For the month of August durian is on the menu at the SM City Mall Food Court in Davao. The eight restaurants were asked to use durian in one entree as part of the city-wide celebration of Kadayawan. “We didn’t do any desserts because we wanted to highlight the more savory dishes,” said Vincent Rebosura, the Food Court manager whose idea it was to create the durian menu.
Rob and I were very excited to finally find a savory durian menu, instead of just the usual sweets and pastries. Even at the durian cooking contest we attended as part of the Tagum City Durian Festival, the chefs only presented a durian dessert. Vincent said he got the idea from visiting a restaurant in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and from googling recipes online. When I gave him our contact information, he said that our website was one of the first durian recipe sites he found! Very cool.
Each restaurant created its very own recipe based on popular
Filipino dishes – which are not by any means vegetarian. So Rob and I
asked our friend Dexter, a Davaoeno, if he would come along and taste
test for us. Dexter was dubious about trying a cooked
durian dish. “I think maybe it sounds gross,” he said. “I’m a purist. I
just like to eat the fruit.” He was still game to come along and try a few of the dishes.
The SM City durian menu has been so popular that when we arrived around lunchtime, only three durian dishes were left. Dexter tried them all: the Burger Patty in Corn and Durian Sauce, Durian Camaron Rebosado, a shrimp and durian filled spring roll, and a creamy seafood soup called Bouillabaisse with Durian.
Blogger Sarah Jean Gavile reported that the Bouillabaisse was her favorite and a “must-try,” so I was very happy that our guinea pig would be able to try it. His verdict was not as positive; in fact, of the three dishes the Boillabaisse was the only he didn’t eat.
He ate the other two, but said that the flavor of the meat overpowered the durian so that he could hardly taste it. “I was kind of excited, expecting to try something that will wow me but its just plain,” he said. He did admit that the sauce, when eaten by itself or with rice, was very good. I asked him if he would consider using durian in his own cooking. He said maybe he would stuff steamed fish with durian, but probably not. “I think its better to just eat a good meal and then eat durian,” he decided.
Good thing Rob and I brought along some durian to eat for lunch! I do think that our friend Dexter may have been hard on SM Mall Food Court’s first durian event. Other people really enjoyed it, including blogger Captaincheap, who also raved about the Bouillabaisse. So what’s with Dexter? Later his girlfriend told me, “He’s kind of picky.”
What do you think about cooking savory dishes with durian? Please comment below!
To taste these Filipino dishes rendered with durian for yourself, head to SM City Mall in Davao by August 31st.
Food Court at the SM Mall.
Quimpo Blvd. Cor. Tulip Drive
Ecoland Subdivision, Matina, Davao City
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For more information on the durian dishes served, see Sarah Jean Gavile’s Feast of Flavours Review.