can just tear off the middle part and have a place for your hand to hold the Masak Merah Rice Wrap. I love it! This makes it easy to eat for busy people, you can even eat it and use your other hand use the mouse to read an article during lunch or work.

The new Masak Merah Rice Wrap is filled with Zinger strips, Colonel Rice, Vegetables (cucumber, onions and tomatoes) all packed into a warmly toasted tortilla wrap.

Open Wrap

The KFC Masak Merah Rice Wrap is quite spicy, and that’s a really good thing. I like the pedas factor of the masak merah sauce – it really whets my appetite. The flavor is really there, this wrap makes me think of ayam masak merah. I think it’s awesome for people who are craving for some local food – it’s a taste that reminds me of home and the wonderful Malaysian food scene.

New Masak Merah Wrap

There are a lot of nice Zinger crispy chicken fillet strips and flavored rice inside the new Masak Merah Rice Wrap – it’s basically a giant burrito for the Jumbo version! The serving size is very generous – you might think you won’t get full from this but there’s actually rice inside so it’s very filling and I’ll bet you’ll confirm kenyang!

KFC Masak Merah Wrap

My better half had the new KFC Masak Merah Rice Wrap for lunch and couldn’t finish it!

Handy KFC Wrap

I had it together with the Combo so I also had a drink and regular fries and it really got me so full that I nearly fell asleep in the afternoon. Food coma. Haha.

Masak Merah Wrap

Yup, the new Masak Merah Rice Wrap is available in Jumbo size which is absolute value for money. The Jumbo version features a 10.5 inch tortilla! The a la carte version goes for RM 6.90 while the Combo served with regular fries and soft drink goes for RM 8.90. It’s available at all KFC outlets for a limited time!

Eating KFC Ayam Masak Merah Wrap

Visit the KFC Masak Merah Rice Wrap page for more information.

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! :)

Black Thorn (Ochee, Duri Hitam) Durian

Black Thorn Durian

Black Thorn is one of the most in-demand and expensive durians in the market. It’s also known as Durian Ochee and Duri Hitam. I ate a Black Thorn durian back when it had first won an award in 2012 and it was delicious. I was looking for durians the other day when the durian seller offered me a Black Thorn for RM 40/kg. It was a small fruit and looks the part, but it was split at the end so I declined.

Durian Black Thorn

However, the durian seller counter-offered with RM 20 for the Black Thorn durian. It weighed just 1 kg (exactly) so I asked him to open it up. The flesh looked dry (not wet like old, split durians tend to look) and firm to the touch so I accepted it. It was only RM 20/kg after all and I wondered if a small fruit would taste better.

Durian Ochee

The Black Thorn I had when it just came out was from Penang and is a large fruit (around 2-3 kg). This particular Black Thorn hails from Raub, Pahang and is a smaller fruit. It didn’t have the characteristic partial drain/longkang running down the middle like the D160 Teka (Bamboo Leg/Chook Keok/Thraka) durian but maybe that’s coz it’s a small fruit. Otherwise, it had all the characteristics of a Black Thorn durian.

Black Thorn

The flesh was a very appealing dark orange with a reddish hue and it was what caught my attention in the first place. I was very pleased and ate a few seeds only to find out that it tasted rather insipid – it had none of the intense flavors of the Black Thorn durian I first had. I’ve heard some people say Black Thorn isn’t worth the price due to its blandness and I was quite puzzled at their comments, until now.

Orchee Durian

Perhaps this was the durian that they had – Black Thorn from Pahang instead of the original from Penang. I’m not sure if all Black Thorns from Pahang are similarly mild-tasting and I even sent the photos to durian expert Lindsay to get a positive identification, just in case I was mistaken. She said it is a Black Thorn but it seems like it’s been around for quite a while so the flavor is lost to age.

Black Thorn Durian Seed

The Black Thorn has a good texture though – the creaminess of the flesh is still very apparent and despite the lack of flavor, I did manage to eke out a bittersweet profile if I closed my eyes and concentrated real hard. smirk

Durian Duri Hitam

The Black Thorn durians I had from Penang were quite nice. They were going for around RM 60/kg when I was in Penang last week. This is the first time I’ve purchased a durian from this seller and I know he’s (in)famous for cheap and old durians. It wasn’t worth the RM 20/kg I paid for it (would rather get a nice D24 for the price) but that may be due to the fact that it’s past its prime.

