Smell of durian in the air
It's time of the year again that we are celebrating the durian season! This year, it was a bit unusual. I was greeted with a box of Musang King as soon as the durian fair began! Yum Yum! Making it to the top 3 in the list of durian popularity chart in Malaysia and South East Asia, this cultivar of durian is a product of cloning. 'Musang' is a Bahasa Malaysia word, means civet - a small mammal that most people mistaken it for fox. That's said, the durian has nothing to do with this creature. It was named after the place where it hailed from - Gua Musang in Kelantan.
Stands out compares to rest of its family and friends, Musang King Durian is famed for thick flesh and wrinkled (tiny) seeds. Bright yellow in color, creamy like custard, it offers a distinctive smell, mild sweet taste like the almonds with an end of light bitterness. If you're a chemist, let me assure you that this durian smells better than esters!
Also known as Raja Kunyit, this cultivar is considered as a superior brand, highly sought after commercially particularly after media publicity. This branded durian fetches very high price in the market since their introduction over the recent years. Sold in in kilos, averagely you may get them at RM25 to RM30 per kilo. Unlike other superior brands such as Lin Fong Jiao that is larger in size, despite Musang King is smaller in size, this durian may reach up to RM40-50 each.
To savor durian in Penang, take a drive to Balik Pulau township. Opposite the new market/bus station, there is a stretch of durian vendors. Temporarily set-up with shade, open-air, plenty of durians from all variety are offered. Tables and stools are provided. In order to strike a fair deal, ask for the price right before anything. You may request for a replacement if so happen that you had a partially rotten one while eating there. For take-away, folks have to be wary particularly if you are paying a huge sum for 'branded' durian. I'd suggest you to grab a container with you so that the vendor has no excuse not to break open. At the same time you can see if every shell is perfectly fine and taste a bit so that you're not fetching loads of 'potatoes' home instead
Mangosteens, rambutans and chempedak are local fruits that arrive on the same season. Mangosteens are cooling in nature, a great stuff to complement durian. Rambutans are best to eat fresh though they are canned in syrup, and made available on the hypermarket's shelf. Personally, I like chempedak to be dipped in batter and deep fried, being offered as chempedak fritters! If these fruits sound foreign to you, now is the time to grab them all at one go!