For the first time in my life, I ate durians more than once this season! Usually, when the durian season comes around I will buy the fruit just once. Unlike most Malaysians, I’m not durian crazy! So, I take durians with a modicum of restraint, mainly because I read somewhere many years ago that durians are high in cholesterol!
My cholesterol level is under check and this durian season I just wanted to know why Malaysians go mad over durians. There are durian fests, durian dodol, durian cakes, durian sauce and even my favourite Indian drink — the cendol — is now served with durian in it! I’m sure you must have read about the cendol seller in Melaka who sells a bowl of cendol for RM35 because he serves it with a piece of Musang King!
RM35 for a bowl of cendol which I can get in SS15 in Subang Jaya for less than RM3?! And it comes in a convenient paper cup with crushed ice and a wide-mouth straw — delicious, drinking it on a hot day! No durians in it and it doesn’t put a dent in your pocket but people love it because there is always a long line waiting to get a cup or bowl! By the way, there’s a shop in Taipan which sells durian cendol. Haven’t tried it but plan to.
The report on Musang King cendol whetted my appetite to try out that species of durian. Going by the fruit shop I discovered that there were more varieties. Musang King, 101, D24, Tracka, Black Thorn, Hor Lo, Jantung, Udang Merah, XO, D88 and the less exotic kampung durian! My goodness, I didn’t know there were so many choices!
I couldn’t try all but I decided to get some Musang King just to find out why it costs so much! You can buy durians loose and the attendants will open the fruit for you to eat there and then or pack it for you in plastic boxes. They also have already packed boxes and I went for one of the RM39 a box Musang King variety of about five pieces which the seller magnanimously reduced to RM37 (how generous) just because it was closing time.
I went home and sat down expectantly to a flavourful of the much-touted Musang King. I picked a piece from the box and took in a mouthful. Hmm… good! But what was the special taste which demanded its hefty price? Durian lovers will vehemently disagree, but I found the fruit just a tad sickly sweet! RM37 for this?
I decided then and there that I don’t need to try out all the durian types and buy only if the price is right for me. So, the next time I went to the fruit shop and saw some other type whose name I forgot but the price at RM18 seemed affordable, I tried it. It was ok, too. And, I tried D24 another time, and, that, too, was ok. Since I was only getting ok tastes from the different durians, I decided enough of durians for this season!
The best durian I’ve had in my entire life was in the last season when I bought a pre-packed box for RM17. There were only five pieces in it. I don’t know the type but when I put it in my mouth, it was sweet and creamy like ice cream! No durian this season came close to that! Not even the Musang King, which I think gets too much of unnecessary hype! The type that came a close second was the humble kampung variety when it is sweet!
So that’s the end of my durian craze! If ever I buy durians next time it will be the kampung variety recommended by the seller or any type whose price I think is right!