Isnul’s life was changed for the durian when in 2017 he joined an online chat group called Durian Maniak.
He was a durian lover already, who loved Jepara’s distinctive honey-and-cream aroma of durians, and was annoyed that the only durian variety people seemed to know from Jepara was the mythical Petruk, which doesn’t even really exist at this point.
Now he is a man with a Durian Mission to seek out, record, and promote the most special-tasting Durian Jepara. And you can join in on tasting his journey at his new specialty durian cafe at his house in Jepara.
D’Petruk Specialty Durian Jepara
I first visited Isnul in 2018, when he had just started offering durian tasting sessions from the floor of his living room. By appointment only.
A friend of a friend booked us with Isnul, and it definitely felt like a clandestine meeting.
When we came back in 2019, he had built a small thatched covered-area as a more comfortable eating place for durians, and was on Google Maps as a Specialty Durian Jepara spot.
It’s still an intimate experience. There’s room for just two Durian Snacking groups at a time, and Isnul carefully sources fresh durian direct from the farm every morning and evening to give his customers only a top experience.
I asked him what his wife thought filling the driveway with durians and durian customers and also about his new habit of roaming the countryside, sometimes for a week at a time, hunting unique and excellent durians.
He says luckily she’s been very supportive, because they both really value giving back to and supporting their community.
Isnul believes that helping small farmers in Jepara to identify the excellent quality durians, name them, and then distribute cloned varieties will help improve the overall quality of durian in Jepara and help out small farmers, who have always struggled and even more so since the teak trade has slumped.
Now that he is a man on a mission, Isnul has become really active with the Durian Traveler community and even started his own Youtube Channel where he documents his Durian Finds in Jepara.
Or when we came to visit 😂
But there’s a long way to go.
Currently in Jepara, there are no established varieties. It means that each type of durian has just one producing tree. Traditionally, all were just known as “Durian Lokal,” and if you found a particularly good one and wanted to ask for it again at the market, it would be impossible. Like finding a needle in a haystack.
Or a durian in a durian pile 😅
Now, when Isnul finds an excellent durian, he names it.
He talks to the farmer about fertilizing and caring for his trees.
He buys the good quality durians at a better price and helps the farmers do marketing.
And if the durian is really good after a couple of seasons, he helps them to graft the tree and sell the baby durian trees.
Isnul is leading the way toward the future of Jepara Durians. It’s a Durian Revolution. Whatever is new and exciting, you’ll find on his tables.
Here are 10 Rising Durian Jepara varieties that Isnul has found:
1. Durian Nenek
Where: Grandma Warsiti’s House
One of the best durians Isnul stocks at his shop and that you may ever find in all of your years of durian hunting is from a single 80 or 90-year-old tree in the front yard of Grandma Warisiti, around 10 minutes driving from Isnul’s house.
Nenek literally means “Grandmother,” and Isnul named Durian Nenek both for Grandma Warisiti and because the durian tree is old and the flesh wrinkly, just like an elderly person.
The tree was planted by Nenek’s great-grandfather, and passed down through her grandmother to her father and finally, Nenek. Nenek herself is somewhere in her late 70’s, although she is not sure.
“You have to remember,” Reza “here in Java most people will have children by the time they are 20. So if planted by Nenek’s great-grandfather, that’s only about 40 years plus Nenek herself.”
The durian has an intensely honeyed aroma, something between cream and mead, with an amazingly fluffy and smooth texture, each segment of sticky pillow of emulsified sugar. This durian definitely has enough alcohol to raise color to your cheeks, but very little bitterness.
It’s one of the most unusual and beautiful tasting durians you may find on your travels, and the best part is the lingering after taste of honey. Many durians leave you with stale garlic-breath for hours, but not Durian Nenek. It’s a sweet experience all the way.
Nenek Warisiti actually lives in the small brick house behind the tree, so we are not sharing the location of her house on this website for privacy reasons.
But Isnul and his groups are always welcome, so if you would like to visit Nenek or simply eat her durian, the best way is to make a booking with Isnul.
2. Durian Kerekil
Where: Muria Kampung Durian Jepara Farm
This petite one-serving-size durian grows on the foothills of Mount Muria, the volcano centered on the Jepara peninsula. It’s a sweet, sticky and herbal little durian with a hint of bitterness that reminded us a lot of D93 in Miri or Golden Phoenix in Malaysia.
Isnul named it “Kerekil,” which means like a piece of gravel or a very small rock.
It’s another durian that Isnul, me and Richard think have a lot of potential for becoming a future established variety in Jepara. Maybe in 20 years you’ll find Kerekil everywhere!
