- Start Here
But sometimes I get curious about the places I've already been. There’s something really enjoyable about returning to a place you’ve been before, particularly a place you liked.What is it like now? What am I like now? Will it still look and feel the same to me as it did before?
So when Rob and I passed through Kuala Lumpur a few weeks ago, rather than seek out a new durian venue I suggested we go back to Chow Kit Market.
Note From Lindsay: This is a very special guest post from my friend Jay at Tropical Fruit Hunters, who grew these jackfruit in his greenhouse in Ohio. I've occasionally gotten questions from readers in places like Russia, Iceland and Slovakia (not making this up) asking how to grow durian in extremely cold environments. In this post, Jay shares how to build and maintain your own personal tropics even when there's snow on the ground.
Above is my Jackfruit. Just one of the many reason why I have a greenhouse today. Others that will soon fruit again are longan, cherimoyas, starfruit, sugar apples, and more.
My obsession with tropical fruit probably began around 2003. I started off with some various citrus trees. They not only had attractive foliage, but their blooms smelled wonderful. I had also recently come across a tropical fruit forum and discovered that there were other people growing tropical fruit trees other than plain old citrus.
And wonder of wonders, there were nurseries that would send me these plants…even to Ohio! I quickly took advantage of this and ordered a Nam Doc Mai mango, which is a Thai mango. What better way to get my Thai wife on board with this purchase but to tell her I was bringing a little piece of Thailand home to her?
I used to think I didn't like touristy places. They're cheesy. Crowded. Overpriced.
Yet while Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown is always clogged with folks juggling camera lenses and maps to the embarrassment of their husbands (ahem) there's a certain grittiness and unplanned chaos that draws me back again and again.
It's advertised as a great place to bargain hunt, but it's one of the few places I stop hunting. There's durian available here any time of year. It's now one of my favorite places to simply hang out, share some durian with a newbie, and watch the constant flow of humanity.
After all, a big part of being a tourist is taking the time to look around and notice people.
A hundred years ago, a nerdy botanist poking around Penang Island on vacation found a new species of durian that fruited on the trunk and roots of the tree. He named it Durio pinangianus, after where he found it, and then nobody cared.
Maybe there was already so much of the unequivocally delicious kinds of durian on Penang that nobody could be bothered about the island's only native durian, not even the Penang Botanic Garden. Although we tried, we couldn't find D. pinangianus on Penang Island either.
We found it in Sungai Sedim, a small national park that boasts the world's longest canopy walk, a kilometer long steel bridge suspended 80 feet over the jungle. The irony was that for once, our durian lay on the jungle floor.
Penang is a foodie's paradise. The island has been listed multiple times as one of Asia's Top 10 Street Food Cities, despite technically not being a city. A large part of that focus on the gourmet goes to its durian, with street stalls selling highly rated and priced durians all over Georgetown.
But while its easy to visit only restaurants and fancy durian stalls during your stay on Penang, it's a great experience to get back to the basics: the traditional wet market.