Tuesday, August 09, 2016

We're all going on a durian holiday

Durians in my uncle's house in Georgetown
Durians, durians!   For a number of years now, the ambition was to go on a family holiday to Penang to eat durians.  Finally (after some shoving from my cousin) we fixed the dates at Christmas, bought tickets in February and made it down at end July.  As always, it was our opportunity to catch up with family members and also find new places to eat.

But first, our main target: the durians.  My cousin was all for pre-planning, identifying the best durian stalls/farm.  Which we did, somewhat.  But at the end it was not really necessary.  My Penang Uncle said that the stalls in town were "not good value", his code phrase for "too expensive" and bought our first batch of durians for us on Day 1 (a friend of a friend brought them in from the farm).

Durian cultivars, Malay names
On Day 2, our MPV driver (we hired an MPV) drove us to a roadside stall somewhere near Balik Pulau where we ate durians fresh off the farm.  Don't ask me where - I have no idea.  One road in the hills looks much like another. 

What's the big deal about durians in Penang, the uninitiated might ask.  First, obviously it is the freshness of the durians - just off the farm.  Second, the sheer range and variety of durians available.  And I'm not talking about the standard D24 or Mao Shan Wang (although these are definitely available).  Penang durian farmers take pride in cultivating new and unique durians, with names such as  "Ang Hae", "Cheh Pui", "Or Chih", "Capri" and many others (the first two are Hokkien phrases meaning "red prawn", "green skin" and "black thorn"). The names are also translated into Malay (literal translations).  See more information here and here.

Our roadside stall
A true connoisseur would probably have a good time sampling each durian as though it were a rare wine and recording tasting notes to better recall the distinctive texture, flavour and colour of each cultivar.  Alas, my family members are clearly not true connoisseurs as our only instinct was to eat as fast as we could in order to get our (un)fair share of durians before the flies got on them and the other members of our greedy group got to them.  Nonetheless, it was indeed a truly memorable gastronomic experience up there in the cool hilltops of Penang, enjoying the rich flavours and yummy goodness of the King of Fruit.

Sadly, there was no Day 3 feasting as we were due to return to Singapore.  We'll have to wait till durian season comes around next year.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...