But for now there is just one tree on the farm of Ibu Sumiyanti, plus some grafted trees that Isnul has made.
Thanks to Isnul’s coaching, in the 2020 season Ibu Sumiyanti opened her farm to visitors for the first time and built a small eating area with a covered area to protect from falling durians.
However she doesn’t have a phone or cell reception at her place, so the best way to arrange a booking to visit Mount Muria Durian Farm is through Isnul.
3. Durian Purba
This ancient durian tree looms over a small brick house in the northern districts of Jepara, around 1 hour driving from Isnul’s House.
According to the Grandma, the tree was planted by her great, great, grandfather, making her the 4th generation to live under this tree, and her grandson the 6th.
Grandma is very shy, and actually stayed inside the house during our visit and did not want to participate in video or photographs.
Isnul is now her main buyer. He the tree by luck during one of his Durian Quests, when he was driving along the northern border of Jepara and Pati.
He stopped to buy a bottle of water and asked the shop owner if anyone had good durian in the area. He was directed to this ancient durian tree, and knew he had found something pretty special.
The Grandma has given permission to Isnul to bring people on pilgrimages to see her Ancient Tree, but you probably won’t get to meet her.
4. Durian Sukun
Where: Ibu Lastri’s in Kecapi
Ibu Lastri’s parents started the tradition of serving durian on their small front porch, but her son Zainal is the one who caught the durian bug and is now cooperating with Isnul to identify good durians.
His favorite is a small round durian with bright yellow flesh he calls Sukun, or “breadfruit” (pictured above).
Zainal is one of Ibu Lastri’s 7 children and her many grandchildren, and lives together with his extended family in a cluster of houses. Between all the families, they have around 50 durian trees.
Most trees now carry the name of a child or grand-child – Zainal’s, Jaye’s – but there are also some special ones like Anding-anding or “Black Freckle,” Zainal’s favorite Sukun (pictured above) – and Durian Kempling, pictured below.
5. Durian Kempling
Where: Bu Lastri’s in Kecapi
Several people in Jepara suggested we try Durian Kempling, meaning this durian is starting to get famous!
It has ivory-yellow-flesh and is smooth
and develop an aftertaste more towards fermented honey than the sourish, garlic-stale aftertaste of many durians
We noticed that, even a day after falling, it leaves a pleasant aftertaste
6. Durian Zaki
No trip to Jepara is complete without a Durian Zaki, the classic in Jepara flavor. This ultra dry, honey-nut flesh encapsulates tiny wrinkled seeds, so that while the durian pieces looks small they are actually quite filling.
7. Durian Ketan
This funky-shaped, old-tree durian has ended up being one of my favorites from Jepara. It’s name means “sticky rice” because it is a bit like eating glue in texture. Your mouth gets trapped shut pretty quick, leaving you to salivate over its caramel yogurt body and just slightly alcoholic finish.
8. Durian Tarmin
Honorable mention goes to Durian Tarmin, the winner of the 2015 Jepara Durian Competition. This durian actually originates in Pati, but has become an established variety due to it’s fame at the competition.
Our experience with it was that it had good flavor, but the one we had had fallen prematurely and had some textural issues. Something to come back and try again!
9. Durian Jepara Susu
Where: Isnul’s own farm
Last on our list of top durians (so far) is a durian from Isnul’s own backyard. He has around 20 durian trees behind the house and is naming his own varieties there as well. Our top this trip was Jepara Susu.
10. Fake Petruk
I was almost sold at the name, but I’ve had so many “Fake Petruks” that were awful that I didn’t laugh the first time Isnul told me this durian’s name.
This long, pointy durian with a “nose” looks nothing like the real Petruk, which is like a small ball, but it’s a joke.
In Jepara, if you visit the Ngabul Durian Market, every single durian in that market magically transforms into a Petruk. Or Petruk Super, for an extra IDR 25,000.
I had actually wondered why Isnul named his new business “D’Petruk” – when the whole point of his mission is to replace the Petruk Sham with real Jepara durians.
But Isnul’s jokingly titled “Fake Petruk” was of course, awesome. Nutty, honeyed and caramelized, it also makes the list of my favorite durians that I’ve tasted at D’Petruk Specialty Durian Jepara.
Which is why Isnul used the named Petruk. Because he sees his platform and his business as the re-awakening of Durian in Jepara, with a future full of durians that will one day be as famous as the long-lost Petruk.
How to visit D’Petruk Specialty Durian Jepara
Isnul’s house is located in Pakis Aji District, around 15 minutes driving from Jepara City.
His house is in a narrow dirt driveway just off the main road, behind a green sign for Oppo and a shop where his wife sells Hajib.
Contact Isnul directly for bookings at: