It was a hit and run on durian street in Johor Bahru.
To be more precise, there wasn’t a lot of time, or a lot of durian, but we needed just one more to complete our Johor Bahru durian day.
“Just a taste of Tekka, that’s all,” Glen promised, stopping the car at a small cart on wheels on a congested one-way street.
Uncle Song’s Johor Bahru Durian Cart
Glen parked at the Shell Station and Hawk Mechanics Shop behind the cart.
The cart didn’t look special. It stood in a row of other durian carts in the glancing afternoon heat. There was one folding table and chairs on the sidewalk under a beach umbrella.
The whole set-up could be picked up and wheeled away in a few moments.
I guess because it was late on a Saturday afternoon, Uncle Song’s was nearly out of durian. He had just one variety: the Tekka that Glen was looking for.
Glen and Candy are Weekend Durian Warriors. They encapsulate the contradictory nature of durian by being both some of the most intense durian hunters I know while remaining really laid back and happy.
Uncle Song’s is their go-to spot for lazy weekends when they don’t feel like driving out of the city. It’s also very close to a foot massage parlor they like to frequent.
Durian, a foot massage, maybe some more durian, doesn’t that sound like a good weekend to you?
Tekka, or Kaki Buluh, means “bamboo leg.” I don’t know why. Someone told me once it’s because Tekka has a very hard core and is difficult to open, like a bamboo root.
You can always recognize a Tekka by the rust-colored “drain” or hollow core running the length of the durian, and its burnt-caramel colored flesh.
Tekka is most famous in Bentong region near Kuala Lumpur, especially with older folks of Chinese descent, because when it’s good, it’s one of the most deeply bitter, herbal and creamy durians out there.
The Chinese, as far as I can tell, really value bitter flavors as medicinal. I haven’t yet learned to enjoy bitter melon or a lot of herbal teas, but I can get on board with the bitter for Tekka.
I wanted to talk more to Uncle Song about his experience as a durian seller. While he didn’t speak English, his face looked kind. Glen said he’s been selling at that spot, every day, for around 30 years.
But it was a hit and run mission. Once we had enjoyed the Tekka and stored it safely in our bellies, it was time to go.
Go To Uncle Song’s Durian Cart
Uncle Song’s Durian Cart is on Jalan Badik 1 across the street from the Mega Vision store and next to a mechanic shop.
Call to reserve durian: +60127663683
Follow this map, or use the map to find other durian stalls and farms in Malaysia.