I recently spent two weeks in Kuala Lumpur, mostly at this durian stall.
Like, I’m not kidding. I went to this durian stall almost every night. I was just starting to work on a study comparing the beliefs and perspectives of durian lovers around the world, and I thought hanging out at a durian stall would be a good opportunity to meet Malaysian durian lovers and talk to them about how they feel about durian.
And while I was there.. why not eat some durian too?
About King of the King Pahang Durian
The durian stall is located in SS2, less than one hundred yards from Wai’s Durian and right across the street from Donald’s Durian.
It’s a fairly new stall, and has only been in business for the last two years.
If it’s your first time visiting, it can be hard to choose which place to patronize!
My second night hanging around SS2, I selected King of the King Pahang Durian because they offered slightly cheaper prices than the other two stalls as well as a new durian I’d never tasted before – D78. I figured I’d try out Donald’s the next night, and rotate between the three stalls.
Then the guys at King of the King were so nice to me that I decided to go back. Again. And again. And again.
|This guy won my adoration by giving me a free coconut one night|
Why I Kept Going Back
I ended up hanging out at King of the King’s every night for the next week while I worked on the International Survey of Durian Lovers.
I did go back to Wai’s Durian Stall one night, but after an hour or so of snacking I found myself drawn back to King of the King.
Price was part of it. I’ll be honest – I’m trying to make a living off of freelance writing and the tidbits of proceeds when one of you dear durian lovers buys my book (thank you). When I’m on a durian kick, I need the best value for money.
King of the King had slightly better prices, and seemed to have a better selection in general.
|A pile of Musang King durians|
Whereas the shelves at Wai’s Durian were nearly bare, here the displays overflowed into piles of Musang King on the floor.
The relative abundance could be a fluke of the season and their suppliers. I don’t know that they always have more than the other stalls. But what really won my loyalty was how easily they replaced durians that weren’t up to my standard.
Throughout the night, one of the servers stood on the corner calling to passerby, “Nice or no money!” He really meant it. If I so much as grimaced while giving the durian a taste, the lovely staffer would whisk it away and bring back a durian that blew my taste buds away. That’s what I call good durian service.
Plus they were really nice to me, despite me walking around clutching a pile of surveys and chatting with (ahem bothering) their customers.
|Any guesses what durian that is?|
For your benefit, I wrote down the durians available and their prices in ringgit and USD per kilo. This was during my visit in January, 2015. The buffet option was 20 RM per person.
Yes, that Musang King was really almost $7 per pound. Due to all the flooding in Pahang, Musang King was in short supply this season. Can you guess what I ate?
|Overripe but gorgeous D24|
I started with the safety durian – good old D24.
D24 was registered in 1937 and was the first widely commercialized durian because of it’s reliable quality. It’s typically a solid, satisfying choice.
This one looked so amazing I just about drooled over the camera lens. Those glacial wrinkles were beautiful – but there was something just a little bit off-putting about it. I couldn’t put my finger on it quite until I took a bite. It was overripe.
In hindsight, you tell by the grey coloration, slight translucency, and sort of bloated appearance.
|Most awesome D24|
A perfectly ripe D24 should fill you will uncontrollable desire, like this one.
Pale yellow, the wrinkles are tightly bound creating fine shadows over an opaque skin. The skin of this D24 will stay intact as you gently place your fingers around its pillowness, feeling it squeeze inward and then burst open against your teeth. Perfection.
Those were the only D24 I ate during the two weeks, because I reserved the rest of my appetite for my new favorite – D78.
Maybe I’m just attracted to underdogs, but the fact that I had never heard of D78 made me want to love it.
D78 didn’t make itself easy to love. It was a little lopsided, brilliant green, with very visible seams colored brown. It certainly didn’t look like the D78 documented by Leslie Tay.
It took some effort to get open, as the cement-like shell was really thick! When the durian seng finally got it open I had to dig my fingers down into the recess of the shell and pull out the flesh in an ooey-gooey mess.
Despite the messiness, I loved it. It was hands down better than the overripe D24, sweet, sticky and thick like chilled frosting. Except by a miracle of nature this was room temperature.
The next one I tasted was even better. This one was even pretty.
D78 is a sweet, cheerful little durian with a really pleasant chocolatey undertone that grounds the sweetness. Once I’d found D78, I wasn’t even tempted to bother with the other durians.
Between price, freshness and flavor, D78 was definitely the best valued durian in SS2 when I visited. It satiated my durian needs nicely.
Which was great, because I could afford to eat a good quality durian a lot of nights in a row while I worked on the survey.
My excuse for this two-week binge was I wanted the chance to sit down and talk pointedly with Malaysians about their love affair with durian. I’ve talked durian with a lot of Malaysian friends before, but this time, I wanted to really dig into the psychology and see what commonalities people who eat durian have in common.
Everyone I spoke to was so, so nice. Maybe they were just in a good mood from eating so much durian. Or maybe I looked pretty harmless and out of place, a solitary white girl in my awesome Oh My Pod Durian T-shirt.
Every night I went away with my cheeks aching and hot from smiling too much and eating too much durian.
In the end all of the surveys I printed out were filled, and I had given away all the slips of paper with the link to the survey too. I’d had a great time, and could at least tell myself I’d been productive.
It was really thanks to these guys, the durian magicians at King of King Pahang Durian Stall.
The survey is still open. Participate with 975 other durian lovers by clicking here.
How To Get There
King of King Pahang Durian Stall is open from 12 PM to 12 AM 365 days of the year. They are located behind the SS2 Police Station in Petaling Jaya (see map)
To make a reservation or check on the durians, call Ah Loong: 010-2377896 (in yellow at right in photo) or Ah Chun: 016-9443233