30 Years Ago After The Evening Church Service In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, A Group Of Church Brothers Would Make A Short Trip To Batu Road For A Time Of Bargain Hunt For Durians.
You see, in those days, if durians were not Sold Out on the same day, the same durians will be offered for a song in the Wet Market the next morning. You could buy them for as low as 50 cents each. Since nobody wants to eat overnight durian in those days.
At Batu Road in Year 1983 there were many durian stalls on the roadside. There were also many people here. As the prices were lowered, durians were quickly snapped up. You can get 3 for RM10. Or you can also get 10 for RM10. Of course having No Experience I naturally went for the 10 for RM10.
Looks Like A Great Bargain? RM1 for a fairly good sized durian? The expert durian sellers even cut an opening for us to see the content inside. Satisfied? We returned home to enjoy the “bounty”. Only then we discovered that we have been conned!
Out of the 10 durians purchased, only 2 or 3 were edible. They were so clever to cut open the side where they know the flesh is presentable. Other than that the rest of the durians were infested with worms. As we cut open the durians, fat, juicy worms started to crawl out all over the floor. It was a sight to behold! As we discarded the rotten durians with the attending worms, our appetite also went with it!
After having been cheated for so many years we have finally discovered some important secrets which we are sharing here:-
No. 1. THE DURIAN STEM.
Attached to the durian is a stem of about 2 inches. Check the stem and see whether you can bend it. If you can bend it, that means that the durian is not fresh. The stem should be strong and be unbending.
No. 2. THE DURIAN SPIKES.
Some durians come without attached stem. In this case you have to touch the durian spikes. They should be stiff and sharp! If spikes are blunt, don’t buy because durian not fresh.
No. 3. THE WEIGHT OF THE DURIAN
The durian should not be too heavy relative to its size. The Malay word for durian seed is “batu”. The seed is called stone in Malay. A stone is heavy. Heavy durian indicates big seeds. And big seeds mean less flesh. Avoid heavy durian, then. By this rule we sometime pick up a durian with very small seeds(or shriveled seeds) and thick delightful flesh.
No. 4. CHECK FOR WORM HOLES
All durians with worm holes should be rejected. However, some durian sellers will conceal the holes by plugging them with durian tree leaves after making them into a pulp. It takes training to detect them. However, holes bored by squirrels indicate excellent content inside.
Squirrels only chose the very best durian to consume. Other forest animals that love durians are monkeys, orang utans, civet cats, flying foxes, porcupines, hedgehod, elephants & tigers.
Tigers? Do tigers eat durians? Yes, they love durians. Surprise? I was told by durian farmers in Pahang that tigers love to eat durians. But the porcupines are the masters in opening durians with perfect skill!
No. 5. SHAKE THE DURIAN
When you gently shake the durian, you should be able to detect whether the contents inside is loose or not. If the pods do not move it could mean that its content is Not Ripe Yet. If the contents move alot it could indicate that its content is over -ripe & becomes soggy. The feel should be solid & firm movement inside when you shake the fruit.
No. 6. SMELL THE DURIAN
Never Ever Eat Any Sample Durian When You Are Selecting Durian. The taste of durian will dull your taste bud & nose – thus preventing you from smelling out its pungent aromatic content!
In Fact This Sould Be The First Rule! Always Pick Up The Fruit & Smell It For Yourself. If there is Little Or No Odour, it means that the durian is either Unripe Or Of Inferior Quality. In This Case Move On. Don’t fall into the foolish mistake of listening to the durian sellers.
In The Natural Order Of Fruits, Only Tropical Fruits Like Jackfruit, Mangoes & Durians produce A Smell. Fruits From Temperate Climates Don’t Produce A Smell – examples are oranges, apples, pears, cherries & grapes.
Durians, unlike fruit from colder climate, are created to give off pungent smell. So use your nose. Don’t be lazy or careless if you want to get the best durian.
No. 7. TRUST THE DURIAN SELLER?
As A Rule – No, Definitely Not! The Durian, Like Dead Fish, Is A perishable food. Once it drops from the tree, it will last for only less than a day. The Durian Seller Is Racing Against Time To Dispose All His Fruits – Good & Bad Included. Since there is Vested Interest (His interest more than yours, of course). You can only trust them less than 50%.
What About Durian Sellers Who Are Owners? Sometimes, owners of small durian plantations will sell the fruits themselves to get a better price, by by-passing the middleman. In this case they are more authentic and credible. They know the trees inside out. You may trust them 75%.
In any case, trust your own nose & your own judgement. You won’t fail if you follow the above guidelines.
No. 8. ASK FOR THE BEST & ASK FOR GUARANTEE & EAT ON THE SPOT.
Durian Sellers Hide From The Public The Very Best Durians In Secret Compartments – These Are Reserved For Relatives, Close Friends & Loyal Customers Only!
Since the Very Best Durians Are Hidden From View, You Have To Probe The Durian Seller To Bring Out The Very Best. In this Case Be prepared to pay more since he is reluctant to sell his best fruits first. Also eat on the spot and ask for guarantee. In This Way, Everything Becomes Transparent. You might get the best deal! For a Price, though. It’s worth it.
No. 9. JUNE – AUGUST ARE BEST MONTHS FOR DURIANS
From Time Immemorial Durians Are Only Available In June to August Every Year. The Dry Season ripen the durians and bring out the best aroma. Today, artificially induced cultivation provides us with durians many months of the year. Now Is The Best Time For Durians.
It was said that the native Malays love their durians so much that they are willing to sell their sarongs to buy durians – an irresistible delicacy. No need to do that since the Harvest This Year Is Bountiful. Go Out & Try The Above Guidelines & See Whether They Are Accurate Or Not.
As For Me, I Like To Sniff The Pile Of Durians On Offer. Many Times Out Of The Pile I Discover A Few Real Bargains. No Need For Guarantee From The Durian Seller. And No Need To Open Them To Check The Quality.
Having Followed The Guidelines For Thirty Years I Have Been Proven Right 99% Of The Time! Don’t believe? Try it then.
And Buon Appetito!!!