If you are really serious about your durians, forget those supermarket ones – those are for hoi polloi – instead, head down to Chin Yong Fruits Trading at 23, Teck Chye Terrace (tel: 6285 9371) and look for Ah Heng.
The best time to go would be between 7:30pm and 9pm – that’s when truckloads of durians arrived from Malaysia and are being hand-picked, individually brushed and then lovingly put on display.
In fact Ah Heng just phoned me to remind me that the durian season has started!
What types of durians does Ah Heng sell?
Only the best, my dear, only the best. Do you really have to ask?
(Translation: not cheap. Can be up to S$35/- a kilo. At one time the Golden Phoenix cost up to S$50/- a kilo.)
How many types of durians are there?
Well, when I was a kid, there were only three types:
1. The free type – they dropped all over the place at my grandparents’ estates. We got so sick of them nobody bothers to eat them. We let the musangs help themselves.
2. The “good good” type – red or dark yellow flesh, seedless, bitter sweet. The type that inspired the myth that when durians drop, women’s sarongs go up just so they can eat them. (Men would have their ways with the women and then “reward” them with durians later.)
3. Those that the retards eat – ie those that you have to pay for. When I was a kid we never had to pay for durians, that’s why when I told my dad recently how much I paid for my durians, he almost had a coronary.
Nowadays in modern man’s attempts to make his life more complicated than it already is, I count more than enough types of durians than I ever knew, so here’s a feeble attempt to list them:
My favorite is Mao Shan Wang (Cat Mountain King) aka Butter durian, Rajah Kunyit, or D666, pictured above – the Anti-Christ of durians. Durian aficionados love its bitter sweet taste and sticky, creamy texture. Seeds are shriveled and small so you get more of the orgasmic flesh. They are from Kelantan, Pahang and Johor.
Sultan Durian or the D24. Its supply used to be so rare that only the Malay sultans get to eat them. Very creamy and bitter. From Johor, Pahang and Cameron Highlands.
XO. Small seeds, bitter and extremely soft, fleshly meat with an almost cognac taste, hence the name. From Johor, Genting Highlands and Cameron Highlands.
Golden Phoenix aka Jin Feng. Bitter with a more runny or watery texture and strong pungent smell. From Pahang and Johor.
Red Prawn aka Hong Xia, Ang Hay. Orangey-red flesh, sticky and sweet aftertaste. From Pahang and Johor.
Green Bamboo aka Qing Zhu. Pale yellow with a slightest greenish tinge. Sweet with somewhat fibrous flesh. From Johor.
Black Pearl aka Hei Zhen Zhu. Very pale yellow with grey undertones. Slightly bitter, smooth and creamy with small seeds. From Johor.
D1. Pale yellow flesh, small seeds, and milky taste. From Johor.
D2. The fruit is long and irregular in shape. Hard to open. Meat is slightly pink and tastes a little bitter.
D13. Color of the flesh is a deep burnt orange. Sweet and mild in taste. Large seeds. Durian light. Good for durian virgins. From Johor and Segamat.
D101. Orange flesh, sweet and creamy. From Pahang and Johor.
D Dark Knight, special breed, from Chateau de Horse Pee aka Loh’s Plantations, best year 2002, nah just kidding.
Three other myths: that eating durians with alcohol can kill you. I donno, I haven’t tried. If I had, I might not be posting this now.
Next, that washing your hands by first filling the husk with water will remove the odor – I’ve tried it and it works.
Finally, “ang mohs” can never stand the smell of durians – not true, my friends Gene Berger, a Russian, loves durians and so does Mauro Cattana, an Italian, and so do many other “ang mohs” I know.