Rebellions Coffee Bar, Kota Damansara

Rebellions

We were at Rebellions Coffee Bar over the weekend to see what it’s like. It’s the first time we’ve all been here, my better half had an appointment with a New Zealand Trade representative (thanks for all the stuff from NZ) and we decided on this place to have coffee. Interestingly, we were told that it looks very similar to a popular café in Auckland in terms in interior décor.

No 106 Cold Brew

I had the No.106 Cold Brew (RM 13). This is the Black version which consists of Finca Santa Teresa beans from Panama. It’s served in a 150 ml bottle (about half a pint) and came under the heading “Filter Coffee”. It came with a cork stopper and is supposed to be poured over ice cubes – this tasted very fruity and lacked the caffeine punch I’m used to.

Tafufa Cheesecake

We also had the Taufufa Cheesecake with Gula Melaka Ginger Syrup. I thought this was a really interesting slice of cake! It’s made with tau fu fa (tofu/soybean pudding) as a local twist, further compounded by the use of palm sugar. It’s not as rich as a traditional Philadelphia cheese cake but that’s the point. The lightness is wonderful and I like how the ginger syrup cuts through the richness.

Flat White

This is the Flat White (RM 11) which the NZT representative had. She just came back from New Zealand and it’s noteworthy to point out that flat white originated down under too, first in Australia and then in New Zealand. Rebellions Coffee Bar made it with nice latte art on top.

Lychee Rose Macaron Cake

We also had a slice of the Lychee Rose – a decadent three-layered cake with frosting covering each layer. It also had a smattering of toasted pistachio nuts and a lychee rose macaron on each slice. I shared the macaron with my better half and while it wasn’t mind-blowing (we’ve had the best macarons in France and the famous Zumbarons from Australia) the cake as a whole was quite decent.

Nutella Chocolate Bomb

My better half ordered the Nutella Chocolate Bomb (RM 16) which according to the barista is a *calorie bomb*. Haha. Yup, Rebellionz also serve chai, milk and hot chocolate based drinks under “Maybe Something Else”. There’s a ball of ice cream inside the drink which tastes like chocolate. It’s not very sweet although it seems like it would be. I like how the lip of the tall glass is smeared with Nutella, much like how the rim of a margarita would be crusted with rock salt – it’s a very nice touch.

Rebellions Coffee Bar

I thought Rebellions Coffee Bar is a nice new addition to the Dataran Sunway area with good coffee and cake. There are a lot of cafes here though and F&B outlets don’t last long – a good example would be Flaming Melt, which closed down months after opening. The traffic is horrible but if you can survive there is a captive market here.

Cold Brewed Coffee

Rebellions Coffee Bar
2-1, Jalan PJU 5/4
Dataran Sunway, Kota Damansara

Wonton Noodles @ Restaurant Pun Chun, Bidor

Wonton Noodles

This is the first place we stopped on the way up to Penang. We, in this case, was a bus-load of 25 people, all related, going on the largest family trip I’ve ever participated in (or seen, for that matter). Restaurant Pun Chun is famous for their wonton noodles – the huge wontons are made with a little bit of pork mince and a HUGE prawn.

Restaurant Pun Chun Bidor

Their wonton noodles has been hyped up way in advance by the rather dodgy looking tour guide (provided with the bus, don’t look at me). I’ve actually eaten here before, not here as in Bidor, but at a branch of this particular café. They’ve expanded to Klang Valley and their franchise in Kota Damansara is very close to where I live.

Pun Chun

Restaurant Pun Chun is also famous for their duck leg noodles, which is what we usually eat in Kota Damansara. It’s a soup based dish (although the noodles are served separately) but since we went so early in the morning, they didn’t have drumsticks/leg. The only cuts were breast and thigh so I passed on this. The soup is pretty good though, it’s what we call pek tin yok – a combination of 8 different herbs.

Wonton Mee

We had both the dry and soup version of wonton mee (RM 6.30 per bowl/plate) which comes with four (4) wontons per serving. The dry version has noodles tossed in soy sauce while I thought was nicer. The large prawn inside each wonton is a treat to behold – juicy and succulent, truly delicious when paired with some of their pickled green chillis.

Shrimp Wonton

It looks like a bit of a tourist trap with the aisles of chicken biscuit snacks and other popular munchies from Bidor but their wonton noodles are really quite enchanting. I would stop here again next time I drive up this way.

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. :)

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