Batu Ferringhi is not my favorite place in Penang. The seaside city is a tourist trap with a mediocre beach, mediocre massage, and a scarcity of durian that is just confusing given what I imagine would be huge demand. Everybody goes to Batu Ferringhi. And I know you’ll insist on going there too. So I might as well save you from a mediocre durian experience. Here are 3 Batu Ferringhi durian spots to check out and to avoid.
↓ ↓ ↓ Scroll to the bottom for a map of all durian hot spots in Penang ↓ ↓ ↓
P.S. I do want to apologize in advance for the fuzziness of some of these photos. My camera was in its last death throes and the new one was still on the way.
About Batu Ferringhi
Batu Ferringhi is an overdeveloped strip along Penang’s northwestern coast. It caters to an odd mixture of wealthy Middle Eastern tourists and European families on holiday, as well as backpackers there for the beach and the bars.
Scantily clad bikini-wearers suntan while women in sopping-wet black burkas land squealing in the water from para sails.
It’s almost worth going just to see.
The beach itself is okay. It’s a short, steep beach with gritty brown sand, lined with resorts and restaurants. The water buzzes with jetskis all day, so swim at your own hazard.
I have friends who have all kinds of nicknames for Batu Ferringhi, but let’s just say it’s not my cup of tea. There are better beaches, and better massages, elsewhere in Penang.
But I know you’ll end up there anyway, or maybe you’re already there. That’s why you’re searching for where the Batu Ferringhi durian hook-ups, right?
If I can’t save you from staying in Batu Ferringhi, I can save you from spending money at the Durian Shack.
Shangri La All-You-Can-Eat Durian Buffet
The Golden Sands Resort and its sister, the Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa, both offer a complimentary durian buffet for 2 persons if you book two nights. Keep in mind that one night at Golden Sands is 490RM ($112 USD), and it’s 680RM ($155) at Rasa Sayang.
If you want to add a second durian buffet to your stay, it costs 100 RM per person. This seems steep, but it’s actually a good price if you can leverage the all-you-can-eat feature. A single durian might cost you 70RM.
The durian buffet is in the parking lot in between the two hotels, at a small kiosk surrounded by picnic tables and the biggest black squirrels I have ever imagined possible. They’re literally called Giant Black Squirrels. Worth seeing for hugeness.
Since it was an all-you-can-eat durian buffet, Sasha and I went in for the kill. We ended up with 4 durians for just 2 people. But that’s only because I couldn’t find one I liked. At the end, the only durian I was willing to eat was this Kun Poh.
I left the rest to Sasha’s apparently bottomless durian appetite, but even he couldn’t manage some of them.
They were really poor quality.
And then I noticed that the Durian Shack had done something I consider inexcusable: they had cut the stems. Maybe that doesn’t sound like a big deal to you, but it’s purposeful deception on their part. They were cheating.
I’ve gone into a more in-depth rant about it in this Review of Shangri La All-You-Can-Eat Durian Buffet, but to cut to the quick:
Conclusion: There are two reasons to go here. You’re staying at the Shangri La Hotel complex and this durian buffet is already paid for in your stay, or you really want to stuff the durian in for a reasonable(ish) price.
But if neither of those apply to you, a better option is waiting for you across the street.
8321 Durian Plantation by Eric Yeap
After our disappointing all-you-want-isn’t-much durian buffet at the Shangri La, Sasha and I walked literally across the street to Eric Yeap’s stall in the parking lot of the Petronas petrol station.
Here’s a video of me and Sasha reveling in our much better durian selection.
We purchased only two durians from Eric, because this was towards the end of July in Penang when the durian pickings were getting slimmer, and Sasha is a Musang King addict.
Musang King and Hor Lor
With just a few days left in the country, Sasha insisted on getting a Musang King at 70 RM per kilo. I insisted on getting a Hor Lor, in the hopes that I could shake him of his bad habit.
This photo has both durians. Can you tell which one is which? (of course you can)
Musang King (MSK) is one of the darkest yellow and thickest, stickiest, driest durians in Malaysia. It’s also one of the durians with the highest sugar concentration. It’s also not local to Penang. If you eat a Musang King in Penang, with the exception of a few farms, it’s likely the durians are imported from mainland Malaysia.
Hor Lor, Penang’s local pride, is also known for being peanut-butter sticky, a bit dry, and dark yellow in color. It’s not quite as dark as MSK, but I hoped that it would be close enough Sasha would consider eating locally and using the double-price to buy two durians instead of one.
Eric Yeap, the man behind the stall, isn’t a durian grower. Yet. He has his own small lot in the foothills behind the petrol station, but admits that durian has been his hobby and passion since he was around 6-years-old.
He’s been selling durians at this location for 5 years, along with coconuts, cempedaks, and other local fruits when in season. Give him a call next time you’re hungry for durian.
8321 Durian Plantation by Eric Yeap
See map below ↓
Phone/WhatsApp: +60 016 4344263
Email: [email protected]
Eng Hoe’s Durian Stall
If you’re craving really fresh, really local, really unique durian that’s also close by to your poor decision, this is your hook-up.
It’s only 2.75 km east of 8321 Durian Plantation on the road towards Teluk Bahang. It takes just about a half hour to walk here, or you can get a taxi from Batu Ferringhi.
It’s nothing fancy — just a tin roof over some rough hewed tables. But just behind the stall is where they grow this:
And Capri tastes different than any other durian on Penang. It’s got a strong, boozy kick that reminds some people of rum and some people of brandy and others of peach shnoppz with something creamy.
I actually don’t like it. It’s too strong for me. But he has other durians too. My favorite of his is Kacang Hijau, a white, sticky one that reminds me of French vanilla ice cream.
Mr. Liang has rented the property from Mr. Hoe for the past 8 years, so he’s the one you’ll see when you come to eat durian here.
He also runs Baba By The Sea Guesthouse in Batu Ferringhi, so if, despite all my complaints and persuasion, you really have your heart set on Batu Ferringhi and you also need a serious durian hook up, consider staying with Mr. Liang.
Eng Hoe’s Durian Stall is located near the Chinese Cemetery just north of Batu Ferringhi on the road to Teluk Bahang and the Spice Gardens. There’s just the one road, so you really can’t miss it.
Call Mr. Liang: (+6)016-490-2272
Still going to Batu Ferringhi, hey? Well, I hope at least you get some good durian. Follow these tips, and if you get any good durian leads of your own be sure to leave them in the comments below for future durian hunters.
You can also use this map to find other seriously good hot spots around the island. Renting a motorbike is cheap, so if you have time take a day out to explore!