Our first night in Jakarta, 2020, we were invited out on the town to the flagship store of Korek Durian, one of the first dedicated durian shops for durian connoisseurs in Jakarta.
It was my first time back to Jakarta since I wrote a Jakarta Durian Guide in 2016.
How the world has changed!
In 2016 I was Durian Disappointed with a capital D. Amidst limitless shops dedicated to Sop Durian and Es Durian, we found a few half-moldy Durian Kampung, a mislabeled Petruk, and some very expensive and overripe Durian Monthong.
Thank all the stars shops like Korek Durian are leading the way to some seriously good durian in Jakarta.
The Korek Durian Story
The Korek Durian Flagship Store was about 6 months old when I first met Arif Riyanto.
Arif came on Durian Tour to Raub, Malaysia with the Durian Traveler group and immediately made an impression with a gift of t-shirts that said BAWOR IS REAL.
Bawor, I knew, is the name for Chanee grown in Indonesia. But “BAWOR IS REAL” became a fraternity joke on that trip, with everyone hashtagging their pics #baworisreal.
At one point, someone even taped a paper note that said “Bawor Is Real” to the back of another person’s t-shirt.
So it was with memories of a fun durian-munching trip that we reconnected with Arif when we arrived in Jakarta in December, 2020.
I was also hoping to learn about the origins of all these “Bawor Is Real” shenanigans.
Korek Durian South Grogol (Grogol Selatan)
Arif and his wife Fani opened the first Korek Durian at the front of their home in South Grogol in November, 2018, with the intent of selling high quality, No B.S. durians.
If you read my 2016 Jakarta visit, you know that we were sold many “Petruk” and “Monthong” durians, with extra finger quotes.
Arif didn’t want that. He wanted his customers to feel comfortable that they were always getting the real deal, hence the Bawor is Real slogan.
The shop is an open-air eatery with just a simple platform and rug to sit on. Durians line the walls and fill the open spaces.
There’s also a separate covered hut in a driveway next door for extra space.
But the shop is really really small, and while Arif still distributes durians to other wholesalers in Jakarta from here, it’s understandable that he would want to open another branch not in his own front yard.
There are currently two more Korek Durian branches; one in Bekasi and one in Lebak Bulus. Both have more of a classic cafe vibe with tables, chairs, and Instagrammable murals on the walls.
But for now the original Korek Durian is a homey, family spot, run mostly by Fani and Arif’s elderly parents, who are chilling on their front patio and waiting to open durians.
Bawor (Pekalongan, Harvested)
We started with the infamous Bawor. Bawor has almost all the physical characteristics of a Chanee from Thailand, but somehow tastes more to us like a Puyat from Philippines (also a Chanee relative).
They eat durian both tree-harvested and fallen in Indonesia, and Arif decided to treat us to one of each.
This one was tree-harvested but fully ripe, meaning the flesh was uber thick and sticky, a bit eggy and sulfurous, and really sweet.
I thought they did a good job cutting it at the proper ripeness, and after 9 months in Thailand would hav been happy to gobble this one except there was better fare awaiting 😋
Bawor (Banyumas, Tree-Fallen)
The next Bawor was from Banyumas, and had traveled to Jakarta by train. I was impressed it made it so quickly, because the durian was still pretty fresh. I would guess it had dropped that morning, which is great because timing is KEY when it comes to Chanee-varieties.
The flavor was so different on this tree-dropped durian compared to the Harvested one. It was smoother and silkier, still fatty but had the darker, more bitter and metallic flavor that I associate with tree-dropped Puyats in Philippines.
Short story: It was great quality, especially considering it rode the train several hours to arrive in time to still be fresh.
Musang King from Malaysia
I was the most surprised to see this FRESH Musang King flown in from Pahang, Malaysia.
That was just not happening when I visited Jakarta in 2016 — I don’t think I found any imported durian at all.
I was also surprised and honored that Arif had decided to share an imported Musang King with us.
I knew this must be a pricey treat; but I was still taken aback by the price tag of around 400-500K ($30 USD/KG). But then I reminded myself that this is FRESH, not really peak season in Malaysia, AND brought in during the ongoing worldwide pandemic when flights out of Malaysia are few and far between.
So to eat this quality of Musang King in Jakarta is nothing short of miraculous.
It was also an amazing durian, and reminded me to have appreciation for all the things Musang King can do that other durians can’t. Like travel overseas and arrive in not only edible but delectable condition – rich, buttery, nutty, alcoholic – this one was soft and a bit slurpy inside it’s waxy skin, and tasted just like many of the Musang Kings I’ve tasted on the streets of Singapore.
Black Thorn (Jakarta)
The most exciting durian arrived as a surprise, and I smelled it before I even saw it. That heavenly gaseous, grassy, sweet and NUMBING smell that immediately put all my senses on red alert. Deliciousness was coming.
And amazingly, this durian was grown in Jakarta itself. Arif knows a few backyard growers who sell their excess, and we had gotten exceptionally lucky with a gift from a family who had just one Black Thorn tree.
After several long months in Thailand’s off-season, this Indonesian-grown durian re-awakened my hunger for fresh, numbing, tingling, exciting durians, and an Indonesian Durian Adventure.
Home Delivery from Korek Durian
Jakarta has pretty awful traffic, so ordering in rather than going out is popular. And it seems that in the last few years since my last visit to Jakarta, when there was still Uber and Grab called itself GrabTaxi, Durian Delivery has grown by leaps and bounds.
One morning, Arif sent us a Black Thorn breakfast to our hotel. Shhh 🤫 We made a tasting review for him, and luckily it was easy to make the review because it was an awesome durian. Check out the video above to see a Durian Delivery in Jakarta.
Getting to Korek Durian South Grogol
Use the map below to find Korek Durian’s 3 branches and other durian hotspots in Jakarta.
To Order Durian for home delivery or book an appointment, contact Arif or Fani:
If you have Apple iOS, you can also download the Durian App.