May 20th, 2004 - Thursday
There is a bumper harvest of durians in Balik Pulau. That translates to good durians that are cheap and delicious. Wuan made a quick trip to Penang yesterday. We went to Balik Pulau this afternoon with Peter for a feast of the thorny kind. Peter took us there via the old windy road from Bayan Lepas to Balik Pulau. All along the way, we could see durian trees with their fruits hanging precariously over the road.
As we turned into Jalan Tun Sardon, we were greeted by makeshift stalls overflowing with durians. I have never seen so many durians before. Everywhere we turned, there were durians, heaps and heaps of them. They were grouped according to size and quality and placed in baskets waiting to be transported by lorries to Perak, Kuala Lumpur and other parts of Malaysia. According to Wuan, Jusco in Taman Maluri was selling Balik Pulau durians at RM30 per kilo.
Wuan and I prefer the smaller sized ?old tree? durians. Old tree durians come from some of the older trees in Balik Pulau, if not the oldest, which have smoother textured flesh and gives off the more authentic durian fragrance. Some of these trees are more than one hundred years old and still producing fruits abundantly. The more popular durians now are bud-grafted and their flesh are not as refined.
A good durian must exude a strong aroma that is both pungent and sweet-smelling at the same time. Its flesh must be sticky but not watery. The taste and flavour varies, depending on the tree and locality. It can range from sweet to bitter. Some prefer durians with orangey coloured flesh. We are not that particular as long as its flesh is sticky, its smell pungent and its taste strong. Wuan prefers the bitter tasting durians. I prefer the sweeter ones. We had several varieties that we ate to our hearts? content. That was our lunch. We also bought some mangosteens for dessert later.
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