months of chasing durian around SE Asia was a wonderful homecoming.
All of our travels and adventures in Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia,
and northern Malaysia were put into perspective. The first six months
of Year of the Durian just blurred right by. I hope the next six are
as wonderful, and last longer.
China Town, which gave us the chance to work out our sore bus muscles
by walking a few kilometers with our luggage. It also provided the
opportunity to hit up our old favorite, the Chow Kit wet market. This
was our go-to spot for durian back in January, and it didn’t let us
down this time around either. Lindsay and I had our second encounter
with D-24, and then our third, and fourth.
D-24 is the most widely available of
the commercial durian cultivars in Malaysia. As such, I think we’d
come to look down our noses at it. Somehow the named and even the
higher number varieties seemed more sophisticated, more novel and
promising – the D-88’s, D-101’s and 160’s, to name a few. The D-24
is a great durian, though. The flavor is a rounded, full bodied
sweet, not very bitter, but not flat. They are creamy smooth and bear
mouthfuls of sticky flesh on every seed. Like any variety, the taste
and texture quality varies from fruit to fruit, but we have now had
some very enjoyable D-24’s, including our first few from Chow Kit.
rumor Lindsay’d stirred up somewhere in her durian research – that
Chow Kit’s durian stalls slash prices at midnight. Rachel, a friend
from Lindsay’s high school days, who is currently teaching in
Singapore, was visiting KL for the weekend so the three of us headed
over to the market to check out the late late show at Chow Kit. We
did score a package of Mousang King at a slightly reduced price, but
didn’t find the epic sales that drew us. Still, we can count ourselves
lucky to eat Mousang King anytime, and again for not turning into
gremlins for eating durian after midnight.
|We weren’t the only ones out for durian after midnight.|
Besides returning to our old stomping
ground, we’d had our sights on another of KL’s famous durian scenes –
SS-2 – ever since reading about its 9 RM all-you-can-eat durian
buffets. One evening when we’d worked up a worthy appetite we took a
city train towards durian heaven. It was actually a 30 minute walk
from the station, but I think we both welcomed the chance to earn a
little more pig out points. No regrets, the journey was well worth
it. SS2’s durian market welcomed us with the sight, and smell, of
more durians than we’ve seen anywhere since the insides of Sunshine
Durian Factory way back in Chanthaburi, Thailand.
Lindsay and I didn’t know how we were
going to decide on a buffet. After walking past maybe five other
well-stocked vendors, including the famous Donald’s Durian, we
spotted the apparent Shangri-Lah of KL durian. The SS-2 durian stall
was huge, and it was crowded. Clearly it was the preferred place to
eat durian for a lot of locals. After we inquired about the buffet
rules – time limits, varieties included, etc – we pulled up
chairs and our waiter started the durian train a rollin.
|Don’t ask this guy for anything not on the menu.|
Instead of the 9 RM kampung durian
buffet, we opted for the 20 RM upgrade which included red prawn,
D-24, D-88, and D-101, officially. Actually, because our waiter
wasn’t too strict (some were) we were able to get a taste of quite
a few other varieties as well. We enjoyed the Jiuji, but we really liked
the hefty and sticky D-96, which we reminded us of lemon pound cake.
distracted by a promotional event being put on by a KL radio station
that awarded participants free passes to the buffet, and so I was
left to fend for myself for a while at a table full of delicious half
eaten durians. I tried to exercise self control, but the appeal of
the durians won out. If you are a durian lover you know how the
mystery of the next pod calls you to eat always one more piece. Who
knows what flavors it holds? I was fully riding that wave, eating
delicious pod after pod from a great array of durians. By the time
Lindsay returned from her journalistic duties I was feeling the
effects of my liberalism, and should have been done, but wanted to
enjoy a few more with her. I did, and by the end of the night I was
so stuffed I felt kinda sick. The long walk paid off again, though,
and I made it home with all of my durian!
visiting KL during durian season I highly recommend a trip out to the
SS2 durian market. If you don’t feel like gorging on a buffet, it is
a great place to buy high end durians, too. All the top tier
cultivars were represented including Mousang King, XO (named after
the brandy), Hor Lor, Bamboo Leg, and other less well known exotic