Join Me To Learn Hokkien: A Language of (Malaysian) Durian Sellers

Early in our travels, I figured out that learning even a few words of the local language makes things so much easier.

I could tell the vendor that I like my durian very ripe. That I don't like sweet durians, so please don't open one and expect me to buy it because that's just an awkward situation.  I could barter over the price. I could thank them. It was just better.

Fresh Durian at Hawaii Supermarket in San Gabriel | Los Angeles, USA

In 2013 I was invited to a party. I needed something to bring some food contribution, and with little other choice (what else would I bring to a party? Casserole?) I decided to explore further afield in Los Angeles for better sources of durian.

This episode is brought to you now because Hawaii Supermarket now carries Musang King durian from Malaysia and, (And!) is having a sale on fresh, not frozen, durian from Thailand. If you're in the L.A. area, go get yourself some goodness.

Durian Cendol and Everything Durian at the Durian Cafe | Kuala Lumpur

In Malaysia it's currently that miserable time in-between durian seasons. But don't be sad if you're passing through Kuala Lumpur at the wrong time of year.  You can satiate your craving any day at a little shop in Chinatown called - wait for it - the Durian Cafe.

It's filled floor to ceiling with durian treats and sweets and my favorite Malaysian dessert of all time: durian cendol.

Finding Wild Durians on Pulau Ubin | Singapore

Pulau Ubin is an islet just off the coast of Singapore. It only takes 10 minutes to get there, but it's a world apart from the city. Few vehicles are permitted on the island, most roads are unpaved, and but for day trippers it's now mostly uninhabited. It's so quiet you might imagine that not much has changed on the island since the late 1880's when it was first settled, but that's not exactly true. 

What is true is that the trees planted by those early settlers are now huge, and their durians are both awesome and free, if you can find them. 

Durian Hunting In Singapore's Forbidden Forest

Hansel and Gretel did it. So did Little Red Riding Hood, and Harry Potter. They all went into forests which were strictly off limits - dark, creepy and dangerous even without tropical insects (although I guess Harry's spiders were comparable) - looking for something magical.

Singapore has lots of forbidden forests, and lots of durian trees growing within them, dropping free, wild durians grown in Singaporean soil.  When given the chance, what rational durian lover wouldn't venture inside?

The Durian Guy Across From 7-11 on Chulia Street | Georgetown, Penang Malaysia

His was the first durian I bought on Penang back in 2012. He's probably where you bought your first Penang durian, if you were staying on Chulia Street.

His stall is simple, just two collapsible tables wedged between his brother's juice cart and a guy selling coconuts on one of the busiest streets in the heart of the backpacker district. It happens to be located right across from the street from the 7-11. So that's what we called him, The-Durian-Guy-Across-From-The-7-11, all in one breath like it was some kind of name or title. But he has a real name. It's Ah Hoe.

*Please remember, all photos published on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Year of the Durian and Lindsay Gasik . If you want to use one of them please contact me first. Thanks!